The Oilers will play their second-last home game of the season tonight at home against the Anaheim Ducks. Here are your game day notes.
1. The Ducks are set to miss the playoffs for the first time since the 2011-12 season. Midway through that season, the Ducks fired Randy Carlyle for the first time and hired Bruce Boudreau. They would go on to win the Pacific Division five years in a row and make the playoffs six years in a row.
2. The Ducks will also have their highest selection in the draft since 2012 this spring. Anaheim currently sites seventh-last in the league. They had the sixth overall pick in 2012 and chose Hampus Lindholm, who is currently the team’s best defenceman. The Oilers, of course, made their third-straight first-overall pick that year, taking Nail Yakupov.
3. What went so wrong for the Ducks this year? Usually, you don’t like to blame injuries, but that’s what derailed Anaheim’s season this year. Only one player on the team, Adam Henrique, has played in all 78 of the team’s games this year, while key players like Cam Fowler, Rickard Rakell, Ryan Kesler, and Corey Perry have missed significant time due to injury.
4. With their abundance of injuries, the Ducks have been the league’s worst offensive team. They rank dead last in the league with just 185 goals for and their leading scorer has just 47 points. Despite trading him months ago, Pontus Aberg is still tied for sixth on the Ducks with 11 goals.
5. The Oilers are actually shockingly similar to the Ducks when it comes to poor offensive depth. While the Oilers obviously have players with way more points at the top of their lineup (McDavid and Draisaitl have already eclipsed the 100-point plateau), Drake Caggiula, who was dealt in January, is still seventh on the team in goals. The Oilers haven’t dealt with the injuries the Ducks have, they just haven’t had their depth scorers come through at all.
6. When Bob Nicholson said that the Oilers missed the playoffs because Tobias Rieder didn’t score as many goals as the team expected, he must’ve forgotten about Caggiula and Ryan Strome. The two players who were dealt midway through the season have combined for 19 goals this year. On top of that, no traded player has scored more goals with their new team this year than Ryan Strome has with the New York Rangers.
7. There’s no doubt Rieder is having a terrible season offensively. He’s played 63 games and hasn’t scored a goal yet. A couple of years ago, Riley Sheahan of the Detroit Red Wings flirted with a goalless season. Sheahan went 79 games that year without scoring a goal. He registered 106 shots on net over that span and couldn’t manage to get one past a goalie until the final game of the season. He would score two goals on the final game of the season to save himself from infamy with a goalless season.
8. Another player who has completely lost their offence this year that nobody really talks about is Ryan Kesler. While he’s still effective because of his defensive game and ability to get under his opponents’ skin, Kesler only managed five goals and eight points in 60 games this year. He’s been shut down due to injury and it’s difficult to imagine at the age of 34 if he’ll ever be the same player again. He has 13 goals in just over 100 games over the last two seasons.
9. The Ducks are in an ugly cap situation moving forward. The aforementioned Kesler is signed for three more seasons with a $6,875,000 cap hit and Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry make over $16 million combined for the next two seasons.
10. It’s hard to say if the Ducks have ever really gone through a rebuild but that’s what the franchise probably needs. They came into the league in 1993-94, toiled around in post-expansion mediocrity for a few years, had their Cinderella run to the Cup Final in 2003, and then won it all in 2007. Since then, they’ve been in the Getzlaf/Perry era. Since their post-expansion days, the Ducks haven’t gone through an extended period of not being a playoff contender. The last time they missed the playoffs in back-to-back seasons came between 1999-2001.
11. You can vote for Rich Valley to help upgrade their arena for Kraft Hockeyville here.
From peewee to the pros, Albertans loves the atmosphere, energy, and life lessons that take place at rinks across the province. And where there’s an arena, you’ll find an ATB branch nearby—with our team members cheering and fundraising along with you. See more information at ATB.com.
Source: NHL, Official Game Page, 3/30/2019 – 8:00 am MT