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Draft Preview: Anaheim Ducks – Age-old adage

Age, injuries catch up to Ducks. It’s time to pass the torch.

It had to happen sooner or later. Age, and the speed of the game, caught up with the Ducks. It didn’t help that Anaheim was decimated by injuries – leading the league in man-games lost in 2018-19 – but the Ducks’ top players have been fading for a few seasons now. What remains to be seen is how smoothly the team can retool on the fly. A strip-down rebuild is out of the question because of the term remaining on three big contracts. A new coach with a new outlook will surely inject hope next season.

IMMEDIATE NEEDS: Anaheim’s production is the worst the league has seen in two seasons. Injuries and age have caught up to one-time difference-makers Corey Perry and Ryan Kesler. There isn’t any cap room to consider a scoring free agent, so the Ducks have no choice but to force-feed one or two prospects some time and opportunity in the top-six. There will be growing pains.

LONG-TERM NEEDS: Not long ago, Anaheim’s blueline depth was the envy of the NHL. But Sami Vatanen, Shea Theodore, Brandon Montour and Marcus Pettersson moved on and Kevin Bieksa and Francois Beauchemin aged out. The top three still looks decent, but the rest is unproven, and none of Anaheim’s top five prospects are defensemen.

CAP SITUATION: John Gibson, Jakob Silfverberg and Adam Henrique have new deals kicking in next season, eating up what tangible room is needed for instant roster improvement. That’s probably the case for the next two years (Perry at $8.6 million) or three (Kesler at $6.9 million).

IN THE SYSTEM 2019-20: The door is open for two or three young forwards to crack the starting 12 full-time. Troy Terry, Sam Steel, Isac Lundestrom, Maxime Comtois and Max Jones all had trial runs this season and are among the NHL’s top 100 prospects in Future Watch 2019.

DID YOU KNOW: The difference between Anaheim’s shots allowed (33.2) and shots for (27.7) is 5.5 shots on the bad side. That’s the worst in the 25-year history of the Ducks and second-worst to Ottawa this season.

(2000-2018 drafts)

Frederik Andersen, 87th, ’12
Sami Vatanen, 106th, ’09
P-A Parenteau, 264th, ’01
Josh Manson, 160th, ’11
Drew Miller, 186th, ’03
Matt Beleskey, 112th, ’06
Shane O’Brien, 250th, ’03
Martin Gerber, 232nd, ’01
Ondrej Kase, 205th, ’14
Chris Wagner, 122nd, ’10

100+ NHL GAMES: 13



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