It’s a new era for Ducks hockey, if only for a little bit.
Maturation of anticipated prospects combined with a few injuries will give fans the chance to get a glimpse of the new-look Ducks. While the prospects will likely give us flashes of excitement, there’s just too many question marks and unknowns with this team to believe that they can compete for a spot near the top of the division again.
My prediction: Anaheim squeaks into the playoffs as a Wild Card team. They’ll put up a surprising fight to a much better division winner but eventually getting knocked out in the first round in 7 games.
The Ducks will start off the season hot, invigorated by the new, more transition-based system, taking 18 out of a possible 26 points in October. Unfortunately, they will hit a slide come November, causing Carlyle to revert to his old ways instead of staying the course. This will hurt the team and put them far enough out of a playoff spot that the head coach will be let go come late December and Dallas Eakins will be given his chance. The Ducks will end up making the playoffs on the back of the renewed energy that Dallas Eakins will bring to the team (yes I know this is my dream scenario, let me have it).
Last year I (correctly) predicted that the Ducks would start slow and build their way into a playoff spot by putting together short win streaks around February.
I also (wrongly) predicted they would leadergrit their way to a Stanley Cup Finals appearance.This year I predict they will surprise everyone and come charging out of the gate.
The new playing style/coaching system will have a few hiccups at first, but Gibson will weather the storm and eventually, the players will settle into a rhythm. Troy Terry and Sam Steel will have significant roles in this surprising uncharacteristic early-season outburst. Kevin Roy will eventually get a spot in the line-up and stick there. At one point both John Gibson and Ryan Miller will fall to short-term injuries. Kevin Boyle will start and win 3-4 games in their absence, prompting everyone in the league to ask “Who?” and soliciting the smuggest of grins from myself.
At face value this seasons Ducks team looks to be pretty amazing, and everything they do will likely be excellent.
Unfortunately, the zebras and the league won’t stand for such lopsided excellence. They will, therefore, be against them. To the casual observer’s perception, it will appear that the refs will continue to make ones upon ones of terrible calls each game just to screw the Ducks over, and to show blatant favouritism to [insert team] in each and every game.
Despite this grave slight against the mighty Ducks, the veteran leadership of the oft injured vets will merge with youthful enthusiasm of the incoming generational super-prospects, and the Ducks will technically play hockey. However, in addition to apparent overt league bias, 3-4 teams in each division are now equally (and in some rare many cases, more) excellently put together.
As such, I shall say that should the Ducks finish the season with less than 101 standings points, that will be a step back for them. Additionally, should they make the playoffs for the 7th consecutive season, that should (yes I’m looking at you, Cup or Bust fans) be considered a successful season.
This season should be an entertaining one in Anaheim, and I am really looking forward to it. With the youth movement in Anaheim in full swing with players like Steel, Terry, and Comtois, the team-promised addition of speed should be a lot more entertaining to watch than the dump and chase Randy-hockey we are all so accustomed to.
With players like Getzlaf, Gibson, and Rakell likely to enter beast mode once again, the pressure to the bottom half of the lineup, and in specific the young kids, is where I believe Anaheim’s season will be decided. Nonetheless, I believe that the Ducks will be a lot more fun to watch than they have been in previous years, and a wild-card playoff place should be a relative given, though a divisional playoff spot is a possibility.
Once the post-season begins, anything is possible, but I believe the second round is where this group will end the season this year, which will give the young kids some valuable postseason experience. (RIP Elite 1C Derek Grant 2017-2018)
The Ducks are bound to have a better start than they had last year, although they still have some pieces missing from the starting lineup. With Perry sidelined for most of the season, and Kesler and Eaves still question marks, the start of the year will give some of the ducklings a chance to shine.
Steel will produce steadily as a third-line center. Terry will thrive with the top line as Rakell and Getzlaf continue to be a force and Rakell puts up 40 goals. Kase is going to continue his rise as he puts up his first 30 goal season.
The Ducks will remain middle of the pack, but they’ll still hit their usual post-new year surge. They’ll land in 3rd place in the Pacific behind San Jose and Vegas. They’ll be able to take down Vegas, but the second round is where their journey will most likely end as they face a stacked Sharks team with two of the top 5 defensemen in the league.
The series loss won’t be as bad as getting swept in 2017/18, but it will be enough that Carlyle coaches his final game for the Ducks (for real this time). If they somehow manage to get past the Sharks, then they just have to beat Winnipeg and Tampa Bay for the Cup... piece of cake.
