THS’ NHL 31: Anaheim Ducks

The 2016-17 Anaheim Ducks won the Pacific Division, their 4th time since the new conference realignment, with 105 points. They have had yet another deep playoff run in the 2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs. They easily swept Johnny Gaudreau and the Calgary Flames in the first round. They found a way to beat Connor McDavid and the Edmonton Oilers in the second round, winning the series 4-3. Unfortunately, their dreams to make it to the Stanley Cup Finals for the first time since 2007, were crushed by the Roman Josi and the Nashville Predators, losing the hard fought series 4-2.

Even though the season ended the way Anaheim didn’t want it to end, they still have a lot of ways to keep their heads high, especially when it comes to their offense,lead by captain Ryan Getzlaf, who lead the team in assists and points, 58 and 73, while 24 year old Rickard Rakell lead the Ducks in goals, with 33. Anaheim’s star winger Corey Perry has shown some decline in his point production, but still came third in team points, with 53. Even 32 year old veteran Ryan Kesler amassed 58 points, 2nd on the team. 26 year old winger Jakub Silfverberg set career highs in goals and points, with 23 and 29. The only set back with Anaheim’s offense is their depth, as they don’t hold a lot of wingers. Yes they have guys like Cogliano, Eaves, and Boll, but it’s possible if either three become trade bait come March. Fortunately, they do have up and comers, like Nick Ritchie, Sam Steel, and Max Jones.

The Ducks lost a couple of defensemen, due to the Vegas Expansion draft, which were Shea Theodore and Clayton Stoner. Even with those losses, Anaheim still has one of the top 5 defense in the West. The defense consists of All-Star Cam Fowler, who recently signed an 8 year contract to stay in Orange County. Fowler put up 39 points (11g-28a). Finnish native Sami Vatanen had a decent season, racking up 24 points in 71 games (3g-21a), and Swede Hampus Lindholm put stacked 20 points (6g-14a), in 66 games. If those two stay a bit more healthy, they could easily put up 30+ points in 2017-18. 25 year old Josh Manson and 36 year old Kevin Bieska put up 17 and 14 points, respectively. Korbinian Holzer  and Brandon Montour will most likely switch out as being the 6th and 7th defenseman, and even Steve Olesky will find some ice team with his new team.

24 year old goaltender John Gibson is just getting started on his ridiculousness. He is proving to SOON become a top 5 goaltender in the league. His 2016-17 stat lines are: 25-16-4 record, 2.22 GAA (Goals Against Average), .924 SV% (Save Percentage), and 6 shutouts. I expect Gibson to have a breakout year in 2017-18, if he stays healthy, of course. The Ducks acquired 37 year old Ryan Miller from the Vancouver Canucks earlier this offseason. He will be seeing some playing time, but will most likely be back up to Gibson.

As a quick wrap up, I definitely see Anaheim having another great season coming up. They will have to fight with the Oilers and Flames as the top team in the Pacific Division. As long as the d-men stay healthy, I could picture them going for another long playoff wrong, and a chance to make the Finals.

Here are our projections for the 2017-18 Anaheim Ducks

Projected Record: 47-27-8 (102 Points)

Projected Starting Lineups:

Forwards:

Rakell-Getzlaf-Perry

Silfverberg-Kesler-Cogliano

Eaves-Vermette-Ritchie

Kase-Wagner-Shaw

 

Defense:

Fowler-Vatanen

Lindholm- Manson

Holzer-Bieska

 

Goalies:

John Gibson

Ryan Miller

 

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