The right wing position may be the most predictable of all the position groups for the Anaheim Ducks. With the buyout of the beloved Corey Perry and the confirmation that Patrick Eaves will be spending the 2019-2020 season on the LTIR, the Ducks have opened the door for a somewhat fresh new look on the right side of the lineup.
As of the time of this writing, three of the four spots seemed to be locked down by one of Jakob Silfverberg, Ondrej Kase and Troy Terry. This leaves an opportunity for two of the other guys: Daniel Sprong or Kiefer Sherwood. One of these two will be the fourth man in. Let’s take a look at each as we look forward to seeing where the chips fall heading into the final games of the preseason.
2018-2019 Stats: 30 GP, 11 G, 9 A, 56.6 CF%, 56.82 xGF%
Current Contract: Two Years left at $2,600,000 AAV
Much has been made (and rightfully so) about the now dead trade deal between the Anaheim Ducks and Carolina Hurricanes that would have potentially sent Ondrej Kase to the Canes for RHD Justin Faulk. No matter how you felt about that potential move, most Ducks fans were excited to see it fall apart when the St. Louis Blues swept in and traded for Faulk instead. We here at Anaheim Calling are firm believers in the type of player Kase has been and what he could further become. Read about how we feel here. There is no denying his positive impact and there is no denying the benefit of having a player at his age, with his production, at his current contract.
However, there is also no denying Kase’s other ability: to get injured. Over the past three seasons, he has only played in 149 regular season games out of a potential 246. This averages out to approximately 49 games per season. There is no doubt Kase equals good things, but the biggest question he faces heading into this season is if can he stay healthy.
2018-2019 Stats: 50 GP, 6 G, 6 A, 45.6 xCF%, 42.48 xGF%
Current Contract: One year left at $925,000 AAV (RFA in 2020-2021)
I have always referred to Kiefer Sherwood as “Kase lite”. He is an absolute ball of relentless energy who possesses a sneaky good wrist shot and seems to stand out whenever he is on the ice. In our previous Duckling article series, I mentioned that Sherwood’s situation is unique due to the fact that the talent the Ducks possess at right wing may leave him as the odd man out.
Depending on how Dallas Eakins decides to juggle the lines, Sherwood may become a rotational match up play, the “night off” guy/extra forward, or spend his season with the San Diego Gulls to be called up when needed. The fact that he is waiver exempt makes option three the more likely scenario unless he is able to force Eakins’ hand into playing him over Daniel Sprong or on his off wing over one of the other left wingers.
2018-2019 Stats: 73 GP, 24 G, 19 A, 46.7 CF%, 47.91 xGF%
Current Contract: Five years left at $5,825,000 AAV
Fresh into a new contract and potential assistant captain role, Jakob Silfverberg was his usual reliable self in 2018-2019. He also managed to score a career high 24 goals despite a brutal team year of offense for the Ducks. He will be looking to build off of the final 31 games of the season (last 3 months) in which he had 12 goals and 12 assists. That put him at a .77 points per game average which would project out to 63 total points over a full 82 game season, all of this while being one of the more defensively responsible forwards in the league. Silfverberg has looked great so far in the preseason and I can easily see him setting a career high in goals and points in Dallas Eakins’ high-event system.
2018-2019 Stats: 63 GP, 14 G, 9 A, 48.1 CF%, 46.4 xGF%
Current Contract: One year left at $750,000 AAV (RFA in 2020-2021)
The curious case of Daniel Sprong…there are both positives and negatives with all players, and Sprong is no exception. Here is a list of things he can do well: Shoot (a lot), score goals, skate, and have sneaky good playmaking skills. Now, here is a list of things he does not do well: backcheck, forecheck, and stay engaged in his own end. All that said, what Dallas Eakins needs to figure out is how best to utilize Sprong’s ability to put the puck in the net.
After he was traded to the Ducks from the Pittsburgh Penguins for Marcus Pettersson, Sprong went on to score 14 goals with five assists in 47 games with the Ducks. Those were both career highs and one would think, if given the ice time and opportunities, he would be able to eclipse both of those marks.
Again, the question is how will he be utilized in the most effective fashion? I want to see fun players with offensive potential, and Sprong is certainly all of that. On the other hand, Sprong’s game is lacking something. Maybe it is a certain tenacity? I can’t quite put my finger on it. Either way, I am looking forward to seeing what Eakins has in mind for Sprong this season.
2018-2019 Stats: 32 GP, 4 G, 9 A, 46.9 CF%, 45.66 xGF%
Current Contract: One year left at $925,000 AAV (RFA in 2020-2021 though not eligible for offer sheet)
Troy Terry came into the 2018-2019 season with a lot of hype. He began the season looking a little overwhelmed and out of place. He then spent 41 games playing under Dallas Eakins with the San Diego Gulls where he not only regained his confidence, but went on an absolute tear putting up 41 points (16 goals, 25 assists) in 41 games. He looked much better in his second stint with the Ducks notching 13 points (four goals, nine assists) in 26 games before breaking his leg blocking a shot against the Calgary Flames to end his season. I was an advocate for Terry being lined up with Ryan Getzlaf heading into this season and so far, that has worked out despite the two being similar players. The thought is that there is too much hockey sense and possession ability for them not to work together. I also feel people are sleeping on Terry’s shot a bit and have pegged him as a “playmaker” only. I am really looking forward to Terry taking the next step this season and showing all of us why #Terryisverygood.
All salary numbers courtesy of CapFriendly.com.