For those that have missed this segment, this is a weekly series on Anaheim Calling to take a look at how various players on the team have fared. I will arbitrarily rank a random topic along on a scale of 1 to 5 stars and place different Ducks within the categories based on their performance over the past week. My reasoning for the rating of the Ducks will be based on stats, results, and probably some of my bias. My reasoning for the rating of the random topic will be completely biased #dealwithit. I will elaborate more on some players than others. I expect everyone to probably disagree with me on both topics and all of my takes will be outed. If there is something you would like me to rank please feel free to leave it in the comments. On to the fun!
The games included in the ratings for this week are Jan 13th against the Kings, Jan 15th against the Avalanche (Or as Felix would say my ‘Lanche), Jan 17th against the Penguins, and Jan 19th against the Kings.
The NHL has really set the Ducks up to face some of their top rivals this past week and in the upcoming week, so what better time than now to rank the Ducks rivalries. Like past weeks, these rankings are 100% correct and no one can tell me otherwise.
5 Stars: Ducks vs Red Wings
This is going to seem like a real hot take to a lot of people, but the Red Wings are still the Ducks top rival. That might eventually change as more and more time passes with them in the Eastern Conference, but there is no team I hate more in the league as a Ducks fan than the Red Wings. A lot of people are of the opinion that rivalries are born and created in the playoffs, and this is a clear example of that. While the Red Wings were in the Western Conference, these two teams played 6 playoff series against one another and to put that in perspective the Ducks only made the playoffs 9 times over that span. It all started with 1997 playoffs, the Red Wings were the established Original 6 franchise that had stars upon stars, while the then Mighty Ducks were the plucky upstart Disney franchise led by Kariya and Selanne. The Ducks were swept by the Wings, even though they took three of those games to OT. The Ducks got another crack at the Wings in 99, but were swept yet again. They then got a third opportunity against the then defending Cup Champion Wings in 03, and turned the tables by sweeping them. This was the turning point in the rivalry. A rivalry cannot be one team dominating the entire time, both teams need to have their success and heartbreak to make it truly special. After this 03 series, the Ducks and Wings would go on to have three more classic series that would go 6 games, 7 games, and 7 games. These series created memorable moments like Teemu Selanne’s OT winner in game 5 at the Joe in 07 (The biggest goal in franchise history) to heartbreaking ones like Dan Cleary scoring the game winner with three minutes left in game 7 in 09 (I still think that shouldn’t have counted. He pushed Hiller’s pad into the net!!). Even if this rivalry has died down over the years, it created the best and worst moments in franchise history and should be recognized as the first and greatest rivalry the Ducks have had.
Nick Ritchie - Adam Henrique - Ondrej Kase - This line had a very very good week. All three players were above 50% in CF% and around 60% in xGF%. Along with that they were all around 80% in GF%. Moving towards looking at the production of the line, Kase had a monster week with 3 goals, 2 primary assists, and 1 secondary assists for 6 points in 4 games. Ritchie and Henrique each tallied two points on this week. This line was going this week.
J.T. Brown - Brown had a pretty impressive first week with the team. He originally slotted into the Cogliano role on the Kesler line for his first two games, but once Cogliano came back he ended up on the Vermette line and was successful in both roles. Brown led the team in xGF% this week at 63% and he contributed with an assist on the week. He seems like he could be really valuable depth pickup that can control play and contribute a point every once in a while.
4 Stars: Ducks vs Kings
This rivalry is the exact opposite of the Red Wings. The Ducks and Kings have only played once in the playoffs, and even though it was a memorable and heartbreaking 7 game series, this one series did not create the rivalry. This rivalry is born out of the geography of the area. The Kings being the established Southern California team and the Ducks being the newer franchise trying to build their fan base. Up until recently though, this was mainly a rivalry between fanbases and it never seemed to spill onto the ice. Once the Kings won their first cup in 2012, that all seemed to change. There started to be real hate on the ice between the two teams and that has only grown as the years have gone on and has now gotten to the point where Main Stream Media is calling it the best rivalry in the game right now. In my opinion though, this rivalry needs a couple more playoff series before it can over take the Ducks vs Red Wings as the best rivalry for the Ducks.
