The Veteran Centers
Moving on, the Forward department is all over the place in terms of youth and veteran players. The Ducks have six centers on the team roster currently, and all except two of them are below the age of 30. Captain Ryan Getzlaf and Alternate Captain Ryan Kesler are both above 30, but considering that Kesler is set to miss the 2019-2020 season due to hip surgery, it’s Ryan Getzlaf, Adam Henrique, and Derek Grant representing the veterans.
This particular core of centers is really strong without separating the prospects from the veterans, but that’s not to say that they won’t have their struggles. Considering that Ryan Kesler is out, and Corey Perry was sent packing, the real teacher for the youth is down to just Getzlaf.
Still, with that fact, Getzlaf is a rock, and he’s put up 315 points in total for these last five seasons. If he stays healthy, he’s set to put up more great numbers for his age. Not to mention, he’s still the ever-loyal captain that will lead the prospects no matter what, so their development really hinges on Getzlaf and head coach Dallas Eakins.
Adam Henrique might make a case all his own to beat the prospects and their productivity with his talent level. Ever since Bob Murray traded for him back in 2018, he’s been a fan favorite for a reason. Last year, he played all 82 games and had 42 points, and his healthy return ensures that he’ll be producing again this season.
Derek Grant came back to Anaheim in 2019 after leaving for Pittsburgh, and although he wasn’t with Anaheim for more than 31 games, he still managed nine points for the team. His best season was in Anaheim back in 2017-2018, and Grant will be in for a homecoming season that might be his best yet.
The Prospects and Young Centers
The young Ducks centers are Chase De Leo, Devin Shore, Sam Steel, and Sam Carrick. Chase DeLeo is the wild card in this situation, as he could either flourish or get tripped up. An Orange County born player, De Leo will certainly fight hard to stay on his favorite childhood team. His stats in San Diego last year were amazing, with 55 points in 66 games played, so he’s proven that he can produce.
Devin Shore was acquired from the Dallas Stars in a trade during the latter half of last season, and through 34 games with Anaheim, he did a great job. He ended the season with 12 points in Anaheim. Although he didn’t have much time to show off his true potential, the 2019-2020 season will provide him with 82 games to do so.
Sam Steel was very impressive in his first 22 games with Anaheim, managing to net 11 points via 6 goals and 5 assists. Steel also had his first hat trick during a game against the Vancouver Canucks, so he’s showed his scoring prowess. He was only the second Ducks rookie to ever record a hat trick, with the other being Bobby Ryan.
Even when he went down to San Diego, he really impressed with 41 points in 53 games played, along with 13 points in 16 AHL playoff games. With his young legs and his blazing fast speed, Steel is a fantastic addition to this already strong Ducks center core, so expect to see him play most of the upcoming 82 games during the season.
Sam Carrick is in the same boat as Chase De Leo, and he’ll have to fight with some extra gusto if he wants to stay with the big club in Anaheim. Having only played six games with the Ducks and scoring only one point, he’ll need to be a better producer to keep up with his fellow prospects. Still, he’s played very well before for his age, and it’s more than likely that he can do so again.