19 defensemen will make an appearance at training camp this year. Cam Fowler, Hampus Lindholm, and Josh Manson are already a lock for the 2019-20 season. From there, the blueline is one big question mark. Over the summer, the Ducks re-signed Korbinian Holzer and brought back Stanley Cup Champion, Michael Del Zotto. They also brought in Jani Hakanpaa, a big-bodied right-handed defenseman Bob Murray was intent on bringing over from Europe.
Nevertheless, despite the additions, there is no guarantee that the three of them will make it onto the roster this year. It is likely that one of them will more than likely take a permanent spot on the third pairing. Korbinian Holzer will likely act as the Ducks 7th defenseman, as he knows the team and does what he is told.
Brendan Guhle is the defenseman that has the most to gain going into training camp though. After he was acquired by the Anaheim Ducks after they traded Brandon Montour to the Buffalo Sabres, Guhle played on the left side alongside Cam Fowler. The two of them looked decent, but the sample size is so small due to an injury that saw Guhle sidelined for a majority of his season with the Ducks.
However, if he continues to impress as he did when he played with the team last season, Guhle could find himself playing on the second or third pairing come opening day against the Arizona Coyotes. It is likely that BG2 will be one of the three rookies Bob Murray mentioned would make the team this year.
Jacob Larsson also has a lot riding on this training camp. He is in a contract year and quite frankly, he still has to prove that he can make it at an NHL level. Larsson showed some chemistry with Manson last year, but other than that, he didn’t really start a fire on the blueline. Larsson didn’t really stand out at the rookie tournament either, and as one of the oldest players on the roster, he didn’t seem like he wanted to be there. He needs to prove himself at training camp because if he doesn’t snag a roster spot this year he will likely be reduced to an AHL player or shipped out next season when his contract expires.
Although I feel another season in the AHL would do Josh Mahura a lot of good, he is one of the only other rookie defensemen on the list that I think could handle the responsibility that comes with being in the NHL. Prospects such as Hunter Drew and Mathew Hill are still young and need a little more development at the junior level before they are considered for NHL duty. Although considered to be an AHL pickup, the Ducks could also take a look at Chris Wideman, but I foresee him spending a majority of the season with the Gulls unless he blows the socks off of Eakins and his staff during camp.