NHL.com provides detailed roster, outlook and fantasy analysis for each of its 32 teams from Aug. 8 through Sept. 8. Today, the Anaheim Ducks.
The Anaheim Ducks have had a busy offseason and believe they are ready to compete for a Stanley Cup Playoff spot after failing to qualify in each of the last four seasons.
On the first day of free agency, the Ducks signed forwards Ryan Strom and Frank Vatrano to play in their top six.
“I think Ryan will be a good addition from two different perspectives,” general manager Pat Verbeek told the Ducks website on July 18. “From a leadership standpoint, it’s going to be very, very important. Obviously, he’s a very good playmaker and I’ve had a good year scoring goals this year as well. So I think having somebody who’s very productive offensively and somebody who’s going to provide very good culture and very good leadership in the dressing room was very important for our club and we dealt with that.”
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Strome had 21 NHL goals with the New York Rangers last season. Vatrano had 32 points (18 goals, 14 assists) in 71 games for the Rangers and Florida Panthers.
“I think we just want to try to win some hockey games,” Strome said. “We’ve got some good older guys and hopefully we can come in here and continue to grow as a team. That seems to be the direction everything is headed. A little turnover [in the past few seasons] losing some guys who have been here for decades (Ryan Getzlaf, Corey Perry, Hambus Lindholm). It’s not necessarily easy to replace, but I think we’re trying to do it.”
Getzlaf retired after 17 seasons, including the last 12 as captain.
“Ryan was an incredible leader and an incredible player and an even better person,” coach Dallas Eakins said. “Well, it leaves a hole, but Adam Henrique he is a great leader. Troy Terry he is developing into a very good leader. Pat added Strom and Vatrano there. Jakob Silfverberg. Derek Grant he is a quiet leader. Cam Fowlerincredible leader. Kevin Shattenkirkgreat leader. John Gibson. We have a lot of very good people. Those guys are good people and that’s usually where leadership comes from, and they’re all I think they’ll be able to fill the void as a team.”
In addition to Strome and Vatrano, the Ducks signed a defenseman John Klingberg on a one-year contract on July 29.
“Well, obviously, if you look at their team, I think they’ve got some really interesting young players,” Klingberg said. “I think they took a step last year. Just looking at their team, I think they had a lot of injuries and issues with COVID last year and they ended up getting a lot of points. I’m excited to be able to come in there and try to help the team get better next year season”.
Adding these three players to a core that includes forwards Trevor Zegras and Terry, and it’s not hard to see why it’s an exciting time in Anaheim. Zegras had 61 points and was a finalist for the Calder Trophy as Rookie of the Year last season. Terry led the Ducks with 37 goals and 67 points. it was the first time since 2017-18 that Anaheim had 30 goals and 60 points.
“Obviously [Zegras and Terry] Both had very productive seasons in terms of points. I think Troy Terry’s shooting percentage (19.3 percent) was incredible,” Eakins said. “So for him to match his numbers or Trevor to match his numbers, I think it’s going to be a challenge, but knowing both young men like I do. , this will be a low bar for them. They will try to add to what they achieved last year.
“…Hopefully Jakob Silfverberg (blood clot) will come back and make a full recovery, hopefully Max Jones (torn pectoral muscle) can recover — he only played two games last year — and we’re looking for a huge bounce-back year from Max Comtois (16 points in 52 games)”.
Video: Trevor Zegras’ 10 best games from the 2021-22 season
Anaheim finished seventh in the Pacific Division last season, 21 points behind the Nashville Predators for the second Western Conference playoff wild card. The Ducks were 24th in scoring (2.78 goals per game) after ranking last in 2020-21 (2.21), 29th in 2019-20 (2.56) and last in 2018-19 (2.39). But the additions of Strome, Vatrano and Klingberg should help.
“I think you can see all the pieces there,” Vatrano told the Ducks website on July 14. “There are great veterans on the team, guys who have been around a long time, and then you have younger guys who have already proven themselves at such a young age. When you have a good mix of veteran leadership and young players who can push the game forward, that’s sign of a great team. … The future is very bright in Anaheim.”