Player Name/position: David Steckel, C
Overall Grade: A-, Stecks anchored what became an increasingly dangerous fourth line and was a stud in the dot, winning 57.1% of all his draws.
Contract Status: UFA, $1M salary and cap hit in 2013.
2013 Stats: With Anaheim: 21 games played, 1 goal, 5 points; plus-2, 10:37 TOI/G. With Toronto: 13 games played, 0 goals, 1 assist, 1 point; minus-2, 7:04 TOI/G
Playoff Stats: 7 games played; 1 goal, 1 assist, 2 points; plus-1, 9:46 TOI/G.
Offense: When Steckel was acquired from Toronto for Ryan Lasch and a 7th rounder in the 2014 draft, everyone knew it was because the Ducks wanted a guy that could win faceoffs. And in that respect, he was a complete success with a 57.1% winning percentage. Outside of the dot, though, Steckel put up numbers commensurate with is fourth-line role.
Defense: His plus-2 rating ties him for 14th best on the team, but Steckel was never a liability in his own end. While his Corsi isn’t so pretty, Steckel did average 1:17 per game shorthanded and seemed like a defensively sound player.
Highlight of the Season: Steckel’s goal at 10:40 of the third on May 6 gave the Ducks the lead late in Game Four of their series against the Wings. Unfortunately, Pavel Datsyuk would proceed to unleash one of the most perfectly placed shots I’ve ever seen to tie things up and the Ducks ultimately dropped the game in OT. At the time, though, the goal by Steckel was a huge shift in momentum and could have been a turning point in the entire series.
Expectations for Next Year: Steckel was pretty non-descript early on, but as he developed chemistry with Emerson Etem, that line grew to be one of the Ducks’ best down the stretch, and was arguably the most consistent in the playoffs. While he’s a UFA, Bruce loves the guy and I really hope the Ducks find a low-cost way to sign him for a few years. If Etem does not get the top-6 time he so richly deserves, it would be nice to have him and Stecks continue to raise havoc. Oh, and the dude is a monster in the dot. We desperately need that.