Anthony Duclair scores one of his three goals in a 4-3 overtime victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets. Photo credits: Tony Caldwell/Postmedia
While the Ottawa Senators have been struggling, as expected this season, they have had a few nice surprises. Forwards Anthony Duclair and Jean-Gabriel Pageau, have proven that they could take their game to the next level. When thinking of the Senators top players, you may think of Thomas Chabot or Brady Tkachuk, but that’s not the case this season. Duclair and Pageau’s performances have given Senator fans the hope of witnessing the team play some good hockey this season.
Anthony Duclair has revitalized his entire career. Following a hat-trick against his former team, the Columbus Blue Jackets, Duclair is now up to 18 goals. He has now passed his teammate Jean-Gabriel Pageau for team lead in both goals and points. With the 18th goal, Duclair now moves into a tie for 8th in league goals.
The fact that Duclair has already scored 18 goals this season, is incredible for a guy who looked like he may never reach a top 6 forward role. It looks like he may even hit 40 if he continues down this pace.
While it is unlikely for him to hit 40, there is a legitimate chance that he may just prove us wrong. One of the reasons he may actually achieve what is deemed is impossible, is because of his overall attitude. Much like former midget junior teammate, Jonathan Drouin, his play is showing more maturity as a whole. This will not only help his offensive game but his defensive game as well.
Just a year ago, it almost looked like Duclair would find himself out of the league due to issues he had in Columbus. Now the Senators have allowed him to flourish and he is making the most of it.
At age 24, Duclair finally looks like he has found his NHL game. He likely won’t continue at this level, but if he can consistently do half of his production, he could be a great piece going forward for Ottawa. That is if they choose to sign him. If not, he will their chance of receiving a nice package at the deadline.
Jean-Gabriel Pageau is having a career year with his hometown Ottawa Senators. Photo credits: Wayne Cuddington
Duclair isn’t the only Senator impressing the league this season. Jean-Gabriel Pageau has been a great surprise as well. Before Saturday, Pageau was the leader on the Sens with 16 goals. He currently sits in third, in plus/minus despite being on a team below .500. He has been a quiet revelation all season in Ottawa.
Pageau’s silent success most likely won’t get him too much recognition in Selke voting but it should. The fact that he sits atop 15 in goals, while also having a great defensive presence should be enough. Only time will tell if he does continue this great play in the second half of the season.
Pageau may not be a Senator for long, as he is rumored to be traded soon. If that is the case, his two-way game will prove to be a great asset for anyone. He is proving that he could be a good add for a playoff team around the deadline. The Senators could sign him but it is more likely they won’t. At age 27, Pageau is set to become a UFA for the first time next summer.
What to Expect from Both Players?
Both players are expected to be free agents next summer and could be dealt at the deadline given the team’s current situation. However, Duclair, at only age 24, will be an RFA,s giving the team his rights. He would also fit great in the Senators plans if they choose to keep him. Which they most likely will.
Expect the two Senators production to falter a bit, but they should continue to put great numbers on the season.