The Anaheim Ducks May Be Putting too Much Confidence in the “Kids”

NEWARK, NJ - JANUARY 19: Troy Terry #61 of the Anaheim Ducks is congratulated by Max Jones #49 after scoring his first NHL goal against the New Jersey Devils during the game at Prudential Center on January 19, 2019 in Newark, New Jersey. (Photo by Andy Marlin/NHLI via Getty Images)
NEWARK, NJ - JANUARY 19: Troy Terry #61 of the Anaheim Ducks is congratulated by Max Jones #49 after scoring his first NHL goal against the New Jersey Devils during the game at Prudential Center on January 19, 2019 in Newark, New Jersey. (Photo by Andy Marlin/NHLI via Getty Images) /

The Anaheim Ducks have been rather quiet during free agency, which begs the question, are they putting too much confidence in the kids?

Over the past few seasons, Free Agency has been the time of year Anaheim Ducks fans sit idly by as Bob Murray scrapes the bottom of the free agency barrel in hopes of finding a reclamation project. However, as the 2019-20 season slowly approaches, the Ducks haven’t made any significant changes to their roster outside of buying out Corey Perry‘s contract.

This opens up more opportunity for the younger players to make it into the NHL full-time next season. However, one thing the Anaheim Ducks are going into the 2019-20 season without is a player who is a proven natural goal scorer. Rickard Rakell and Ondrej Kase are two players currently on the roster who have that potential, especially if they stay healthy and consistent, but after last season, nothing is guaranteed.

This puts a lot of pressure on the Anaheim Ducks prospects who are vying for a full-time spot on the roster. At this point, it is almost a guarantee that Troy Terry, Sam Steel, and Brendan Guhle make the team out of development camp this year. However, although the Ducks are relatively heavy on the wing, there is still going to be room for the likes of either Daniel Sprong, Max Jones, Max Comtois, and Kiefer Sherwood.

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The Anaheim Ducks Cannot Repeat the Mistakes of Last Season

Last season, not one of the players on the Anaheim Ducks roster topped 50 points. They are the only team in the league last season who didn’t have at least one player top the 50 point mark, and if they want to make a comeback in 2019-20, that isn’t going to fly in a league that is evolving significantly with each passing season.

It is imperative that they design their roster in a way that encourages both team development and plays on the strengths of each player. Last year, the Anaheim Ducks attempted to go in that direction as they started the season off with an influx of their young prospects. However, at the hands of Randy Carlyle, they failed.

The confidence of Troy Terry, Sam Steel, and Isac Lundestrom was shaken from the moment they stepped onto the ice in 2018-19, and because of that, they were no longer considered valuable assets to the current roster. Max Comtois, Kiefer Sherwood, and Daniel Sprong both had a slightly better showing. Nevertheless, in hindsight, we know that all of these players could have done better.

When Bob Murray gave them a second chance after he took over behind the bench, we saw flashes of brilliance from Terry, Jones, and Steel. However, due to the state of the roster as a whole, none of them had the opportunity to showcase their true talents.

This is where Dallas Eakins relationship with his former AHL players comes in handy. He knows exactly how to play on their strengths and put them in a position that won’t overwhelm them or exploit their weaknesses. Nevertheless, this is no longer the AHL; the NHL is a different animal altogether.

These young players are going to be playing against other teams that have players far more experienced, physical, faster, and that can manipulate the circumstances on the ice to their advantage. If they aren’t careful, things like that can get to their head.

We saw last season how difficult it was for a player like Max Jones to get his first NHL goal under his belt. It wasn’t that the young forward wasn’t playing at the NHL level, because there were moments where his brilliance on the ice outshone everyone else. Nevertheless, the opposing team or goaltender used their experience to the benefit of their team, leaving poor Jones snake-bitten in the process.

The “Kids” Cannot Be Put in a Position Where They Have to Carry the Team

Eakins needs to be smart with his roster design during his first season as the head coach. It is imperative that he does not hang these kids out to dry. He cannot put the weight of the entire team on their shoulders like Randy Carlyle did with John Gibson last year.

After last season, these kids, as well as the rest of the team, need to rediscover their joy for the game. Putting too much confidence in them will cause complete and utter chaos on the ice and in the locker room and that is the last thing the organization needs.

They very well may be the answer to the Anaheim Ducks scoring issues going forward. However, there is also a chance that they may not be. We’ve seen them play under the pressure already, and we know they have what it takes, but it isn’t fair to these talented players to put them in a position that inhibits their development.

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Do you think the Anaheim Ducks are putting too much confidence in their kids to the point where they’re setting them up for failure? Let us know by leaving a comment in the comment section down below.