It’s that time of year again. With our Anaheim Ducks set to begin another quest for Lord Stanley’s Cup tonight, we here at Anaheim Calling are going to take our best shot at predicting just how well Anaheim will do this season. We want to hear your predictions as well so make sure to head down to the comments section after reading and share your own thoughts.
While key injuries to Ryan Kesler, Hampus Lindholm, and Sami Vatanen will hamper Anaheim’s ability to take the NHL by storm at the start of the season, I am confident that the Ducks will be able to hit their stride in December and January and go into the postseason on a hot streak. I give the division to the Oilers but Anaheim will still enter the playoffs as heavy favorites in the West. From there anything can happen. In the end, I think Anaheim will make their first Finals appearance since 2007 and whether they lift the Cup will entirely depend on the health of the roster and their matchup in the Finals. But I firmly believe Anaheim will participate in the final game of the 2017-2018 NHL season.
Anaheim went further than many expected last year. With an aging core, a questionable coaching rehire, and holes in the bottom 6, Anaheim proved it could overcome doubters to make it to within 2 wins of the Stanley Cup Finals.
It seems as though those concerns have been mostly alleviated (for now), as Anaheim made only supplemental changes in bringing in veteran Ryan Miller to backup John Gibson and center Dennis Rasmussen to replace the departed Nate Thompson on the 4th line. Clearly, Bob Murray is betting on this group to continue their successes while banking on younger guys like Nick Ritchie and Ondrej Kase to take the next step in their development as well as keeping faith that veteran Corey Perry will regain his scoring touch.
In my opinion, Anaheim picks up where it left off making it to the Western Conference Finals for the 2nd straight year on the backs of another point-per-game season from Getzlaf, a rebounded 30-goal Corey Perry, and a top-3 Vezina performance from Gibson who finally is healthy for an entire season.
Best-case scenario: Rakell and Silfverberg will be the new dynamic duo. With Kesler out, Silfverberg finally gets the opportunity to play in an offensive role. Rakell will be able to create space in the offensive zone, which allows Silf plenty of time to get his patented shot off. One other player will benefit from Kesler’s absence—Corey Perry. Perry will get his old spot in front of the net on the top PP unit and will easily score 30 goals. Being optimistic, Eaves plays 50 games.
Worst-case scenario: The Ducks cannot recover from their injuries on defense. Anaheim’s home winning streak against Calgary comes to an end. Carlyle gets caught clubbing in Las Vegas. Panic ensues. The funny thing is that none of this matters because they’ll still find a way to make the playoffs.
Realisticly: Instead of the Battle of California, it will now be Alberta versus Orange County. The two orange teams will become bigger rivals than ever and meet in the first round of the playoffs. Calgary will play the winner. However, no matter what team fans root for, everyone will cry when Paul Kariya returns to Honda Center. Retire the 9.
In the interest of transparency, going into the 2017-2018 my expectations for this team haven’t changed all that much from the beginning of last season. Although the Ducks managed to avoid crucial losses in the Vegas expansion draft, there weren't any game changing moves made during the off-season.
The Ducks will definitely be at a loss starting the season, with both Sami Vatanen and Hampus Lindholm recovering from surgery. We won't be seeing Ryan Kesler for a longer while for the same reason. All in all, it can go one of two ways: either the Ducks somehow manage to really step up their offensive game and make up for the lack in defense (I.e. Corey Perry remembers how he used to score), or they basically make up for their first-half losses in the remaining half (post-All Star break more likely). Let's just say Randy Carlyle is going to have a lot on his hands early on, and it remains to be seen whether his approach to defense has changed or not. Either way, I do predict the Ducks make a another post-season appearance given that I'm not overly impressed by the Pacific this year. Call me a pessimist, but I predict another episode of “Gingerbread Gibby” going out with an injury. Other notes include that the Ducks will market the sh** out of HHOF induction night, and you'll be seeing those eggplant jerseys floating around with Kariya's nameplate. Cheers to a new season!
