By Thomas Harrington
The Ducks limped through the last 10 games, picking up only two wins. The good news is that the Ducks went to overtime several times and managed to pick up some points. Overall, the team went 2-4-4 and picked up eight points. The Ducks also made a major trade over the last 10 games, and the early returns on it have been good so far.
Despite only playing in five games with the Ducks, Adam Henrique was Anaheim’s best forward over the last 10 games. Since being acquired from New Jersey, he has points in five straight games, and only Teemu Selanne has scored in more straight games to start his career in Anaheim. Both his three goals and six points were tied for the team lead over the last 10 games. Besides his offensive contributions, he’s also helped jumpstart Corey Perry. Since Henrique joined the team, Perry has five points in five games, after only having one point in the previous five games.
Anaheim’s best defenseman over the last 10 games was Cam Fowler. He led the defense in scoring with two goals and six points. More importantly, when Hampus Lindholm went down with injury, Fowler significantly stepped up. In the three games without Lindholm, Fowler has played 31:22, 24:27, and 27:18. It took a couple of games for him to get back up to game speed after returning from injury, but ever since, he’s been consistent game in and game out as Anaheim’s best defenseman.
The Ducks’ worst forward over the last 10 games was Derek Grant. Before the Ducks acquired Henrique, he was playing over his head as Anaheim’s top center. That’s no slight against him, but he’s simply not a top line center in the NHL and is better suited on a third or fourth line. Since Henrique was acquired, he’s been used in a role that he’s better suited for, but he was still a team worst -9 over the last 10 games and only scored two points.
Anaheim’s worst defenseman over the last 10 games was Sami Vatanen. In the five games, before he was traded, Vatanen was really struggling and was held pointless. One of Vatanen’s greatest strengths is his ability to put up points, especially on the powerplay. In the games, before he was traded, he simply was not producing and not playing well enough defensively either.
In net, Anaheim only had to use two goalies over the last 10 games, as John Gibson started seven games and Ryan Miller started three. Both goalies only won one game, with Miller’s coming via shutout against Ottawa. That was Anaheim’s first shutout of the season and the 40th of Miller’s career. Gibson’s win came against St. Louis, one of the best teams in the West this season. Miller had a save percentage of .946 and Gibson had one of .917. While Miller put up the better numbers than Gibson, the biggest problem for both goaltenders is the number of shots that Anaheim gives up. Over the last 10 games, there was only one time the Ducks gave up less than 30 shots, and that was when Ottawa recorded 29 shots in Miller’s shutout, whereas the Ducks gave up 35 or more shots on six occasions. If the Ducks can get healthy, that should help limit the number of shots they give up per game and hopefully ease their goalies’ workload.
Anaheim continues to be beset by injuries. Ryan Getzlaf, Ryan Kesler, Patrick Eaves, and Jared Boll all missed all 10 games, while Lindholm, Jakob Silfverberg, Ondrej Kase, Mike Liambas, and Rickard Rakell all missed games as well. Even the newly acquired Joseph Blandisi only played in two games with the Ducks before getting injured. Thankfully, it looks like both Getzlaf and Silfverberg will be back soon, meaning Anaheim’s forward lines will hopefully be much more dangerous shortly.
On the rookie front, Anaheim used the same three rookies as the previous 10 games: Kevin Roy, Kalle Kossila, and Jaycob Megna. Roy played in all 10 games and scored three goals and four points. While he’s got a ways to go before he’s an NHL regular who can score 20 goals, he’s definitely shown flashes of the player who has been very dangerous in the AHL since last season. Kossila only played in three games and went scoreless. With the addition of Henrique, the Ducks were able to send Kossila back to San Diego and continue to grow his game. When Lindholm was injured a few games ago, Megna was called back up and has played in the past three games with the Ducks. He went scoreless in those three games and played between 12 and 13 minutes in each contest. He was just reassigned to San Diego, along with Kevin Roy. The Ducks did recall Andy Welinski.
A few more things that caught my eye over the last 10 games. Chris Wagner had four points in the last 10 games. He now has 13 points this season, doubling his career total to 26. Kase only played in five games but recorded another three points, and had a highlight reel goal against Ottawa. Logan Shaw played in all 10 games but went scoreless in every single one. Francois Beauchemin scored two goals and five points in the last 10 games. With Vatanen traded, more will be expected of Beauchemin, and he’s played well so far this season. Brandon Montour didn’t score any goals over the last 10 games, but his four assists were tied for the team lead.
With Getzlaf and Silfverberg returning to the lineup tonight, Anaheim will hopefully start turning their season around. As Anaheim does get healthy, it’s going to be interesting to see what kind of lines Randy Carlyle puts together and what players end up getting assigned to San Diego.
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December 11th, 2017