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Anthony Duclair Says Trade from Florida Panthers ‘Part of the Business’



The Florida Panthers traded forward Anthony Duclair to the San Jose Sharks on Saturday evening after he spent three seasons in South Florida. // Photo by Roger Lee Photographer (561) 866-2000

A few days before the start of NHL free agency opened, Anthony Duclair was running his first youth hockey camp at the Florida Panthers training facility in Coral Springs as part of his new charitable organization.

Duclair, who serves as his own agent, was asked about whether he and the Panthers had talked about a contract extension — and was then asked if he had heard about rumors Florida was potentially going to trade him.

He did not have much to say about either subject.

On Saturday evening, the rumors were now truth as the Panthers traded Duclair to the San Jose Sharks for forward Steven Lorentz and a fifth-round draft pick in 2025.

Florida made the move to free up salary cap space — it saved close to $2 million in the deal — enabling them to sign Evan Rodrigues to a four-year deal on Sunday.

Duclair may have been disappointed with the outcome but he certainly was not blindsided by it.

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“I was a little shocked but at the same time, just speaking with Mike (Greer) and management, it turned shock quickly into excitement,” Duclair said on Monday on a video conference with the San Jose media.

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“I am excited for the new opportunity here in San Jose. We have some good talent up front here and I am looking forward to getting there and meeting everyone, getting to work again. … For me, it’s a big summer. I want to come to camp in shape, my goal is to play 82-plus games. I haven’t done that in my career yet.”

Duclair, 27, had become part of the fabric of the Panthers in his three seasons with the team, finally finding an NHL home after bouncing around during the early part of his career.

After playing for five teams in his first six seasons, Duclair got a one-year ‘prove it’ deal from the Panthers which earned him a three-year extension in 2021.

In his second season with Florida, Duclair had a career year, scoring 31 goals with 58 points.

Last season was one of turmoil for Duclair as he sustained a ruptured Achilles tendon during summer training, an injury which required surgery and kept him out of the Florida lineup until the end of February.

During his down time, Duclair created the Anthony Duclair Foundation which launched during All-Star Weekend, the missive of the charity to “ensure that Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC) children are granted safe and equal access to playing hockey in North America.”

“Everything happens for a reason, I truly believe that,”Duclair said when the foundation launched.

“For me, my mind started to get rolling and it was a no-brainer to start my own foundation to help the next generation, to tell my story and to connect with everyone. Tell them that there are a lot of changes that need to happen,” Duclair said.

“And for me, that’s got to be through hockey. That’s my life, that’s all I wanted to do.”

He said he hopes to continue his good work in his new home in the San Francisco Bay Area and perhaps expand his youth hockey camps to the west coast.

“I want to thank the Panthers organization for putting so much trust and believing in me and my foundation,’’ Duclair said Monday. “They have obviously done so much for it in Year 1. Last week we finished our first camp for kids at the IceDen in South Florida and we had about 30 kids, absolutely loved it … it is something I have been wanting to do for years. Now that I’m in San Jose, I am looking to grow the game there.”

As for the hockey side of things, Duclair has a few friends with the Sharks.

A few hours before the trade, San Jose signed free agent Givani Smith to a two-year deal and Duclair said he spoke to former Florida forward Joe Thornton about San Jose at length during a conversation on Sunday.

“It was awesome to talk a little about San Jose, a little about the organization,’’ Duclair said. “He is super happy and I am excited to see him again.’’

General manager Mike Greer sounds very happy to have a player of Duclair’s ability and standing as he tries to rebuild the Sharks so, perhaps, this is not just a stopover for Duclair but potentially a new home for him as well.

“It’s awesome, an honor for me because I grew up watching Mike play and he is someone I look up to,” Duclair said.

“For him being the first black GM in NHL history and me coming to play for him with Smitty at the same time, it’s an awesome feeling. Just looking forward to meeting him for the first time and get acclimated to the organization.”

Said Greer: “He is a player who brings a little bit of a different element that we don’t have here on the roster with his speed and goal-scoring ability, his place of play. We had good intel on the type of character and the energy he brings. It started at the deadline when we discussed him a little bit and then it came to fruition here over the past couple of days.”


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