Right over here.
Although starting slow has been a calling card for the Ducks in recent years, this year will be through no fault of their own. The initial absence of Lindholm, Vatanen and Kesler will hurt. By mid-December they will slowly begin to string together win streaks before finally hitting a phenomenal stretch run from February through to the playoffs where they will come in a mid-tier seed and quietly make their way back to a Cup Finals appearance through sheer #leadergrit and underestimation by their opponents.
Although the Ducks brought back Randy Carlyle and finally rid themselves of the dreaded game 7 demons, they once again fell shy of reaching the Stanley Cup Finals. Unfortunate and untimely injuries in the playoffs to key players such as Patrick Eaves, Rickard Rakell and John Gibson proved costly. Without adequate scoring depth and a consistent backup goaltender, the Predators were too much to handle thus leaving Ducks fans frustrated and disappointed once again.
This offseason the Ducks signed veteran goalie Ryan Miller as Gibson's backup. Although past his prime, he should be an upgrade from Jonathan Bernier and should be a solid mentor to Gibson. However, the team still lacks forward scoring depth. Last season the Ducks ranked 18th in the league at a 2.68 goals per game. For all playoff teams, that was 2nd worst and barely better than San Jose's 2.67 goals per game. Only Jakob Silfverberg, Ryan Kesler and Rakell surpassed the 20 goal mark last season and Rakell actually surpassed 30 goals in leading the team with 33 overall. Which is exactly why the Ducks’ Cup hopes ended once Rakell went down with injury. On a positive note, the Ducks defense was ranked 3rd overall in the league with a goal-against average of 2.40. If the Ducks don't add scoring depth this season by the trade deadline, they will find it hard to keep up the pace with teams like the Edmonton Oilers. Their current depth will be tested early on with the likes of Kesler, Hampus Lindholm and Sami Vatanen sidelined by injuries.
For the Ducks to win the Cup this season they will need to address their forward depth by the trade deadline. They will need a resurgence from Corey Perry as he has been a shadow of himself the last couple seasons. They will also look to Silfverberg to continue his offensive breakout from last season in which he scored 23 goals and had 26 assists. Re-signing Patrick Eaves was a decent move as he seemed to have solid chemistry with Ryan Getzlaf. In 20 games played with the Ducks he had 11 goals and will look to build on that this season. If the core of the team can remain healthy and get Perry to somewhat return to form, and have several players build upon their career seasons, I believe they can finish 1st or 2nd in the division behind Edmonton. However, if the Ducks fail to add any scoring depth this season, I don't see the current team making a deeper run into the post season as they had last year. The safe bet for me is the Ducks win the Pacific yet again, but lack of scoring depth eliminates them from playoffs in 2nd round.
Well, as we all know, the Ducks are missing three major players going into the start of the season. Only Lindholm is expected to come back by Nov 1st. Obviously the Ducks are expected to have a slow start baring anymore injuries. Reports also have Eaves/Miller/Bieksa missing the home opener. I don't expect us to have a winning record by Christmas since this team is naturally a late bloomer.
So let’s get to the fun part of this prediction and I expect backlash from my answers. First, the Anaheim Ducks will NOT win the Pacific Division. Secondly, the Anaheim Ducks will NOT make any major trades “Duchene” to get rid of our plethora of defensive talent. Thirdly, the Anaheim Ducks will NOT have a winning record prior to Christmas. Additionally, SCOREY PERRY will be back to 30 goals along with Silfverberg will score 30 goals. Rakell will not score more than 15 goals [Ed. Note: BLASPHEMY!!! -JC]
Each passing year that the Ducks aren’t the last team standing should be viewed as a disappointment. General manager Bob Murray filled the Ducks’ toolbox about as well as any other team in the Western Conference. The forward group is above average, the defensive unit is among the best in the league at full strength and the goaltending tandem will give the team a chance to win every night.
