For the first time in six seasons, the Anaheim Ducks will not be going to the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Do you remember when the Anaheim Ducks were first in the Pacific Division this season? Those days seem like distant memories although they were only a few months ago. Ducks Nation was so excited when the win-loss record seemed to match the 2006-07 season perfectly. It may have been nothing more than a coincidence, but despite the fact that the team was playing horribly, the Anaheim Ducks seemed like they were giving something their fans to cheer for during the 25th anniversary.
It wasn’t long, however, before the Ducks fell back down to earth and the reality of their atrocity finally caught up to them. No longer was Ducks Nation cheering for wins, they were chanting for Randy Carlyle to be fired, and then rooting for a tank. The 25th anniversary was supposed to be a season the fans and players never forgot, and while may not be easy to forget this season for some of us, it’s for all the wrong reasons.
We waited idly by while Bob Murray twiddled his thumbs, blamed his players, and made trades that saw the departure of Andrew Cogliano, among others, and the return of Derek Grant. Finally, after months of waiting, hoping, and making penance to the hockey gods, Randy Carlyle was fired. It came two months too late, but let’s just let bygones be bygones, shall we?
Then, the shocker. Bob Murray put his job and reputation on the line to step behind the bench and take back control of his team, who was clearly lost. Despite the coaching change, the season was still too far gone for Murray to salvage it. Elimination from the playoffs was inevitable, but now it is official. However, there is good news in all of this.
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Finding the Good News in an Unfortunate Situation
Since Henry and Susan Samueli purchased the Anaheim Ducks, the team has only missed the playoffs three times. In the past six years, they haven’t missed the playoffs once, although they probably shouldn’t have gone last year. Nevertheless, they made a valiant last-minute run to the playoffs at the end of the season.
Ducks Nation has been spoiled with some pretty good hockey over the past decade. Still, the Anaheim Ducks have never been able to reclaim the Stanley Cup and bring it back to Orange County. It isn’t because they are a bad team, it is because they aren’t as good as the other teams who have been in the playoff race over the past few years.
Constantly putting themselves in that position has costed them greatly in the draft. Bob Murray has incredible insight when it comes to drafting late in the first round, but the Anaheim Ducks have not drafted a franchise changing player probably since they drafted the “twins”, Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry, back in 2003.
With a missed opportunity at the playoffs, the Anaheim Ducks will have the chance to draft relatively high this season. While the likelihood of the drafting in the top 3 is slim, they could still draft anywhere from 7th-10th. Jack Hughes or Kaapo Kakko may no longer be an option, but phenomenal players like Kirby Dach, Dylan Cozens, and Cole Caufield are within their grasp.
Trading Brandon Montour gave the Ducks a second first-round draft pick, allowing them to add possibly another blue-chip prospect to their team. Missing the playoffs also allows the team to bring in a new coach who understands the team and can catch them up with the times. If they would have made the playoffs under Carlyle’s regime, they would have missed out on Lord Stanley again, and a new coach and the chance at a top 10 pick in the 2019 draft would have flown out the window.
Missing the playoffs is never easy, nor is it fun. However, in just a few short weeks, we get to put this season behind us and press forward with the hope that the Anaheim Ducks will come back stronger and better than ever either next season or the season after.
Let’s fill the comments with a little positivity. What has been your favorite moment from the 2018-19 season? Let us know by leaving a comment down below or finding us on Facebook and Twitter.