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2015-16 Ducks Positional Preview: Centers

Anaheim has amassed a solid group of NHL centers, with plenty of depth down the organization.

Ryan Kesler and Ryan Getzlaf give the Ducks one of the best Center duos in the league.
Ryan Kesler and Ryan Getzlaf give the Ducks one of the best Center duos in the league.
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Ryan Getzlaf

2014-15 Season In Review
2014-15 Stats
Anaheim GP G A PT SAT% PIM Avg TOI FO% Zone Starts
Regular Season 77 25 45 70 52.0 62 20:06 50.8 50.7
Playoffs 16 2 18 20 53.8 6 22:25 51.2 50.4
Outlook

Fresh off setting an Anaheim Ducks single playoff franchise record with 70 points, Getzlaf's regular season last year was only the third time of his career where he finished a full NHL campaign with a less than point per game pace. After spending the offseason recovering from a sports hernia suffered in the playoffs, he has spent the entirety of the preseason away from Corey Perry with head coach Bruce Boudreau looking to better spread the offense amongst the lines. It's a bit of a curiosity that last year his scoring dropped despite seeing the highest percentage of zone starts in the offensive zone since 06-07, but posting his best unblocked shot attempts percentage (54.1) since the same year while also winning the highest percentage of face offs of his career. Turning 31 years-old in May, Getzlaf is primed to continue his run as Anaheim's top center, and after posting some of the lowest single season power play point total of his career (13), has the table set to increase his scoring production back above a point per game.

Ryan Kesler

2014-15 Season In Review
2014-15 Stats
Anaheim GP G A PT SAT% PIM Avg TOI FO% Zone Starts
Regular Season 81 20 27 47 50.5 75 19:31 56.6 46.7
Playoffs 16 7 6 13 51.2 24 20:29 57.6 41.5
Outlook

In his first season with the Ducks Kesler put up his best point total since the 11-12 campaign in Vancouver, and did so seeing the lowest average time on ice since 08-09. Acquired for Nick Bonino, Luca Sbisa, and a pair of draft picks, Kesler gave the Ducks the legitimate second center they'd been seeking, and went to work right away for a goal and two assists in the season opener at Pittsburgh. He relished playing against Anaheim's California rivals as he put up 13 points and two game winners, scoring four times with three assists against the Kings, and a goal and two assists against the Sharks. Production despite drawing the second toughest zone start assignments amongst the centers was a critical component of the teams success, and now with a fresh six-year contract signed during the offseason, it looks to be a role he will settle in to. It will go a long way to determining how successful Anaheim can be as to whether Kesler can carryover the chemistry shown with Jakob Silfverberg this season, and the degree to which it does will likely coincide with the Ducks success.

Rickard Rakell

2014-15 Season In Review
2014-15 Stats
Anaheim GP G A PT SAT% PIM Avg TOI FO% Zone Starts
Regular Season 71 9 22 31 53.1 10 12:34 46.8 51.1
Playoffs 16 1 0 1 53.3 2 11:32 44.8 68.9
Outlook

An early season send down to Norfolk lit a fire under Rakell, and upon return seemingly instantly became a cult favorite thanks to his ability to turn play and generate shot attempts in sheltered usage. That increased even more so with the acquisition of Jiri Sekac from Montreal for Devante Smith-Pelly, as in trio with Rakell and Emerson Etem the line became a reliable spark plug. Now in his second full NHL season, Rakell will have the opportunity to step into a role of greater offensive prominence as during training camp he's spent the most time with Perry and Sekac. It will be interesting to see how, in a restricted free agency contract year, Rakell steps up to the plate and whether he can up his production with a world class wing to his right and less sheltering.

