The Anaheim Ducks lived up to their unintimidating logo and name in 2018-19.
After winning the Pacific Division crown for five straight years before finishing as the runner up in 2017-18, last season marked the Ducks unofficial fall from grace. For the first time since Randy Carlyle’s first firing in 2011-12, the Ducks failed to make the playoffs. This once again ended in a Randy Carlyle firing, as general manager Bob Murray took over as head coach late in the season.
The Ducks did make some interesting changes during the offseason, but will that equate to a return to the playoffs in 2019-20?
In: Anthony Stolarz (free agent), Trevor Zegras (draft), Andreas Martinsen (free agent), Nicolas Deslauriers (trade), Michael Del Zotto (free agent), Dallas Eakins (promoted from AHL), Chris Wideman (free agent)
Out: Corey Perry (Buyout, Stars), Andrej Sustr (KHL)
Quick Take: The Ducks are automatically a Stanley Cup contender with current Cup champion Michael Del Zotto on their roster.
On a more serious note, the Ducks were one of the quietest teams in free agency, as they signed a few depth pieces, none of whom are expected to play a serious role with the team next season.
The biggest subtraction came from the buyout of franchise legend Corey Perry, who spent 14 seasons with the organization. Ryan Kesler is also a de-facto subtraction since there’s a good chance he doesn’t suit up for a game this year.
Dallas Eakins was the Ducks most prominent offseason addition, although many expected him to be hired sooner than just four days before the draft in Vancouver. Alas, he gets his second crack in the NHL after a disastrous first stint in Edmonton.
He will have his work cut out for him as he coaches a team in transition. Without any major additions, they will be relying on their youngsters such as Max Comtois, Troy Terry, Sam Steel and Max Jones to make an impact.
The Ducks were the second-lowest scoring team at even-strength last season, and even their vaunted defence was shoddy. Despite having a blue line that featured Hampus Lindholm, Josh Manson and Cam Fowler, the group was one of the worst in the league, as they allowed the fifth-most scoring chances at even-strength. Without John Gibson in net, Anaheim would surely have been a bottom-five team last season.
Ducks Overall Record in 2018-19: 35-37-10, 80 points (6th in Pacific, 13th in Western Conference, 24th in NHL)
2018-19 Record Against Canucks: 3-1-0
The Ducks beat the Canucks in three of four contest last season, but the Canucks actually outscored them by one goal in those contests, courtesty of a 4-0 shutout victory for Jacob Markstrom back on February 25th.
Over the years, the Ducks have had the Canucks number, going 7-3 against Vancouver over their last ten contests. With the Canucks on the upswing and the Ducks faltering, Travis Green should be aiming for better against one of his former teams next season.
Canucks vs. Ducks Games in 2019-20:
- Friday, November 1st @ Ducks (7:00 pm)
- Sunday, February 16th vs. Ducks (2:00 pm)
- Friday, March 20th @ Ducks (7:00)
- Saturday, March 28th vs. Ducks (7:00 pm)