The fantasy season is upon us. Another year of tears of joy and heartbreak.
To help you along, here’s your fantasy outlook for the Anaheim Ducks.
2022-23 Fantasy Outlook: Anaheim Ducks
Last season: 31-37-14, 76 points. 7th Pacific, 23rd overall. GF: 24th, GA: 23rd, PP: 14th, PK: 10th.
The Ducks made significant strides in improving their special teams and points percentage from .384 to .463 last year. But more significantly, the franchise said goodbye to long-time veterans Rickard Rakell, Hampus Lindholm and Josh Manson, GM Bob Murray and captain Ryan Getzlaf.
It’s time for a new chapter with the kids, led by Troy Terry’s 37 goals and Trevor Zegras’ 38 assists, both of which were the highest totals on the team since 2017-18. They helped improve their offense to 24th in the league with 232 goals and ranked 14th on the power play, one season after converting just 8.9 percent of their chances in 2020-21, the worst mark in NHL history.
Best fantasy option: Trevor Zegras, C
Terry may have led the team in scoring but there’s no question Zegras is the best option as their No. 1 pivot. His brilliant hands and vision aside, Getzlaf’s retirement means Zegras’s role as the primary playmaker will increase significantly. Though he didn’t play with Terry very often, Zegras and Terry will likely form their top scoring duo since the two wingers Zegras played with the most at even strength, Rakell and Sonny Milano, are no longer with the team. Big things are expected from the third-year pro even if he will be the focus of many opposition defenses.
According to naturalstattrick.com, Zegras’ Individual Point Percentage was 80 percent last season, a 30 percent improvement over his rookie season. Zegras’ IPP meant that for every goal the Ducks scored when Zegras was on the ice, he received a point 80 percent of the time. That’s better than league average and despite the small sample size of two NHL seasons, it suggests he’s an elite player playing a big role on his team.
Hidden gem: Mason McTavish, LW
Arguably their best prospect, McTavish is coming off an exceptional major junior career and captained Canada to gold at the most recent World Juniors. Drafted as a center but expected to play on the wing to start his NHL career, McTavish has the tools to be a scoring and physical threat. In his nine-game audition last season before returning to the OHL, McTavish scored two goals and three points and registered 12 shots, eight hits and six blocked shots, making him a potential banger league beast in the Brady Tkachuk mold. If Zegras is the next Getzlaf, then McTavish is quite possibly the next Corey Perry. McTavish’s spot with the big club is secured, barring a poor training camp.
For the third straight season, John Gibson was a subpar goalie and his days in Orange County look increasingly numbered. There isn’t the same competitive fire that we’re used to seeing, and for stretches, he was vastly outplayed by backup Anthony Stolarz, who could be a valuable fantasy asset during the season or when Gibson is shipped out. Over the past three seasons, only three other current NHL goalies have posted a worse 5v5 GSAA than Gibson: Martin Jones, Matt Murray and Joonas Korpisalo. Given the Ducks are unlikely to be competing for a playoff spot, Gibson’s only worth the occasional streaming start and nothing more unless he turns his play around.
Zegras and Terry will be the obvious gems, though some words of caution for Terry; his 19.3 S% last season seems like an outlier for someone who doesn’t shoot the puck all that often or particularly well. Jamie Drysdale, whom I picked as last season’s hidden gem, finished with 32 points in 82 games and will play a much bigger role this season even though there are two power-play quarterbacks with far more experience in John Klingberg and Kevin Shattenkirk, neither of whom are expected to stick around long term. A sneaky mid to late-round pick will be Ryan Strome, who’s coming off a 54-point season with the Rangers and was signed to be their No. 2 center.