The Ducks are such notorious slow starters and that likely won’t change in 2017-18 with Ryan Kesler, Hampus Lindholm and Sami Vatanen likely to miss the start of the season. Because of that, there’s a good chance the Ducks’ run of Pacific Division titles comes to an end — the Edmonton Oilers are a young, up-and-coming team that wants to check that division title box, while the Ducks are simply looking to get into the dance and be playing well at the right time. Ultimately once the Stanley Cup Playoffs roll around, it’s about health and luck. Last season the Ducks had a little luck but lacked health and that cost them in the Western Conference Finals against the Nashville Predators. Time will tell if they are better equipped for that situation in 2017-18. Sadly, the Ducks will wear down the Predators (finally) in the WCF, only to fall in a classic Stanley Cup Final against one of the East’s heavyweights.
The Ducks will have a mediocre start to the season due to injuries but eventually rebound and hit their stride. The hole they put themselves in won’t be too large to dig themselves out of and at the end of the day they will win the Pacific in a tight race with the Oilers. Come postseason time, Anaheim will make it to the Conference Final and vanquish the ghosts of playoffs past by beating the Preds and I’m going to be an optimist and say they go on to capture the second cup in franchise history.
The Ducks haven’t changed too dramatically since last season, and I expect relatively similar results. The Ducks will struggle to cope with the losses of Kesler, Lindholm, and Vatanen, but they will have no problem making the playoffs. However, their division champion streak will come to an end this year. The Edmonton Oilers are going to continue getting better, and quite frankly, that’s terrifying. I am expecting Anaheim to be matched up against Calgary in the first round of the playoffs with home-ice advantage, which all but guarantees a series victory (sorry for those of you that are superstitious, but I am not). However, I see the Ducks meeting the Oilers yet again in the second round, and I don’t see them getting as lucky this time. The Oilers’ speed will prove too much for the Ducks, and the Oilers will take the series in six games. If the Ducks are able to get 2012 Jonathan Quick-level goaltending (sorry), then I could see them advancing as far as the Stanley Cup Final, but I just don’t see the Cup in Anaheim this year. Silver lingings will include a bounce-back season from Corey Perry as well as exciting debuts for Max Jones and Sam Steel. It should be a fun season to watch regardless, so let’s go Ducks!!!
The Ducks are dealing with some injuries to start the season, which could (and will) lead to some struggles in the first part of the season. Fortunately, this will result in some of their key players being more rested come playoff time - and there will be a playoff time for the Ducks. After a rough start, the Ducks will find a surge entering the new year with the return of KessBoss and will carry that surge into a playoff spot. The Ducks have the depth and the talent in their lineup to finish 2nd in the Pacific, trailing only the Edmonton Oilers, due to their lackluster start. Entering playoffs, the Ducks will be healthy and ready to go for a deep run. Their biggest test will be taking down McDavid and the Oilers for a consecutive year (spoiler - it's going 7 games again). After winning the Western conference, the Ducks will be met by the Lightning in the Finals. With the Ducks staying healthy, and Gibson coming into form, the Ducks will once again hoist the Stanley Cup.
The team is one year older and one year more mature. With the likes of Rickard Rakell, Cam Fowler, Hampus Lindholm, and Jakob Silfverberg entering their primes, Ryan Getzlaf showing what a monster he still is last spring, and Corey Perry proving the doubters wrong coming up clutch on various occasions in the playoffs, the team is looking fresh and ready for the new season to begin.
The Anaheim Ducks’ Stanley Cup hopes for 2018 lie between the pipes. John Gibson is now one year more mature and with the experience he earned last spring, he finally understands what it takes to be a goalie in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. The acquisition of Ryan Miller is immensely important. Having a back up with the experience he has, along with his regular season success will be huge to take pressure off John Gibson during the regular season, and allow him to be fresh and ready come April of 2018. With all these reasons in mind, Anaheim’s goaltenders will be the reason the team will hoist the 2018 Stanley Cup.