|2016-17 season: 46-23-13, 105 points
Beat Calgary 4-0 in the First Round
Beat Edmonton 4-3
in the Conference Semifinals
Lost to Nashville 4-2 in the Conference Finals
|Head Coach: Randy Carlyle (2016)|
|1st Place Pacific Division||General Manager: Bob Murray (2008)|
|3rd Place Western Conference||AHL Affiliate: San Diego Gulls
ECHL Affiliate: Utah Grizzlies
|Draft Position: Would have the 29th Pick in the First Round|
|POS||Age||Name||Games Started||W/L Record||Shutouts||GAA||Save %|
Trades Made During the Season
|What They Acquired||Team They Traded With||In Exchange For|
|C Sam Carrick
LW Spencer Abbott
|Chicago Blackhawks||2019 7th RD Pick
LW Kenton Helgesen
|RW Patrick Eaves||Dallas Stars||Conditional 2017 2nd RD Pick|
|F Max Gortz||Nashville Predators||D Andrew O’Brien|
|F Logan Shaw||Florida Panthers||F Michael Sgarbossa|
Impending Free Agents
|POS||Age||Name||2016-17 Cap Hit|
- The Ducks have just five picks in the upcoming draft and no first round pick after the selection they sent to Dallas for Patrick Eaves increased to a first round pick. They currently have one of the top two defense groups in the league and is a unit that is relatively young and there are more prospects in the minors waiting to be called up. What they need now is young depth at forward to continue working into their NHL lineup as Getzlaf, Perry, Kesler, and Vermette age.
What I Said About Them Before the Season
- I, along with I’m guessing most people, were speculative of the team’s decision to move on from Bruce Boudreau last offseason in favor of bringing back Randy Carlyle. I pointed out how Carlyle has never been as good of a coach as Boudreau, especially in terms of puck possession. I wrote how I believed in goaltender John Gibson to take the reins as their starting goaltender after trading Frederik Andersen last offseason. I predicted that the Ducks were going to have to make a move during the season to free up cap space and that Cam Fowler was probably going to be the player most likely to be moved. For this season, I predicted that the Ducks would take a step back as a result of the coaching change and the team would have some of their flaws exposed.
- Success – This season was a success for Anaheim because they were able to win the Pacific Division and reached the Conference Finals in a season when many thought they could have even missed the playoffs entirely. John Gibson, in his first season as a full-time starting goaltender, was very good and when he was injured towards the end of the season, backup Jonathan Bernier was spectacular. In total, Anaheim had the third highest save percentage in the league during the regular season. Their elite defense was a big reason for their goaltending success and young members of the unit continued their development. Their goaltending ended up being one of reasons why they lost to Nashville in the Conference Finals, as Gibson got hurt and Bernier was unable to stop enough pucks to push the series to seven games. In his starts, Gibson appeared to have problems when outside the blue paint, even leaving his crease at times while the puck was in the defensive zone to retrieve his goalie stick. Another major reason the Ducks lost the series was due to the injuries the team dealt with in the playoffs to key players including Patrick Eaves, who scored 32 goals this season, and Rickard Rakell, who was the team’s fourth-highest scorer during the regular season. One of the differences between last season and this that I thought would happen was that the team regressed significantly as a puck possession team, from 52.7 CF% last season to 49.6 CF% this year. This is even noticeable on the individual level as players who would be thought of as strong on the puck had below 50% Corsi numbers. For example, Ryan Getzlaf was just below this threshold at 49.9%, Cam Fowler was at 49.7%, Sami Vatanen was at 48.9%, and Antoine Vermette had a CF% of 48.5. This became problematic when they into a team like Nashville which is a strong puck possession team.
- Before next season the Ducks don’t have a lot of personnel moves that they have to make, which is good considering they have very little cap space. I’m sure that the Ducks would really like to bring Patrick Eaves back but I think that he will price himself out of their budget. They do need to find a new backup goaltender since Jonathan Bernier is a free agent this offseason. Bernier was spectacular this season in his limited role and may get an opportunity to start next season or at least receive closer to a 50/50 split in playing time. I think a team like Vancouver, Calgary, the Islanders, Winnipeg, Edmonton, or Buffalo could have interest in Bernier. In his place, Anaheim could turn to someone like Peter Budaj, Steve Mason, or Brian Elliott. Whoever they sign, I’m certain that the team will want to have confidence in him as John Gibson hasn’t always been the most consistent goaltender and has experienced quite a bit of injuries so far in his playing career. A big question for the Ducks this offseason will be what they do in the Expansion Draft. As of right now, they are set to lose an important piece, such as Jakob Silfverberg or one of their key defensemen to Vegas unless someone gets moved or the team can offer Vegas assets to not touch one of their key players. The biggest issue is that defenseman Kevin Bieksa has a no movement clause in his contract, meaning he has to be protected and he is someone I am certain that they would leave exposed if possible. It looked for most of the season that either Cam Fowler was going to be traded during the season or they were going to move Silfverberg before the Expansion Draft. Now, however, after very good playoffs from both Fowler and Silfverberg, I am confident that the Ducks won’t want to lose either of these players. Instead, what I think will happen is that they will try moving Sami Vatanen’s contract before the Draft. Vatanen’s cap hit of $4.875 million would free up a lot of cap space which would give the team the freedom address other needs they have such as adding depth scoring to their lineup. Vatanen appears to be the defenseman most likely to be moved as Hampus Lindholm has proven himself to be extremely valuable to the team, Fowler has re-emerged as one of the best puck moving defensemen in the league, and I don’t think any teams would seriously consider acquiring Simon Despres at this point. Regardless of what they choose to do on the back end, they are going to need to capitalize on this window they have before Getzlaf, Kesler, and Perry all begin dropping off production-wise. Right now, they are still a very talented team that needs a little bit of help on the fringes of the roster but they should be a playoff team again next season.
*All stats and information came from hockey-reference.com, rosterresource.com, spotrac.com, NHL.com, hockeydb.com, capfriendly.com, tsn.ca, and eliteprospects.com*