The offense was to be revamped, yet they sit 27 goals below last years total of 196. 27 Goals in 15 games, seems reasonable given that they’ve improved their scoring output by an extra goal every 9 games from last seasons pace. Their 2.6 goals per game pace since the trade deadline will get them over the line at this stage, and that’s certainly commendable given the team’s power play has declined by 2.7% overall. They’ve scored merely 2 in the 13 attempts they’ve had since the trade deadline (12.5%) despite the noise the commentary team has made about moving Ryan Getzlaf below the goal line.
Conversely, the defensive side of the equation has seen the Ducks fall off a cliff. John Gibson and Ryan Miller are both on track for their worst career seasons, and while there have been uncharacteristic moments from both, the team’s results can’t be completely laid at their feet. There is a case to be made that these two are among the Ducks best players this season. Certainly, there have been moments when the Ducks have been impaired by injuries. During the recent Chicago game, the Ducks had none of their top 4 defensemen on the ice. One still wonders if Erik Gudbranson should be counted in that list at the best of times, however. Yet that is not so different to the last two seasons. Nonetheless, goals allowed have gone up, though whether the penalty kill has gone down because of it, or vice versa, is anyone’s guess. Specifically, the Ducks seasonal average for goals against has trended downwards all season and if the 3.4 goals-against average since the trade deadline is anything to go by, they’ll exceed last years goals-against totals with games in hand.
Perhaps more pressing to Ducks fans, however, is that the prized youth they put so much stock into in the preseason have seemingly all been left to rot on the vine. In Max Comtois’ instance, him developing for a further season in the AHL seemed fait accompli before the season began. Comtois missing hurts on an emotional level, but not so much when rational thought is given to his circumstances. Some of the others, however, have struggled mightily.