Shawn Horcoff

2014-15 Stats
Dallas (NHL) GP G A PT SAT% PIM Avg TOI FO% Zone Starts
Regular Season 76 11 18 29 52.9 27 13:01 50.2 51.4
Playoffs X X X X X X X X X
Outlook

With Nate Thompson's playoff shoulder injury requiring offseason surgery, the Ducks moved to sign Horcoff to a one year, $1.75 mil. AAV deal. This will be the former Michigan State Spartan's 15th season in the league, playing his first 12 in Edmonton before spending the last two with Dallas. He adds another veteran presence in the locker room, a player in the twilight of his career looking to get play for and get his name on the Stanley Cup after missing the Oilers magical 05-06 run to game seven. Last season he showed ability to limit shots and attempts against in a bottom six role, a vital skill to have down the lineup. If he can post similar numbers as he did last season in Dallas, Horcoff could be a real penny wise signing for the Ducks.

Mike Santorelli

2014-15 Stats
Toronto/Nashville GP G A PT SAT% PIM Avg TOI FO% Zone Starts
Regular Season 79 12 21 33 47.4 14 14:23 46.2 43.3
Playoffs (NSH) 4 1 0 1 50.5 0 13:20 100.0 31.3
Outlook

While the move to sign Horcoff came relatively early in free agency, bringing in the 6'0" former Northern Michigan Wildcat gives the Ducks another versatile piece to use in the bottom six forwards. A journeyman for his seven years in the league, the Ducks are the sixth different crest Santorelli will pull over his head in his career. Each of the past two seasons he's been around the 30-point mark, and with his quick, smart, gritty game figures to be a swiss army knife of sorts considering he can play center as well as the wing.

Nate Thompson

2014-15 Season In Review
2014-15 Stats

GP G A PT SAT% PIM Avg TOI FO% Zone Starts
Regular Season 80 5 13 18 47.4 39 13:19 52.9 42.5
Playoffs 12 2 4 6 43.7 6 15:28 58.6 38.5
Outlook

Advertised as a face off specialist coming over from Tampa Bay for a pair of 2015 draft picks, the 'Alaskan Assassin' was exactly that, spending the season as a checking line center and drawing the toughest zone start assignments. Boudreau would regularly deploy the eight year NHLer with the Ducks holding the lead, helping the Ducks to an other-worldly run of form in one goal games. After suffering an injury during the playoffs and spending the summer and training camp recovering from surgery, Thompson will have to battle his way back in to the lineup with Anaheim having a wealth of lower six options like Horcoff, Santorelli, and Wagner.

Chris Wagner

2014-15 Season In Review
2014-15 Stats
Norfolk (AHL)/Anaheim GP G A PT SAT% PIM Avg TOI FO% Zone Starts
Regular Season (NOR) 48 15 13 28 X 65 X X X
Regular Season (ANA) 9 0 0 0 45.5 2 8:47 60.0 44.4
Playoffs (ANA) 2 0 0 0 71.4 0 5:33 42.9 100.0
Outlook

Tied for the Admiral lead with 15 goals in his 48 games, Wagner saw brief time with the Ducks during the season and a couple games in the first round against the Jets as an early injury replacement for Thompson. With a brief taste last season in the final year of his entry level contract, the former Colgate Raider re-upped with Anaheim on a one year deal during the summer, and through training camp has played well enough to force the Ducks to keep him with the big club through the entire preseason.

Michael Sgarbossa

2014-15 Stats
Colorado/AHL GP G A PT SAT% PIM Avg TOI FO% Zone Starts
Regular Season (COL) 3 0 1 1 40.0 10 7:06 45.0 64.3
Regular Season (AHL) 60 10 28 28 X 64 X X X
Outlook

Sgarbossa came over from the Avalanche at the trade deadline in exchange for Mat Clark to help fill out the organization's center position. An AHL All Star with the Lake Erie Monsters in 12-13, Sgarbossa is still young at 23 years old and gives the Gulls a player that can both score and play a two-way game.

Matt Bailey

2014-15 Stats
Norfolk (AHL) GP G A PT SAT% PIM Avg TOI FO% Zone Starts
Regular Season 56 6 4 10 X 31 X X X
Outlook

A four year player at the University of Alaska Anchorage, Bailey lead the Seawolves in scoring during his senior season. He's in the second of his two-year entry level deal, and figures to be a regular with the Gulls.