Chris Wagner - Chris Wagner had a pretty good week for Chris Wagner. He was below 50% in CF%, but he was at 54% in xGF% and scored a big shorthanded goal against the Penguins.
John Gibson - Gibson picked up 3 wins on the week and accumulated a 1.2 GSAA and a .926 sv%. He was not amazing on the week, but he did not have to be either.
3 Stars: Ducks vs Sharks
This is the other geographic rival the Ducks have, and although it is not as strong as the Ducks Kings rivalry, it still is a fun one. These two teams always show up to play one another and always seem to have bad blood. This rivalry is the middle of the road, where both teams have had (at least in the regular season), success and failures against one another.
Cam Fowler - Kevin Bieksa - This pairing had a decent week. Even though they were below 50% in CF%, they were above 50% in xGF%. My main issue with the pairing is the actual on ice results. They were on the ice for 3 goals against at ES, and Fowler was on the ice for 1 GF and Bieksa 0 GF. Even though they overall were good at limiting chances, the ones they gave up came back to bite them. As we all have seen a big reason for that is Bieksa. Please give Fowler a better partner.
Ryan Kesler & Jakob Silfverberg - These two this weeks had an average week. They were below 50% in both CF% and xGF%, but produced some big goals for the team. Kesler had two goals including the game winner against the Kings.
Andrew Cogliano - I am not going to address his suspension. There are plenty of great articles on the website and the podcast from Monday night that talk about that, this will be purely about his play. Cogliano was below 50% in both CF% and xGF%, but produced a point in his 2 games on the week.
Francois Beauchemin - Brandon Montour - This pairing was used as the third pairing on the week and got the softest minutes, and they were pretty average in them. Both players were nearly 50% in CF% and xGF%.
2 Stars: Ducks vs Predators
Predator’s fans like to claim the Ducks as rivals, or just always claim they hate the Ducks, because of the two series we have had in recent memory. I more so see the Preds as an annoyance. They do not play enough in the regular season being in different divisions, and have not played enough playoff series for me to consider them a true rival. Maybe that will change if they play again this year in the playoffs, but that will be part of next years lists then.
Rickard Rakell - Ryan Getzlaf - Corey Perry - “Getzlaf gets knocked down, but he get up again, You are never gonna keep the captain down, Getzlaf gets knocked down, but he get up again, You are never gonna keep the captain down, Getzlaf gets knocked down, but he get up again, You are never gonna keep the captain down, Getzlaf gets knocked down, but he get up again, You are never gonna keep the captain down,“ This line had a below average week. Getzlaf and Rakell only had 2 points each and Perry only had a point. They were on the wrong side of the CF% and xGF% battle also.
Hampus Lindholm - Josh Manson - This is kind of surprising to me. Both of these players were fairly poor in CF% and xGF% on the week being well below 50% in both statistics. By my eye test, I thought they were decent actually but the numbers say otherwise. The pairing is going to be used in a shutdown role moving forward and will need to produce better performances.
1 Star: Ducks vs Flames
This is not a rivalry. Flames fans hate the Ducks (well most teams do I guess), but like I said in the Red Wings explanation, both teams need to have success and heartbreak against one another in order for it to be a rivalry. Well that is not the case. The Ducks and Flames have played three playoff series with the Ducks upsetting the favored Flames in 6 games in 06, the Ducks beating the Flames in 5 games in 15, and the Ducks sweeping the Flames in 17. On top of that, the Flames won their first regular season game at Honda Center this season since I was getting ready for my Bar Mitzvah and Hey Ya by Outkast was on the top of the charts.
Antoine Vermette - Vermette has been relegated to a 4th line role now that everyone is healthy, and he did not respond with a good week. He was at 35% CF% and a team worst 33 xGF%.
Unranked: Ducks vs Golden Knights
This has the geographic rivalry element going for it, but the Golden Knights are too new of a franchise to really have any hate between the teams or fan bases. It is a to be determined rivalry.
Jared Boll (Played 2 games but barely played any minutes), Ryan Miller (1 Game Started), Derek Grant (Played 1 game), Korbinian Holzer (Played 1 game).
*All stats are from Corsica unless stated otherwise.