Friday, September 30, 2016
Anaheim Ducks 2016-17 season preview
The Anaheim Ducks weren't the loudest team this off-season but they did make some moves via free agency. After losing some depth in their forwards with Jamie McGinn (ARI), Chris Stewart (MIN) and David Perron (STL) all out of town, the Ducks went out and signed Antoine Vermette to a two year deal and Mason Raymond and Jared Boll to one year deals. They also signed Jeff Schultz for one year to help their defensive depth. In the 2016 NHL draft's first round, the Ducks selected LW Max Jones with the 24th pick. They also drafted C Sam Steel with Pittsburgh's pick which was acquired from the Maple Leafs in a deal that included G Fredrick Anderson. Jones and Steel can be the first liners in the future for this team once Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry are gone.
When the expansion draft for Las Vegas comes around, every team can protect 7 forwards and 3 defenseman or any combination of 8 skaters. Unfortunately, Anaheim has a problem. They have 4 young defenseman in Hampus Lindholm, Sami Vatanen, Cam Fowler and Simon Despres all are 25 or younger. Despres is the odd one out as you can only protect 3 defenseman and because protecting 4 means losing 2 extra forwards and the no trade clause to Kevin Bieksa forces the Ducks to protect him. Bieksa is 36 and age has taken a toll on him in recent years.
The newest part of the team is the back end or the goalies. Fredrick Anderson was traded to Toronto so that leaves John Gibson as the starter. Anton Khudobin went to Boston so newly acquired Jonathan Bernier will be the backup.
The projected lines look like this:
Nick Ritchie-Ryan Getlaf-Corey Perry
Rickard Rakell-Ryan Kesler-Jakub Silfverberg
Andrew Cogliano-Antoine Vermette-Ryan Garbutt
Mason Raymond-Nate Thompson-Jared Boll
Hampus Lindholm-Sami Vatanen
Cam Fowler-Kevin Bieksa
Simon Despres-Josh Manson
John Gibson and Jonathan Bernier in net.
Scratched is LW Chris Wagner and D Clayton Stoner.
For my prediction, I think if Getzlaf and Perry don't drop off too much then the Ducks will make a return to the postseason in a weak Pacific division