This 2018-19 season should be a very telling one for the Anaheim Ducks. After an embarrassing sweep at the hands of the San Jose Sharks to end 2017-18, Ducks General Manager Bob Murray made it clear that it’s about time the team relinquishes its brute force style in favor of speedy, skillful hockey. But his moves this offseason, or lack thereof, suggest Murray believes the Ducks’ problems can be solved with a simple adjustment to the system; the changes, therefore, fall at the feet of head coach Randy Carlyle. How Carlyle adapts will be the defining factor of this Ducks season.
With Corey Perry out for the foreseeable future, Ryan Kesler’s status in question and Nick Ritchie without a contract, the Ducks will test their “new” system with an infusion of prospects like Troy Terry and Sam Steel. As always, however, their hopes will rest on Ryan Getzlaf’s health, Rickard Rakell’s emergence and John Gibson’s dominance. That should be enough to make the postseason, but don’t expect the Ducks to advance any farther than last year when they get there.
I wish I was the happy-go-lucky, optimistic AC staff writer who predicts the Ducks going straight through the Conference Finals to the Stanley Cup. But unfortunately I’ve a bit jaded in the past few seasons and my team’s own worst critic.
When comparing the Anaheim Ducks’ build and performance the past couple seasons to the build and performance of other teams within the same division and conference, you can’t help but feel a bit dissatisfied and forlorn. We plainly see the gap widening between the old-school gritty, grinding teams and the new generation of younger, faster and skilled teams.
Unfortunately the Ducks are in a bit of a limbo. Although there seems to be a transition in the Ducks organizational thought on how to continue on building out the team, we’re already a step behind. With Randy Carlyle dictating old school type of play, I doubt the Ducks will be able to catch up within one season. So to put it simply, while I still think that the Ducks are among the top of the division (behind San Jose and Vegas), I can’t foresee the Ducks getting past 2nd round of playoffs. (PLEASE DEAR LORD LET ME BE WRONG.)
The one upside is that I see this season as a teller for the foreseeable future as it comes to the Ducklings (prospects), Randy Carlyle, and GM Bob Murray. With Corey Perry out for a good part of the season, it’ll be a chance for the prospects to flex their muscles and show us their worth. This season will be challenge to Randy Carlyle—to show us something different, something that can be on par with a Vegas-type of hockey. And lastly, this season will perhaps also show us what GM Bob Murray has possibly up his sleeve. He has reiterated that change is upon us, but he can’t be referring to this year’s (lack of) off-season acquisitions, so the question remains.
Show us what you got BM.
The Ducks are coming off a rather embarrassing showing in the playoffs and have dedicated themselves to learning how to adapt to the new-age NHL by playing with speed. How will they do in their first season under this new ideology, but still under the same head coach that is notorious for never changing?
I enjoy being optimistic about the idea of a new season with new players and a fresh start. The problem in my mind is that the teams around Anaheim are also excited for a new season, with better players, and a better chance. The Ducks will start the season slowly while trying to work out the kinks of their new system and their new players’ chemistry on their respective lines. This will cause the Ducks to fall behind as they have done in years past, except I don’t foresee a strong enough 2nd half push to sneak into the playoffs again.
It’s not that the Ducks are bad in my eyes, just that the teams around them are too good, and there are only 8 spots available in the West. I love the Ducks, but I’d be lying to myself if I tried to pretend that I couldn’t name 8 teams in the Western Conference that I think have better seasons than Anaheim.
I’ll say the Ducks finish with 90 points and miss the final Wild Card spot by somewhere between 5-10 points.
I believe the Ducks will finish 4th in the Pacific this year trailing behind San Jose, Vegas and Los Angeles. I feel that guys like Troy Terry and Sam Steel will get their feet wet as well as Max Comtois with Perry’s long recovery and how the Ducks will have to handle Kesler and Eaves throughout the season.
I feel the Ducks will be fighting for a playoff berth late in the season and will come away with either the 7th or 8th seed. I believe they will show more fight than last year and make it to the second round but with an aging veteran core, I believe injuries will be too much to handle and the team will suffer another early exit.
Now, I’m kind of a superstitious fan and I don’t like to predict what will happen with the Ducks, but I will say this: we’re gonna see a whole lotta dump & chase!
Anaheim stood pat in the offseason, simply adding a couple of depth players to fill out the roster. While this approach, in my opinion, helps the Ducks in the long-term, I think it will make their lives a little more difficult this season.
Many teams in the Pacific made solid moves to level up and address their weaknesses and that could spell trouble for the Southern California club. Anaheim still has the pieces to compete, but unless Gibson learns how to shape shift into a 4 x 6 brick wall, I don’t see this team going any further than the Conference Semifinals and could even be on the outside looking in come playoff time.