The Anaheim Ducks missed the NHL playoffs for the second year in a row, finishing 13th in the Western Conference in back-to-back seasons. The 2019-20 campaign was the worst in terms of the team’s points percentage since 2001-02.
While it was expected to be a transition year for the franchise, the Ducks didn’t show the improvement fans were hoping for. Without the bought-out Corey Perry, and the injured Ryan Kelser, the 2019-20 season was about shifting to a younger roster.
Matt Larkin of The Hockey News did a post-mortem on Anaheim’s season, and wrote this about what went for the team this season:
“The plan was that 2019-20, while not expected to deliver a playoff berth, could at least provide major opportunities for the kids to develop. But they didn’t progress as hoped. Steel needed 18 games to score his first goal of the season. Terry fractured his fibula in a knee-on-knee collision in December, which cost him multiple weeks and led to him spending several more weeks in the AHL once he returned. Because newly promoted coach Dallas Eakins had worked with the kids coaching the AHL affiliate in San Diego, the hope was to see some youngsters break out at the NHL level this season, but no Duck under 25 years old even topped 10 goals or 25 points.”
The good news for the Ducks is that general manager Bob Murray will have the opportunity to get a blue-chip prospect again at the 2020 NHL Draft. Anaheim has the fifth-best odds to win the lottery, and can pick now lower than eighth.
With highly regarded prospect Trevor Zegras already in the pipeline, Murray could help accelerate the rebuild by getting the first-round pick right. Zegras gives Murray a building block, and with players such as Steel, Max Jones and Troy Terry, he will have the opportunity to add another high-end young piece.
What do you think Murray has to get right this offseason?