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2018-2019 NHL Preview: Anaheim Ducks

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Last year had a sprinkling of luck that won’t repeat

Washington Capitals v Anaheim Ducks Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images

In this 31 part series, I will be working my way back from 31st to 1st in my projected 2017-2018 standings. Twelfth up are Anaheim Ducks who are currently in their 25th season in the NHL. They have made the playoffs for six consecutive seasons now and are 12 years removed from their Stanley Cup victory.

2017 – 2018 NHL Stats:

NHL Standings: 8th
Goals for Rank: 18th
Goals against Rank: 4th
PP Rank: 13th
PK Rank: 5th

Projected 2018-2019 NHL Stats

NHL Standings: 20th
Western Conference Standings: 11th
Pacific Division Standings: 6th
Coach: Randy Carlisle (454-308-106 regular season; 49-41 playoffs)

Overview:

File this under a bold prediction if you will. This team finished 8th, making it to the playoffs before being swept by the San Jose Sharks in the first round. I take umbridge with their defiance of the stats last year. Despite having the 5th fewest shots for and 5th most shots against last year they were able to finish much better in goals for and goals against. History shows things like that will regress year over year. Belts of ‘We have John Gibson’ come from the Anaheim crowd, you do and in all honesty he is probably a top 5 goalie; however, he is coming off a regular season where he played the most games, played the most minutes and shots in his career, plus he just got a nice new contract, it would not surprise me the slightest if he regressed a bit this season. I know I harped on this last year but Corey Perry and Ryan Getlaf are continuing to get older (both 33) and while I think Rickard Rakell is going to be an up and coming star in the NHL, there isn’t a ton of power behind him (next player with the most points is Jakob Silverberg with 40). I anticipate their goal scoring takes a hit next year as their shooting percentage comes down year over year. I really like the Ducks defense, I think they have one of the best units in the league; however, they did allow the 5th most shots against last year which is odd given the naturally defensive nature of Hampus Lindholm, Josh Manson and Cam Fowler, all of whom had at least 95 blocked shots last year. The retirement of Francois Beauchemin will be a hit to this defensive unit as he was not only 2nd on the team in blocked shots but he was a positionally sound defender who made forwards pay down low in the zone. As aforementioned, John Gibson in net will be a top ten goalie but will see his stats decline year over year especially if he’s seeing more shots coming in at him. One big counter argument to their decline sits at the helm where Head Coach Randy Carlisle always gets the most of his squad.

Major Additions:

Andrej Sustr

Major Subtractions:

Francois Beauchemin

Prospects and Picks:

-Kalle Kossila. He played a handful of NHL games last season, 10 to be exact scoring 2 points in the process. It was his reward off scoring 21 goals in 55 AHL games going on a point per game pace. The St. Cloud prospect is an adept scorer and is on a one year two-way contract that he will be all-to-eager to convert into a more long term deal this year. It looks like he will be on the outside looking in for a spot on the roster but he should get a quick nod if he can continue his dominant AHL play, especially if goals are at a premium with the Ducks roster.

-Isac Lundestrom. Some said he is the next Peter Forsberg, small shoes to fill there eh? Slipping to 23rd overall, the Ducks got a quality center with their 2018 first round draft pick. He has spent the last 2 years in the SweHL, most recently scoring 15 points in 42 games. He is a smart player who uses a combination of open ice and heads up play to serve as a true playmaker and improve his line mates. He has the makings of an NHL ready player if he can bulk up and show a bit more physical play.

Sleeper Fantasy Asset:

-Rickard Rakell. To recap the last four years in the NHL he scored 9 goals in 2014 -2015, then 20 goals the next year, then 33 and increasing yet again to 34 goals last year across 77 games. Rickard has the makings of a 35 goal, 70+ point player which makes him a top 15 forward. He has realized what the team needs from him and has increased his power play production and shots on goal to coincide with his increased time on ice. I think there is growth yet from the talented 25 year old.

Cap Situation:

$59MM Spent; $16.7M in Cap room; 16 players signed; average team age 28.

Poll

Will Rickard Rakell score 35+ goals this season

This poll is closed

  • 81%
    Yes
    (13 votes)
  • 18%
    No
    (3 votes)
16 votes total Vote Now