Former Blackhawks winger Anthony Duclair has signed a one-year, $650,000 contract with the Blue Jackets, reports TVA Sports. It’s a one-way deal, so Duclair will make the same amount regardless of whether he’s assigned to the NHL or AHL.
Columbus GM Jarmo Kekalainen confirmed the details Thursday.
The Hawks could’ve retained Duclair for the upcoming season but opted to relinquish his rights rather than extend him a qualifying offer. Doing so would’ve retained his rights but guaranteed the forward a one-year deal with a $1.2 million cap hit, which GM Stan Bowman decided was not worthwhile given the team’s limited salary cap and roster space.
Duclair played 23 games in Chicago after a midseason trade that sent Richard Panik to Arizona. The 22-year-old recorded two goals and six assists during that time, although three of those points came in one game. He struggled to make a consistent impact, which didn’t help his chances of sticking with the Hawks.
Still, the appeal of Duclair is obvious to the Blue Jackets. He’s a former top prospect with serious wheels and a 20-goal NHL season on his resume. The Blackhawks decided he wasn’t worth the cap hit or the roster space – they already have 48 of their 50 spots filled – but there’s little risk for the Blue Jackets in giving him the league minimum for a season.
Kekalainen has brought in three former Blackhawks this summer. Defenseman Adam Clendening and goaltender J-F Berube will join Duclair in the Blue Jackets’ organization.