Sunday, October 26, 2014

Anthony Duclair Jersey Card

After being a healthy scratch two games, Anthony ''The Duke'' Duclair was back in the line-up last night as the New York Rangers faced the Montréal Canadiens; playing in front of friends and family in his hometown, Duclair was named the game's third star, not really having dominated the game, but having played well enough in it, displaying speed and impressive abilities.

As a matter of fact, Duclair's force is that he can make jaw-dropping plays at his amazing speed - not unlike Nathan MacKinnon, whose talent for that has been praised recently. Their paths have crossed many times since they both entered Major Juniors at the same time at the tender age of 16, and their confrontations against one another were memorable even then. Put them on the same line - say in an All-Star context or on Team Canada at a World Championship - and you will see some of the fastest, most beautiful plays ever in adult hockey.

And yet he still fell to 80th overall at the 2013 NHL draft, teams fearing he may have ''behavioral issues'', like so many gifted players from the ''Q'' before him (oh, hello, Mike Ribeiro). But 17-year-olds will be who and what they are; the kid still managed to score 50 goals in 59 games last season, and you can watch them all right here.

I don't want to over-sell him or put undue pressure on his still-frail shoulders (he stands at just 5'11'' and 180 pounds but looks much bulkier on the ice), but in an era where the NHL has never been so quick, he's still one step ahead of almost everyone else. That alone should keep him in the league for the next 15 years.

I had actually pulled the same card as this one in a pack of In The Game's 2013-14 Heroes And Prospects (#M-26 of the Game-Used Jersey sub-set), but with a one-colour swatch, which I traded for this one - which has additional red and stitching from the sleeve - by adding a couple of extra cards to the deal:
The vertical line in the middle is from the penny sleeve, the swatch itself is pristine.

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