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Team-by-team NHL capsules

By Andy MacNeil  () 

ANAHEIM DUCKS

Not even goaltender John Gibson could save the Ducks in 2019-20, and it’s safe to say he is going to have his work cut out for him again in 2021. Players such as Rickard Rakell and Jakob Silfverberg once were seen as the future of the franchise, and that’s the organization’s biggest issue. The Ducks don’t have an elite forward on their roster, and the aforementioned wingers are nothing more than complementary pieces with no star at center to flank. 

The Ducks are a young team, specifically up front, as Sam Steel and Max Comtois already have begun to make the jump. However, Trevor Zegras and other high-end prospects might not be ready to make an impact in the NHL for a few more years. Ryan Getzlaf is in the last year of his contract at 35 and seems likely to retire after the season. 

Coach Dallas Eakins and his staff must rely heavily on their veteran forwards (and their back end) while they focus on coaching the young players they hope will be future stars. Free-agent signee Kevin Shattenkirk, 31, is a nice addition to the defensive unit, but the Ducks really should be trying to get younger.

Statistically, the Ducks rank as one of the worst teams, which shouldn’t be surprising. Some stats, like those that measure shooting and saves, might improve, but the team’s overall success will depend on the progress of their young players. The Ducks finished in the bottom 10 in Corsi and Expected Goals in 2019-20.

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