Even Strength: Top Pairings
Rickard Rakell – Ryan Getzlaf – Troy Terry
Hampus Lindholm – Jacob Larsson
Rationale: The Rakell-Getzlaf connection has been a strong one over the past few years. While he is toolsy, Rakell has shown he’s far better when he has a creative player on his line, whereas Getzlaf is not much of a goal scorer in his own right. Getzlaf is, however, an elite passer of the puck.
The veteran duo can provide coverage for Terry in his first full season in the NHL, and take most of the attention while on the ice. This would hopefully provide Terry with a little extra time and space to play the role of the secondary passing player on this unit, or the rover’s role. To my mind, that would allow him to use his best assets (passing and skating) to the best effect.
Lindholm is the Ducks strongest defenceman, and given this unit will likely see the strongest competition as the Rakell-Getzlaf is the Ducks only credible scoring threat, he is a valued member of this unit. Larsson is able to play on his off-side which may allow his transition into a full-time NHL defenceman to be a little easier for the reasons mentioned above. He should be able to play a similar game to that of Brandon Montour last season, who often played the outlet option after Lindholm had broken up the opposition foray into their zone.
Rationale: The Ritchie-Henrique-Kase line has worked well in the past, and should continue to into the near future. However, none of the forwards is a high-end passer, although Henrique and Kase are both very good in their own right. The fulcrum of the offense is then run through Fowler who is one of the better passers and skaters on the team.
For the talk of position-less hockey earlier, Fowler may be one of the players who epitomizes this most. He should easily be able to play that rovers role to the greatest extent of any of the Anaheim Ducks defencemen, which would help to solidify the weak point of this unit. It also bears mentioning that Fowler has traditionally be rated extremely highly amongst his peers, for his neutral zone play.
That is to say that he is very likely to be able to spring Kase for breakaway attempts, which was one of the ways Kase has generated a lot of his offense in his career to date. Holzer performed relatively well with Fowler in a limited role last season and would give them a right-left combination on this pairing, which is a different look to the one above.