We asked you to submit your questions about the Anaheim Ducks, and our resident coach answered.
Pucks of a Feather’s resident coach is back with another edition of “Coaches Corner.” We asked you to submit your questions, and he was more than willing to answer. From players who will step up in 2019-20 to what he would do if he were the coach of the Anaheim Ducks, he answered honestly. We would like to thank everyone who submitted questions and we’d love to know how you’d answer!
Who is your favorite candidate for the head coach position?
**Disclaimer: this was written prior to the Dallas Eakins news announced today.
Based on the current news, my favorite candidate is Scott Sandelin, who currently coaches the back to back defending champion, the Minnesota-Duluth Bulldogs. Now, he did sign a 4-year extension to continue coaching, however, he did take an interview with Bob Murray even after that extension.
So, clearly, he’s looking at all his options and willing to take any new opportunities. Now, as I stated before, he is coaching the Bulldogs who have won two titles under him so we know that he knows how to win. That’s a huge plus in its own right. Another plus that many aren’t talking about is the fact that he did also play in the NHL as a defenseman for the Montreal Canadiens, Philadelphia Flyers, and Minnesota North Stars. So he has experience on that side of the bench, which is huge.
If he could get mere college students to go and win back to back championships, imagine what he could do with the likes of Troy Terry, Max Jones, Rickard Rakell, Ondrej Kase, etc. all of which are young players as well.
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Do you think Ryan Getzlaf’s position as captain is in jeopardy after the way this past season went down?
No, I don’t think so. Every captain has a least one bad season where their team misses the playoffs. Nobody’s perfect. Look across the league; Johnathan Toews’ Blackhawks missed the playoffs for the second year in a row, Anze Kopitar‘s Kings haven’t made the playoffs consistently, and when they did they were immediately swept by the Golden Knights.
Ryan Suter‘s Minnesota Wild missed the playoffs after our old coach Bruce Boudreau said they would make it and they usually make the playoffs. Like the Anaheim Ducks, those 3 teams are usually in the playoffs and now they are also experiencing a down year.
Also, this isn’t the first time a Ryan Getzlaf-led Ducks team has missed the playoffs, if you look back to the 2011-12 season the Ducks also missed the playoffs that season. So the Ducks not making the playoffs once in a blue moon isn’t the end of the world.
From a coach’s perspective, what should the Anaheim Ducks top priority going into the 2019 Draft?
The Ducks should look to primarily drafting offense, and then defense. They’ve spent the last few year years drafting a fantastic defense. Although, we have lost some of that defense over the past two seasons. We still have a pretty solid blue line for the most part.
I would like to see them use the 9th spot to draft another really good Center. So with that in mind, I’d like to see either Kirby Dach, Cole Caufield, or Trevor Zegras get called. Now, obviously, they wouldn’t play with the big club right away. But, developing a strong center depth is always good.
Which three players will have the biggest impact in 2019-20?
I’m expecting a bounce-back year from Rickard Rakell. We all know he can be better than what he was last season and he will be. I’m looking for him to hit the 25-30 goal plateau this season and finish with around 50-60 points. Hopefully, the injury bug finally kicks rocks this season because it’s hard to put up points when you don’t have consistent line-mates.
Cam Fowler is another player that should step up huge this season in more ways than one. Ryan Kesler and Corey Perry likely won’t be wearing Ducks jerseys and donning the “A” next season. I believe that we should see him wear the “A” on a more permanent basis. Offensively, I’d like to see more from him. This was his 2nd lowest points total for the regular season. He’s put up as high as 39 points in the past. I don’t think he’ll match that this season but I’d like to see him in the 25-30 point area for the season.
Adam Henrique is another player I expect to rise up next season. With Kesler being out of the lineup, seemingly for good, Henrique will likely become the #2 center for the team. This means he will have more responsibility to carry going forward. Combine that with the fact that he did just sign a fresh 5-year extension contract last season.
It’s time for him to prove his worth by having a big year. For someone like him, a big year is going anyway from 40-60 points and scoring 20 goals along the way. Last season he put up 42 points so look for him to try and remain consistent with his scoring. Like Fowler, he may also don the “A” more frequently with Perry and Kesler out of the lineup.
If you were hired as the Anaheim Ducks coach, what are the first three changes you would implement?
The number one change I would implement is a faster game. Gone are the days where teams have to play a big heavy game to win. A lot of teams in the league are getting faster and it’s time for Anaheim to do the same.
Case in point, look at the Penguins. They went for back to back championships because they played the speed game when bolstered their roster to be able to combat Washington’s Tom Wilson they lost. Going forward I would like to see less heavy hitting which results in penalties (looking at you Nick Ritchie) and more speedy play.
The second change I want to see is better team play and better defensive efforts. There were countless times when the team mailed in their performance and left the game for John Gibson to win it all on his own. Nobody should consistently have to make 40-50 saves a game. There’s no reason Gibson shouldn’t have to face more than 25-30 shots a night.
Thirdly I’d like to call up and use our AHL players who have proven themselves to be NHL ready. There’s no reason to bring in guys like Micheal Del Zotto and Luke Schenn on defense when there is so much you can do with the youth.
My main reason for this is that we have these guys that are running show in the AHL so why not give them look before spending money on a player we clearly don’t need. Now sure, we won’t necessarily win a lot of games with them right away (we barely won any with MDZ or Schenn before we traded them) but still we could at least develop them some more.
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