Though the Anaheim Ducks performed better than last year’s shortened season, they are still working on a rebuild. After a disappointing end to a season that began so well, they have missed the playoffs for the fourth season in a row. However, the coaches and other staff members will have a starting place for next season’s goals. Let us take a look at the season and how it might affect the upcoming draft and offseason.
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By the Numbers
Power Play: 21.92% (14th)
Penalty Kill: 80.80% (10th)
Goals For: 232 (22nd)
Goals Against: 271 (23rd)
Troy Terry would be the best player the Ducks had this past season. He has 30 goals and 37 assists for 67 points in 75 games. That is not too far off from a point a game. If he can keep this type of production up, he will significantly impact the offense in the future. Honorable mentions would be for Trevor Zegras, who was not far behind Terry with 61 points, and Adam Henrique with a bounce-back year of 42 points.
Max Comtois, who showed so much promise last season, had little impact on the offense. Last season he led the team in points with 33 in 55 games. This season, in 52 games, he only had had 16 points, which is essentially a 50% decrease in production. The coaching staff will need to take a meaningful look at this to determine what is going on. Perhaps it was just a bad year, or maybe last season was the outlier. Either way, the team will need him to bounce back next season.
Behind the Bench Analysis
Coach Dallas Eakins did okay for his third season with the team. There will still be rough patches with implementation, style, and integration of young or new players, but the season wasn’t a total loss. The front office picked up his contract option, so they have confidence in what he is bringing to the table. After an 82-game season after two shortened seasons, it will be interesting to see how Eakins will get the team to respond next season. However, it is possible if there is no improvement next season on both sides of the puck, Eakins may not be the coach for long.
Front Office Analysis
Pat Verbeek, the general manager, was able to have a good trade deadline, getting some great picks and prospects. However, it came at the expense of losing players like Hampus Lindholm, Josh Manson, and Rickard Rakell. They have also named Rob DiMaio Assistant General Manager, and he will also serve as the general manager of the San Diego Gulls.
The Ducks are lining up in a row, and during a rebuild, it can take a while for it to happen. Although there is only so long, the team can go without any apparent signs of significant improvement. Next to last in the division will not cut it. Also, with Ryan Getzlaf retiring and the poor performance of John Gibson, Verbeek will have his hands full.
2022 NHL Entry Draft Picks
For the upcoming draft, they have nine picks overall. But, of course, that could always change, depending on how offseason trading goes. Thanks to the trade with the Boston Bruins, they now have two first-round drafts. So they might use one or some of those picks in offseason trades to make additions to the team, giving them a more competitive edge.
The Ducks are still rebuilding, and while it is tempting to get players who can help now, the future is still the ultimate goal. Only the front office for Anaheim knows for sure what their timeline is, but the next two seasons will let fans and other teams know where they are heading. They need to pick up at least one player in the offseason who can make an immediate impact.
Consistency on both sides of the puck will be the key to next season being an improvement. The difference between before and after the All-Star Break is a stark reminder of how special teams is an integral part of the game. The Ducks exceeded expectations at the beginning of the season but flew too close to the sun and hit the ground. Once they find consistency in all aspects of their game, they will take flight again.
Follow Liz Pendergraft on Twitter @lizzibear824
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