The Anaheim Ducks had a rough season this past year dealing with a ton of injuries to start of the 2018/19 campaign and thus missing the playoffs for the first time since the 2011/12 season. The Ducks will need to make some key moves this offseason if they would like to get back into the playoffs next year, and that includes hiring a new head coach after Randy Carlyle was fired this past year leaving GM Bob Murray to coach for the remainder of the season. Even if Murray’s plan isn’t to make the playoffs next year, the Ducks will still need to make changes in order to see any type of improvement.
2019 NHL Draft
The Anaheim Ducks currently hold the ninth and 29th overall selections in this year’s upcoming draft which will be held in Vancouver on June 21st and 22nd. There is no obvious selection that the Ducks could make with the ninth pick but, there are some players the Ducks organization has their eyes set on. Trevor Zegras, Matthew Boldy and Peyton Krebs are three great-skating, offensively-gifted players who have the potential of shooting the puck in the NHL at an elite level. The Ducks need offensive forwards for the future and these three can make a great impact among the forwards they have already drafted in previous years.
With the 29th pick, Anaheim should select a defenseman that’s either named Lassi Thomson or Alex Vlasic if they are indeed available. Alex Vlasic stands at 6 foot 6 and plays the same style of game as divisional rival d-man with the same last name Marc-Edouard Vlasic of the San Jose Sharks. Lassi Thomson on the other hand, has this game-breaking ability and massive shot from the point which can help the already solid D-core of the Ducks in the near future.
The “Young Ducklings”
- Troy Terry, Age 21, Drafted 148th Overall in 2015
- Daniel Sprong, Age 22, acquired from Penguins, Drafted 46th Overall in 2015
- Sam Steel, Age 21, Drafted 30th Overall in 2016
- Max Jones, Age 21, Drafted 24th Overall in 2016
- Max Comtois, Age 20, Drafted 50th Overall in 2017
- Antoine Morand, Age 20, Drafted 60th Overall in 2017
- Isac Lundeström, Age 19, Drafted 23rd Overall in 2018
- Brendan Guhle, Age 21, acquired from Sabres, Drafted 50th overall in 2015
- Jacob Larsson, Age 22, Drafted 27th overall in 2015
- Josh Mahura, Age 21, Drafted 85th Overall in 2016
- Lukáš Dostál, Age 18, Drafted 85th Overall in 2018
- Olle Eriksson Ek, Age 19, Drafted 153rd Overall in 2017
This highly skilled group of players that the Ducks own should improve the roster next season if indeed some of them play. All of the forwards except Antoine Morand got a taste of the NHL last season which leads us to believe that this will continue next season and some of these young guns will make the big team out of camp. All of the defenders named above should make it as well because of the lack of defense under contract currently. The goalie situation is locked up by great starter John Gibson for the next seven years so Lukáš Dostál and Olle Eriksson Ek could see more time in the AHL or overseas next season to further develop their play in the net rather than being rushed into a position where they’re not 100% comfortable.
It will not be a total disappointment next year if the Ducks were to miss the playoffs but it will be a disappointment if they don’t improve a bit in terms of getting younger and improving in areas where they were thin last year. Their power-play needs to be better as it sat 24th overall in the NHL running at 17.0%. Goals scored is definitely a massive need-to-fix for next year as they sat 31st in the whole NHL with 196 GF. Younger guys and a consistent scoring Rickard Rakell can fix these two problems next season. John Gibson is certainly not part of the Ducks problem as he had a 26-22-8 record along with a 2.84 GAA and a .917 SV% which is good for a team who came 24th in the NHL. The Ducks are also looking towards veteran players such as Ryan Getzlaf, Corey Perry, Cam Fowler, Adam Henrique and Rickard Rakell to have way better seasons and help lead the younger guys to have success.
The Anaheim Ducks need to put their focus on the next few months to figure who the right candidate is for the vacant Head Coach position, acquire or look internally for a backup goalie and draft the right player that fits the needs of everyone within the organization at the NHL’s upcoming entry draft. They have exactly $9,125,242 million dollars in cap space to spend this offseason on players to fill roster holes but maybe playing the younger guys and signing 1-3 guys for depth roles is what the Ducks should look to when July 1st comes around.