Pacific Preview: Anaheim Ducks nowhere near ending longest playoff drought in team history
Photo credit:© Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports
2 months ago
The Anaheim Ducks are coming off their worst season in team history — and they weren’t rewarded at the draft lottery.
With the National Hockey League regular season just around the corner, I’ll be taking a look at the Pacific Division rivals. How’d they do last season? What changes did they make in the summer? What’s the outlook for the upcoming season?
Let’s take a look at last year’s Pacific Division basement team.
Anaheim’s 2022-23 season:
Record: 23-47-12 (58 points)
Goals For: 209 (31st of 32)
Goals Against: 338 (32nd of 32)
The Ducks did not fare well last season. In fact, they were the worst team in the league, finishing with a 23-47-12 record. Despite being the worst team in hockey in 2022-23, Chicago won the Connor Bedard sweepstakes at the draft lottery, and Anaheim wound up with Leo Carlsson with the second pick overall.
One of the biggest reasons for their struggle was due to their inability to keep the puck out of the net, as they allowed 338 goals against, the highest mark in the league (just edging out Columbus’ 330 mark). Their goaltender, John Gibson, finished with a career-worst .899 save percentage, and an extremely high 3.99 goals against average.
The Ducks opted to fire head coach Dallas Eakins at the end of the season. The former coach of the Oilers lasted four seasons in Anaheim.
Notable Additions: Alex Killorn, Radko Gudas, Ilya Lyubushkin, Robert Hagg, Alex Stalock.
Notable Subtractions: Kevin Shattenkirk, Max Comtois, Michael Del Zotto, Anthony Stolarz.
The Ducks made a few veteran additions in free agency and didn’t lose anybody of note other than Kevin Shattenkirk and Max Comtois, who both left the team in free agency.
They signed left-winger Alex Killorn to a four-year contract worth $6.25 million annually The 34-year-old had a career-high year with Tampa in 2022-23, scoring 27 goals and 64 points. Anaheim also made a significant add on the back end, picking up former Florida defender Radko Gudas for an average annual value of $4,000,000 for the next three seasons. Like Killorn, this is a veteran addition, as Gudas turned 33 years old in June. They also have former Oiler Zack Kassian in camp on a professional tryout contract.
The team still has work left to do this off-season. They got Trevor Zegras to sign a three-year contract worth $5.75 million after he scored 49 goals and 139 points across three seasons on his entry-level deal but they haven’t yet come to terms with restricted free agent defenceman Jamie Drysdale. The sixth-overall pick from the 2020 draft had a great rookie season but was limited to just eight games in 2022-23.
Anaheim’s current outlook:
The Ducks have some exciting young players such as Mason McTavish, Trevor Zegras, and Jamie Drysdale but they aren’t close to being competitive. They’ll very likely see the longest playoff drought in team history extend this spring to six years.
Anaheim has two forwards, Adam Henrique and Jakob Silfverberg, who are set to become unrestricted free agents at the end of the season. Those two will likely be moved ahead of the trade deadline to contending teams for futures as the Ducks look forward to another high draft pick.
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