By Mathieu Bernier
In this article, I take a look at the first half of the Anaheim Ducks season in five points.
Nobody can deny it: The Anaheim Ducks are certainly the unluckiest team so far this season. Since the beginning of the 2017-2018 campaign, too many Ducks players got injured, including their two best centers, two of their best defensemen and their goalies. Let’s take a look at all anaheim’s injuries this season: Getzlaf (lower-body injury and facial surgery), Perry (Knee), Kesler (Ankle surgery), Eaves (Guillain-Barre Syndrome), Kase (Upper body), Boll (lower body), Fowler (Knee injury), Lindholm (Lower body), Vatanen (upper body), Gibson (concussion symptoms), Miller (lower body). The total number of man-games lost this season is 233 for the Ducks.
2. Performance of Goalies:
John Gibson (13-12-4) is doing very well since the beginning of the season and the 24-year-old has made plenty of spectacular saves. He has a .923% save percentage (14th in the league with a minimum of 10 games) and a goal against average of 2.65. It’s also important to mention that Gibson is one of the five goaltenders to face more than 1000 shots against this season.
Ryan Miller (5-1-4), has only one regulation loss this season. His .935 SV% save percentage placed him in the third of goaltenders with more than 10 games played. These numbers allowed us to conclude that Miller is certainly an important addition to the team. The 37-year-old also got a shutout against his former team, the Vancouver Canucks. This was his 41st shutout, putting him second all-time among American goalies.
3. Improvement of Young Players:
Gibson and Miller aren’t the only reasons for the Ducks’ success despite all their injuries. So has the improvement of young Ducks players. In fact, the absence of key players has been offset by the improvement and performance of guys like Grant, Kase, Roy, Montour, and Manson.
Derek Grant: Before this season, Derek Grant never scored and only had 7 assists in 86 NHL games. With Anaheim this season, the 27-year-old forward has 8 goals and 8 assists in only 39 games: Another brilliant acquisition by Bob Murray.
Ondrej Kase: With 15 points in 27 games, Kase tied his total of last season, while he played 57 games. The young 22 years old forward from Czech Republic show to everybody that he has a lot of skills, speed, and aggressiveness.
Kevin Roy: After a complete season with San Diego Gulls in 2016-2017, where he got 46 points in 67 games, Roy is called to play in the big league. The Quebec native hasn’t disappointed anyone, as he scores 6 times in 24 games. As Kase, Roy is a small but quick player who is aggressive.
Brandon Montour: As he earned 6 points in his first 27 games with the Ducks last season, Montour has now 19 points in 39 games. The young defensemen could reach 40 points season.
Josh Manson: Defenseman Manson is another big surprise for Anaheim this season. As he got his best season last year with 17 points in 82 games, Manson already has 20 points in 41 games this season. Again, great move by Murray for signing him to a four-year contract extension reportedly worth $16.4 million.
4. Welcome, Adam!
On November 30th, While Getzlaf and Kesler were injured, Murray traded defenseman Sami Vatanen to the New Jersey Devils in exchange of center Adam Henrique and forward Joseph Blandisi. “It’s a good deal for both teams,” Murray said. “We both have needs to fill. Hopefully, this works out for both teams.” Selected by the Devils with a 3rd round pick in the 2008 NHL draft, Adam Henrique had 257 points in 455 games. Henrique, 27, didn’t waste time getting acclimated to his new team, as he got 6 points in his first 5 games. With Getzlaf and Kesler back on the lineup, Henrique is now playing on the third line. Oh, before I forget, this is one of the four goals Henrique scored with Anaheim:
5. Kariya and Selanne introduction to the Hockey Hall of Fame:
What a great moment it was. Two Ducks legends, Paul Kariya and Teemu Selanne, were honored on November 11th into the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto. Kariya was the first pick in Anaheim franchise history at the 1993 regular NHL draft(Guy Hebert was the first pick in the expansion draft). Kariya was the first pick (No. 4) in Anaheim franchise history at the 1993 NHL Draft. He finished his NHL career with a total of 989 points in the same number of games. He made 669 of them with the Mighty Ducks. He is a two time Lady Bing Memorial Trophy winner, awarded to the player adjudged to have exhibited the best type of sportsmanship and gentlemanly conduct combined with a high standard of playing ability. Kariya’s friend and big NHL star Teemu Selanne finished his career with 1,457 points in 1,451 games. Selanne helped the Ducks win the Stanley Cup in 2006-2007, as he led the team with 94 points season.
For more analysis on the first half of the Ducks season, listen to our latest podcast below!
Want to start your sports media career? Then Join The Puck Network!
DucksNPucks is part of The Puck Network, which covers the entire NHL. There are openings to cover your favorite team(s) and earn school credits! If you are interested, then apply by filling out the form here: Join Our Team. What are you waiting for? Start your sports media career TODAY!
January 12th, 2018