Entering the 2018-19 season, everyone was looking forward to seeing Josh Manson and Hampus Lindholm reunited on the blueline. Their chemistry during the 2017-18 season was undeniable and the two of them were the perfect candidates to lead the Anaheim Ducks defensive core. Fast forward to opening night, and Randy Carlyle decided it would be a wise idea to separate the two of them.
While his logic of pairing a defensively minded defenseman with an offensively minded defenseman wasn’t completely off, when it didn’t work out the way he had hoped, he should have gone back to the original pairings. Nevertheless, when Bob Murray took the reigns and the two were reunited, the damage from earlier in the season had already been done.
As a defensively minded defenseman, Manson is never going to be the kind of player who gets out on the ice and produces points like crazy. However, after coming off of his best season yet in 2017-18 with 30 points credited to his name, this past season left a lot to be desired. Of course, 16 points for Manson is still a pretty good point total, but it just proves that there are things he needs to work on as he prepares for 2019-20.
One of the Anaheim Ducks biggest issues last season was the lack of coverage for John Gibson. The blueline left him out to dry and came to expect Gibson to save them over and over again. Manson, as the Ducks defensively drive defenseman, should have led the charge and put himself between Gibson and the opposing team at all costs. His job is to create chaos for the other team in the defensive zone and this season, he seemed to play like he was half asleep. While this doesn’t just apply to Manson, he was trusted to be a leader this season and that is one area he was sub-par in.
Nevertheless, Josh Manson’s average time on ice this season skyrocketed from the previous season. He spent on average, 22:18 on the ice compared to his previous season average of 20:21. The coaching staff may have relied upon him a little too much, pushing him to his limits. A lot of Manson’s troubles are also linked to the performance of his team as a whole.
With a fresh start in 2019-20 and the prospect of Manson and Lindholm starting the season off together, we should see a new, and revitalized Josh Manson on the ice during the new season. A new coach is going to do wonders for a player like JM42. Don’t expect his point totals to get crazy, but you should expect to see a more responsible defenseman.