By Matt Calamia (Twitter)
It’s been a whirlwind week for forward Anthony Duclair. After being selected by the Rangers in the third-round of the 2013 NHL Draft on Sunday, Duclair was ushered to New York to take part in the organization’s development camp this past week where he was one of the standout players during scrimmages.
“It’s been a crazy week,” Duclair told BlueshirtsUnited.com. “Going back to Sunday, getting drafted by the Rangers — I was pretty surprised and excited at the same time. Going to an Original Six team like New York is incredible. I got to enjoy it with my family and friends and then just came to work here on Monday.”
About 12 hours after hearing his name, Duclair found himself preparing for his first camp with the team. That short notice left Duclair little time to get an idea of what lay ahead for him and his fellow draftees.
“You don’t know what to expect coming in,” he said. “At the same time, I think I did well. My job is to be an offensive guy and create offensive opportunities whenever I’m out there and create energy, be intense all the time. I think I did well with that.”
The 17-year-old displayed that offensive skill during his first two seasons with the Quebec Remparts of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, where he posted 31 goals and 35 points in 63 games in his first season in 2011-12. He followed it up last season with 20 goals and 30 assists in 55 games last season. Duclair was also a member of Team Canada’s 2012 gold medal-winning squad at the Ivan Hlinka Memorial Under-18 tournament.
This was the first week Duclair played against professional players, with several camp participants — including Dylan McIlrath, Kyle Jean and Andrew Yogan — being AHL regulars. While he handled himself well, Duclair said he must now train on putting on muscle this summer.
“The guys here are much bigger, strong and faster,” Duclair said. “We did a lot with the training staff and they helped us a lot throughout the week, showing us different methods of training, so it’s been a really great week for us.”
While motivation is always there for players with aspirations of making the NHL, Duclair said he expects his drive to intensify now that he is a member of an NHL organization.
“You’re more motivated to make the team,” he said. “Before [being drafted], you’re just training to have a good season or training to get drafted. Now that you’re drafted and you’re settled, you know what to expect now. I’m more motivated training off the ice to make the team in the near future.”
While any player would be euphoric to hear his name called during the draft, the Rangers offered Duclair and his family an added bonus, especially for his father who grew up a Rangers fan despite living in Quebec.
“A true honor for sure,” Duclair said of being drafted by New York. “My dad grew up as a big Rangers fan. He’s been watching Rangers highlights all the time. He was really happy when my name got called out by the Rangers, so that was a pretty special moment to share with my dad.”