In celebration of the Anaheim Ducks’ 25th anniversary, Anaheim Calling is ranking the 25 top Ducks of all time.
No. 10-8: Thursday, Sept. 27
No. 7-6: Friday, Sept. 28
No. 5: Saturday, Sept. 29
No. 4: Sunday, Sept. 30
No. 3: Monday, Oct. 1
No. 2: Tuesday, Oct. 2
No. 1: Wednesday, Oct. 1
Number 15: Hampus Lindholm
Lindholm’s greatness, and standing in Ducks history, is subtle. He’ll never wow spectators with his stride like Scott Niedermayer, and he’ll never have the presence of Chris Pronger, but there’s a case to be made that with a few more years of excellent play, Lindholm could stake his claim as the franchise’s best ever defender.
A five-year veteran, Lindholm has exceeded 30 points three times (career-high 34 in 2014-15) and scored in double digits twice (13 last season). Those numbers are modest in part because of his role as a defensive defenseman, but also because Lindholm has been stuck on the second power-play unit while Cam Fowler mans the first.
Lindholm is a darling in the analytics community — since his rookie season, no Ducks player has a higher SAT than Lindholm’s +738 (Josh Manson is next at +532). That total ranks 13th in the NHL during that time, and ahead of players like Zdeno Chara, Mark Giordano, Erik Karlsson, and P.K. Subban.
Lindholm must accumulate more seasons, but there’s no reason he can’t be the Ducks’ best ever defenseman by the time the 30th anniversary rolls around. For now, he settles in at No. 15.
Number 14: Andrew Cogliano
Cogliano’s strengths are obvious: speed and availability.
Joining the Ducks for the 2011-12 season, Cogliano admittedly struggled in his first year in Anaheim. In the six years since, Cogliano has established himself as one of the team’s best role players, most reliable penalty killers and an occasional goal scorer. He’s scored 10 or more goals in six of his seven years with the team, maxing out with 22 in 2013-14. His consecutive games played streak, which ended last season because of a suspension, was fourth all time in NHL history at 830 games.
If Cogliano plays 82 games this season, he’ll surpass Ducks legends like Ruslan Salei, Steve Rucchin, Francois Beauchemin and Paul Kariya on the franchise’s all-time list for games played.
Number 13: Rickard Rakell
Over the last three seasons, no player in Anaheim has been as dangerous of a goal scorer as Rakell. The 25-year old Swede has led the team in goals each of the last two seasons, scoring 33 in 2016-17 before besting that with 34 in 2017-18.
If Rakell scores 30 again in 2018-19, he’ll become only the fifth player in Ducks franchise history to score 30 or more goals in three straight seasons. The others are Teemu Selanne, Paul Kariya, Bobby Ryan and Corey Perry.
Though drafted as a center, Rakell has flourished as a winger in recent seasons, becoming Ryan Getzlaf’s favorite pass recipient. But Rakell’s production can’t be attributed soley to Getzlaf — his slick hands, dangerous shot and surprising speed make him a match for any center on the roster.
Probably because Perry is still on the roster and Getzlaf is feeding him passes, Rakell doesn’t receive the national attention he probably deserves as one of the Ducks’ most potent offensive players. He did receive his first All-Star Game nod last season though, and he should continue to climb the ranks among the franchise’s all-time goal leaders. Rakell currently ranks eighth on that list, though he should overtake Cogliano, Ryan and Rucchin all sometime in the next two seasons to jump to fifth.
Number 12: Andy McDonald
McDonald has the rare distinction, along with Steve Rucchin, of being a center that prominently played with both Teemu Selanne and Paul Kariya. Though, unlike Rucchin, he did so at a complete different time of his career.
The Colgate product was a serviceable forward in three seasons prior to the 2004-05 NHL lockout, averaging 0.44 points per game during those three seasons. Sadly, concussion issues took him off the ice as the Ducks made their run to the Stanley Cup Final in 2002-03.
McDonald returned, reinvigorated, post-lockout. Joining forces with Selanne and Chris Kunitz to form Anaheim’s top scoring line, McDonald recorded 85 points in 2005-06 and 78 in 2006-07. He was an integral part of Selanne’s career rejuvenation, flashing chemistry with Selanne not seen since his days with Kariya. McDonald played in all 21 games during the 2007 postseason, recording 10 goals — including a hat trick in the second round against Vancouver — to lead the team.
Sadly, there’s an element of “what if?” to McDonald’s tenure with Anaheim. Frequent concussions limited his availability early in his career. He was traded away from the team in 2007-08 for salary cap-related reasons.
Number 11: Cam Fowler
Fowler will never live up to his draft year billing as the Ducks’ next Scott Niedermayer, but he’s been a consistent, effective option for eight seasons in the NHL.
Expected to be a top pick in the 2010 NHL Entry Draft, Fowler slipped all the way to No. 12 where he was selected by the Ducks. From that draft class, only Tyler Seguin and Jeff Skinner have appeared in more NHL games than Fowler.
Fowler stepped right into the Ducks lineup in 2010-11, recording 40 points — the only time during his career that he’s reached that benchmark — in 76 games. Fowler hasn’t quite lived up to the hype as a true No. 1 defenseman, but few in the league are capable of escaping jams in their own zone. A strong breakout passer, Fowler has also quarterbacked some very strong power-play units (and some frustrating ones).
Still only 26 years old, Fowler is eighth on the Ducks’ all-time list in games played and barring injury will rank first among Ducks defensemen all-time by the end of the 2018-19 season. His stock as an all-time Duck should only rise, having signed an eight-year contract that kicks in this season.