Anaheim Ducks: Three Players Who Need to Step Up Their Game Against the Carolina Hurricanes

ANAHEIM, CA - DECEMBER 7: Nick Ritchie #37 of the Anaheim Ducks battles for position against Trevor van Riemsdyk #57 of the Carolina Hurricanes during the game on December 7, 2018 at Honda Center in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Debora Robinson/NHLI via Getty Images)
ANAHEIM, CA - DECEMBER 7: Nick Ritchie #37 of the Anaheim Ducks battles for position against Trevor van Riemsdyk #57 of the Carolina Hurricanes during the game on December 7, 2018 at Honda Center in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Debora Robinson/NHLI via Getty Images) /

The Anaheim Ducks enter their eighth game of the season with the spirit of determination in their eyes. Who needs to step up in order for the success to continue?

With seven games under their belt, the Anaheim Ducks are finally settling into a groove. Fueled by their relentless determination, the team has found a way to win and make it fun for the fans. A storm is blowing in from Raleigh, and the Hurricane sirens are about to go off. Carolina could prove to be their biggest challenge yet, but the Ducks have proven they aren’t afraid to step up to a challenge this season.

As a team, they must work on limiting penalties. That is their biggest obstacle and has, quite frankly, been holding them back from their full potential. The Hurricanes are also in the Top 10 for goals for so far this season. The defense and John Gibson need to be in perfect form.

It’s a small sample size, but the team is really starting to look better than they have in several seasons. Their early success has been a nice treat after the devastating 25th Anniversary season. However, as it is still early, there are a few players who really need to step up their game if they have any hopes of continuing to produce positive results.

Game 8: Anaheim Ducks vs Carolina Hurricanes (Tickets)

Season Record: 5-2-0

Location: Honda Center— Anaheim, California

Time: 7:00pm PST

TV: Prime Ticket

Radio: AM830

Injury Report: Ryan Kesler (LTIR), Brendan Guhle (LBI)

Anaheim Ducks News:

-The NHL has fined Nick Ritchie for roughing Buffalo Sabres forward, Vladimir Sobotka.

-Brendan Guhle was spotted practicing with the Ducks on Thursday. It is still undetermined whether he will be ready for tonight’s game.

Three Players Who Need to Step Up Their Game

Nick Ritchie: I’ve said it before, and I will say it again. Nick Ritchie is not a bad NHL player. However, his poor choices as of late have put him in the dog house with the fans, and more than likely, the organization. His production hasn’t been bad. Granted, 3 points in 6 games isn’t something to celebrate quite yet. Nevertheless, he’s on pace to have a 41 point season, 10 more points than last year, and his best season to date.

Still, there is no avoiding the elephant in the room. Ritchie has a lot of work to do if he wants to find himself in the good graces of the fans. While seeing a little more production from the young forward would be great, his biggest task will be to limit his penalties. It’s going to be a difficult task for a player who has spent what seems like a majority of his NHL career in the sin bin.

Nick Ritchie is likely going to have to be a player that Dallas Eakins works closely with this year. The franchise’s focus is transitioning into the youth movement, and many people forget that Ritchie is only 24-years-old. He may not be a “kid” anymore, but he’s still young and inexperienced. He’s never really had a coach who was invested in him as more than just a player, but as a person.

If Dallas Eakins can get to the root of Ritchie’s problems, it could be a reasonable assumption that we see a transformed player as the season progresses. As mentioned, Ritchie is going to have to work extremely hard, but in the end, if he can turn things around, it will be worth it.

Josh Manson: Josh Manson is a talented defenseman, especially when paired with Hampus Lindholm. Nevertheless, he’s been a little off so far this season. The Anaheim Ducks rely on him, and Lindholm, to play big minutes for the team, and there have been moments when he’s been unreliable. That’s not something you want to see from either of your top two defensemen.

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He’s been caught out of position, and let the other teams walk around him. What is concerning is that he’s had a hard time catching up with the opposing teams as well. Making rookie mistakes is not a recipe for success, and things that should come as second nature to him have caused major roadblocks for him and his team.

What has been nice, is his physical presence. However, there have been moments when his aggression has cost him. He leads the team in PIM along with Nick Ritchie, and he needs to find a balance so that it does not continue to cost his team.

Wearing the “A” this season is a big responsibility, and Manson is a great leader. There is no question there. Nevertheless, the rest of his team is looking to him to be an example. While Manson is not responsible for the rest of his team’s shortcomings, there are a lot of areas of his game he needs to work on.

Carter Rowney: Carter Rowney was a reliable fourth-line guy last season for the Anaheim Ducks. He wasn’t a game-changer, but he allowed the Ducks to roll out a reliable fourth line, especially near the end of the season. This year, however, he’s been pretty invisible. He’s played in all 7 games, and only tallied one assist.

His Corsi For percentage is one of the worst on the current roster, at 36%. The Ducks have had trouble controlling the puck when their fourth line is on the ice. With three other players competing for fourth-line minutes, Rowney really needs to step up his game if he wants to avoid being scratched. Devin Shore has spent several games on the sidelines, but he’s played significantly better up to this point. If things don’t change, Rowney could find himself on the outside looking in.

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