Anaheim Ducks Season Previewby Mike Quintero October 13, 2021 0 comments
The past few years haven’t treated the Anaheim Ducks very well as they have ranked among the lowest in the league in most offensive and defensive categories. Finishing eighth in the Western Division, the Ducks have an optimistic vision of a rebuild around young players in the organization, with hopes of bringing the team back to post-season success in a very competitive Western Conference. With a power play efficiency of 8.9 percent, the Ducks have much to build on when addressing the offensive side of their special teams units. Anaheim also had the worst goals for rankings, sitting at 31st in the league. With such a lack of offensive production, there is much to prove this year in terms of goal scoring and overall production throughout the Ducks organization.
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Scoring will be a huge focus during this season as the Ducks have been struggling to put up any sign of impressive offensive production throughout the last few seasons. With only 11 power-play goals the Ducks ranked last in the NHL in that category. Special teams production will be one of many areas this Anaheim roster will need to improve. With many young forwards on this Ducks roster, standouts like Trevor Zegras and others are looking to fill top-line positions.
The Anaheim Ducks were ranked 23rd in goals against last season and are seeking to improve on that stat as this rebuild is proving to be one of the more tedious in the league. Along with many other areas of their play, the Ducks field a struggling defense with multiple gaps in their roster, looking to find a certified defenseman who can bring a new identity of shut down defense and toughness to an underperforming roster. Veterans like Cam Fowler and Kevin Shattenkirk will be pillars of guidance for young defensemen coming up in the organization this season.
John Gibson looks to hold his spot as the primary netminder in Anaheim as Anthony Stolarz is looking to secure the backup spot for the Ducks. Gibson has played 204 games in the NHL since the 2017-2018 season and is in need of solid backup to support this Ducks team through 82 games. Stolarz has posted a .914 save percentage in his time with the Philadelphia Flyers, Edmonton Oilers, and Ducks.
Zegras is a young star on the rise in this Anaheim organization and is one of the players that give fans hope that this team is headed in the right direction. With an expected increase in playing time this season, there’s reason to believe Zegras could become a primary factor in this Ducks offense sooner rather than later.
As a long-time Duck and seasoned captain in Anaheim, Getzlaf provides a veteran presence in the Anaheim locker room that is necessary for a proper rebuild. If older players like Getzlaf can help guide a young team into the battle that is an 82 game NHL season with support along the way, the transition into a competitive Western Conference team may be shortened with help from knowledgeable vets such as Getzlaf.
Stolarz has an opportunity to step up and become a vital piece to the future of the Ducks. If the right scenario presents itself, Stolarz can prove he has what it takes to solidify himself as a sturdy number two goalie in a league that is hungry for backups. Look for him to take advantage of his opportunities this year in Anaheim and bolster this battered squad through another season.
Biggest Question Facing the Ducks
As another season in this rebuild begins, Ducks fans have to question how long they will be waiting to see a competitive team on the ice at the Honda Center. Can Anaheim rebound this season and give fans reason to believe their team will be a contender in the near future? With no notable post-season success since 2007, the Ducks have much work to do in order to get their organization back into the conversation for the Stanley Cup Championship.
With not much on the line for the Anaheim Ducks this season as 2021-2022 will be all about preparing the next generation of players ready to contribute at the NHL level. The Ducks are projected to be one of the lower-ranked teams this season, and with no real hopes of a Stanley Cup title this season, the focus has to be on improving the prospects in your minor league pipeline, as well as fine-tuning the skills of your players that are NHL ready. With luck, the Ducks could finish top-six in their respective division, but don’t hold your breath if you’re waiting for competitive hockey in Anaheim anytime soon.
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