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Coyotes’ Rick Tocchet on Duclair’s departure: ‘It just didn’t click’

Arizona Coyotes head coach Rick Tocchet, top, shouts instructions to players over Coyotes left wing Brendan Perlini (11), center Dylan Strome (20), center Derek Stepan (21) and left wing Lawson Crouse (67) during the first period of an NHL hockey game against the Vegas Golden Knights Saturday, Oct. 7, 2017, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)
LISTEN: Rick Tocchet, Coyotes head coach

It’s been a week since the Arizona Coyotes traded away forward Anthony Duclair to the Chicago Blackhawks, and while the initial returns are still being evaluated, Coyotes head coach Rick Tocchet feels the move was the right thing for both sides.

“I’ve been involved in the league for 28 years and there’s always times when a guy needs to go somewhere else and I think Duke was that guy,” Tocchet told Burns & Gambo Wednesday on 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station. “It just didn’t click. He’s a great kid, I love him to death, he’s a great kid.

“The consistency level, maybe he’ll find it with another team. He’s going to Chicago, they have a strong leadership group there and I think Duke needs that.”

The Coyotes acquired Duclair in March of 2015 from the New York Rangers in a trade that included defenseman Keith Yandle. Over the course of three seasons, Duclair played in 172 games for Arizona, scoring 34 goals with 40 assists.

During his time with the club this season, Duclair was scratched from the lineup numerous times, sparking reports that he had requested a trade. He played in 33 of the Coyotes’ 43 games and was fourth on the team in goals scored.

Coming over as part of the four-person trade for Duclair was forward Richard Panik. The 26-year-old played the last three seasons in Chicago.

Before joining the Coyotes, Panik had six goals and 16 points through 37 games. He has one assist and two penalty minutes in three games with Arizona.

When asked if he felt Panik could help out the team, Tocchet was very positive, but also explained where he needs work.

“Yeah he can, I think he struggled this year and there’s been glimpses the last couple of games for me is that he’s got some talent, he’s got some stickiness to his game, grit,” Tocchet said. “Chicago plays a little more east-west than us and I got to get him to play a little more north-south but he’s definitely got the potential and the talent to turn this thing around.”

And while the Coyotes made headlines for their recent move, it wouldn’t be surprising to see their name in more reports before the Feb. 26 trade deadline.

“We’re always trying to improve the hockey club, (John Chayka) is always listening to people,” Tocchet said. “Whatever we can do to get the type of players that want to play this style and system to win, John’s always going to listen and try to make deals.”

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