Kyle MacKinnon

2014-15 Stats
St. John's (AHL) GP G A PT SAT% PIM Avg TOI FO% Zone Starts
Regular Season 47 6 21 27 X 22 X X X
Playoffs







Outlook

A local boy from Walnut, MacKinnon has been an AHL mainstay since finishing his senior year as captain of the Providence Friars in 10-11. 46 goals and 72 assists over 260 games in the A during terms with the Bruins and Jets organizations, he'll help fill out the Gulls roster and should contribute.

Chris Mueller

2014-15 Stats
NYR (NHL)/Hartford (AHL) GP G A PT SAT% PIM Avg TOI FO% Zone Starts
Regular Season (NHL) 7 1 1 2 48.7 0 10:27 59.4 40.7
Regular Season (AHL) 64 14 26 40 X 26 X X X
Outlook

A 29 year-old that has bumped around between three different NHL organizations, Mueller has done most of his work in the AHL where he's amassed 131 goals and 155 assists in 447 regular season games since graduating from Michigan State in 07-08. He should add scoring punch for the Gulls, and with 53 NHL games over five seasons is capable of a spot appearance as well.

Charlie Sarault

2014-15 Stats
Norfolk (AHL) GP G A PT SAT% PIM Avg TOI FO% Zone Starts
Regular Season 51 8 7 15 X 24 X X X
Outlook

After two full seasons in Norfolk that saw Sarault put up 14 goals and 21 assists in 105 games, he could be set to start the season in the ECHL with the Utah Grizzlies as he was designated for assignment in the first round of cuts from training camp.

Julius Nattinen

2014-15 Stats
JYP (Liiga)/JYP (Mestis) GP G A PT SAT% PIM Avg TOI FO% Zone Starts
Regular Season (Liiga) 9 0 3 3 X 0 X X X
Regular Season (Mestis) 39 11 18 29 X 8 X X X
Playoffs (Mestis) 6 0 0 0 X 2 X X X
Outlook

The Ducks second round draft pick from 2015 had a solid first summer with the franchise, participating in both the summer development camp, as well as rookie and training camps this season. He was a regular contributor offensively in rookie games and in the preseason action he saw, and begins his North American hockey career this season as a member of the Barrie Colts in the OHL.

Kevin Roy

2014-15 Stats
Northeastern (H-East) GP G A PT SAT% PIM Avg TOI FO% Zone Starts
Regular Season (H-East) 35 19 25 44 X 28 X X X
Outlook

Roy enters his final year of eligibility at Northeastern University, where he has lead the team in scoring all three seasons with the program. A fourth round selection in 2012, Roy lit up social media during a scrimmage at the summer development camp scoring a highlight reel goal, but it remains to be seen where he fits in the organization's plans after not yet signing.

Troy Terry

2014-15 Stats
USNTDP (USHL)/US U-18 (USDP) GP G A PT SAT% PIM Avg TOI FO% Zone Starts
US Nat. Team Dev. Prog. (USHL) 25 6 8 14 X 4 X X X
US U-18 (USDP) 66 19 25 44 X 8 X X X
Outlook

Selected by the Ducks in the fifth round of the 2015 draft, Terry spent last season with the US National Team Development Program including putting up four goals and an assist at the Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament with the U-18 team. He'll be playing college hockey in the fall at the University of Denver.

Brent Gates Jr.

2014-15 Stats
Green Bay (USHL) GP G A PT SAT% PIM Avg TOI FO% Zone Starts
Green Bay (USHL) 33 10 17 27 X 18 X X X
Outlook

A late round selection by Anaheim in the 2015 draft, Gates Jr was unable to take part in the summer development camp due to injury. After a season in the USHL, he will be at the University of Minnesota this season.

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Stats in this article courtesy of Hockey-ReferenceAHLHockeyDB, and Elite Prospects.