The Veterans Cannot Carry the Load Forever
Currently, the Anaheim Ducks have several players sitting on sky-high shooting percentages. Carter Rowney, Adam Henrique, Jakob Silfverberg, all sit on shooting percentages above 20%. Max Comtois and Ryan Getzlaf are not far behind them. The next highest scoring players are all defencemen that are unlikely to maintain their shooting percentages above 10% given that, last season, only 7 players shot above that mark and played more than 5 games.
Certainly, Erik Gudbranson could have become an offensive juggernaut, and if you believe that, I have some excellent real estate that you may also be interested in purchasing. On the flip side of the coin, there certainly should be some give in Nick Ritchie’s, Rickard Rakell and Ondrej Kase’s shooting, yet that is still a small number of players improving to those falling away. In short, the Ducks need goal scorer’s in a bad way. So, what is to give?
Once again, the caveat is that it’s merely a 17-game sample. However, some would suggest that the new head coach Dallas Eakins was brought in to coach a group of young players he “knew” from his AHL days. That his calling card was the offense he would unleash. The concern that his coaching stint in Edmonton— one of the worst in the expansion era— was washed away under the premise that he was hungry, and that he’d learned a few things.
However, it is also true that the current group of youngsters doesn’t look particularly awe-inspiring. At least as potential scorers. Let’s disregard Max Comtois 5 points in 11 games for a moment, partially due to him being on a very streaky high shooting percentage, and partially due to his lack of contact with Eakins in the past.
He may be one of the few bright spots in scoring development that the Anaheim Ducks have. Although, it is worth noting that with a 106.4% PDO he is likely to regress some as the season continues. Nonetheless, he should remain outside of trade discussion. At least until the return is significant anyway.
The players who have had the most contact with Eakins, appear to be the ones most snake bitten. Troy Terry is scoring at a rate close enough to league average (~9.1%), yet Max Jones’s shot appears to hone in on the netminder’s chest logo, and Sam Steel hasn’t seen a puck he can’t bobble. However, this goes further back. Nick Ritchie entered the NHL looking lost and inept on the ice. He was out of shape of course, but more importantly, he looked as if he didn’t know where to go. Jacob Larsson initially played a few games in the NHL and looked like a stud. After being sent down for seasoning, it’s four seasons later and he doesn’t look like a shadow of that player he once may have been.
Instead, it’s been the player group who has had the least contact with Eakins in the past who have carried the load. As one might expect, the veteran players are leading the charge. This isn’t necessarily a major issue, as one expects the veteran players to outperform young players of middling skill. There is no shame in being a role player in the most difficult league in the world to play in. Yet, the Ducks youth weren’t advertised as role players, and more as potential stars. The future was bright.