The Anaheim Ducks dominated in the Rookie Faceoff last year. Now they’re back to be the gracious hosts to five other teams, and their prospects are looking for a repeat performance from last year amidst three fearsome foes.
On July 29th, the Anaheim Ducks announced that their newest ice rink out in Irvine would be the host building for the second annual Rookie Faceoff. Like last year, the tournament will feature the Los Angeles Kings, San Jose Sharks, Colorado Avalanche, Arizona Coyotes, and the Las Vegas Golden Knights.
In the last tournament, the Ducks rookies thrashed their three opponents in the Kings, Avalanche, and Coyotes. Current Ducks head coach Dallas Eakins took control of the group of talented prospects, and they managed to sweep all three of their games. The Ducks outscored their opponents 21-9 in a commanding style of play that year.
This year, the Anaheim Ducks are looking to replicate their dominance against three improved teams. The full schedule is out, and the three opponents that Anaheim is going to take on this time around are Los Angeles, San Jose, and Las Vegas.
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The roster has not yet been released, but the Ducks are already looking like the favorites to take home bragging rights once again this year. Most of the young talent that is on this rookie squad were either part of the San Diego Gulls Calder Cup run last season, or part of the rookie camp held back in June. These players are incredibly hungry to show off what they’re capable of, all in hopes of a crack at the big club in Anaheim.
Looking at last year’s AHL Playoffs, two of the teams that the Ducks will face were part of their playoffs run last year. The Sharks and Golden Knights matchups will be the must-watch games of the tournament for Ducks fans.
The Sharks will be sending out some of the more talented prospects from the San Jose Barracuda, a team that the Gulls put away in four games last year in the Quarter Finals. The Golden Knights will also be sending some familiar faces from the Chicago Wolves, the team that bested the Gulls in six games in the Conference Finals.
In some ways, for many of these younger players, it’s a redemption tour for what the Wolves did to their Cinderella run last year, and the extra incentive they have to beat Las Vegas should factor into their matchup.
As for the Sharks, it’ll be a game of familiar faces and similar strategies, most of which will come from San Diego’s dominance last year of San Jose in the playoffs. In the case of the Kings, nothing went right for their team in last year’s tournament, so the Ducks are looking to do anything to capitalize on their rotten luck once more, even with their brilliant new prospects.
In closing, the 2019 Rookie Faceoff will be a difficult task for this Anaheim Ducks team, as they have to go up against two of the prospect pools that gave their AHL club a world of trouble in the playoffs, as well as a much-improved Kings team. Despite a tougher tournament for the Ducks, they’ll take it in stride and compete for what is hopefully another sweep. It’s an event that will give great insights into the future of the California teams, and what team will have the best future of them all.
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