The Anaheim Ducks Add Veterans to an Already Aging Core
This season will mark the 12th season since the Anaheim Ducks won the Stanley Cup in 2006. Anaheim has made the playoffs six straight years and have gotten to the Western Conference Final twice losing to the eventual Stanley Cup Champions each year. It seems that the Ducks either run into the magic team or they get upset in the first two rounds.
Anaheim will come back in 2018-19 with nearly the same roster. Which has been the case for most of the previous seasons. After this season, if the Ducks are eliminated in the first round, it should not be a surprise if the team’s core is blown up.
The Ducks Got Better?
No, the Ducks have not gotten any better. They will, however, be better if Corey Perry can get back to the level of play he had two years ago. But this is unlikely as he is now 33-years-old and is only going to get older. It is possible that injuries and age have caught up to this veteran who has been with the Ducks his whole career.
Ryan Getzlaf is another veteran who is aging but it seems like he is still in his prime as he has put up 50 or more points in each of the past three seasons.
In order to ensure depth down the middle, the Ducks added Brian Gibbons; in order to ensure there was enough to match other teams. Gibbons played 59 games last year with New Jersey. He scored 12 goals and added 14 assists. Carter Rowney will slot somewhere in the bottom six as a right winger. Rowney only played 44 games in 2017-18 and totaled just five points.
Luke Schenn and Andrej Sustr were added for the third D-pair. The two combined for 14 points while both playing over 40 games.
The Anaheim Ducks lost depth at the center position when Antoine Vermette left for free agency. Last season, Vermette appeared in 64 games and scored 8 goals and had 8 assists. Another center that was lost to free agency is Derek Grant. Grant played in 66 games and had 24 points (12 goals, 12 assists).
On defense, the Ducks dropped the bad contracts of Kevin Bieksa plus the aging Francois Beauchemin. Bieksa played just 59 games last year and totaled 8 assists. Beauchemin had 3 goals and 14 assists in the 67 games he played.
Where the Anaheim Ducks Stand
The Ducks stand in a tough place. They can keep what they have and fail in the playoffs this year and come back and repeat, or they can fail and blow the team up in the offseason. As an observer, I would like to see the team wait to blow it up until after Corey Perry and Ryan Getzlaf retire. But if I were a fan, I do not know what I would want. I would want to see the two remain with the team, but I would also want to see my team win the Cup.
The Net Gain for Anaheim this offseason is -20, which is not good. But what is good is that the Ducks shed some bad contracts. This opens up cap space that can be used to make a trade if needed this season.
There are a few question marks going into the season for Anaheim:
- 1) Will Ryan Kesler be ready for opening night?
- 2) Will Corey Perry bounce back?
Ryan Kesler had to pretty much re-learn how to walk after undergoing hip surgery this offseason. If he is not back by the start of October, it is very likely that he will be placed on LTIR (Long Term Injured Reserve).
My prediction has the Anaheim Ducks finishing second in the Pacific Division behind San Jose. This will be a year that, by the end of it, could reveal the direction of the team.
Follow Jared on Twitter: @jared_pettus_00
Photo Courtesy of Uproxx