Rebuilding the Anaheim Ducks from Home-Grown Parts

Sam Steel #34 of the Anaheim Ducks breaks out with Troy Terry #61 (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
Sam Steel #34 of the Anaheim Ducks breaks out with Troy Terry #61 (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images) /
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Anaheim Ducks
Adam Henrique #14 of the Anaheim Ducks (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images) /

Forward Planning

At 29-years-old, the Anaheim Ducks should begin forward planning for the day they are no longer the quality hockey players they are now. Yet, the Ducks may still have 4 years or so left of them commanding top-4 roles, so there’s no pressing need to make moves immediately to shore up the position.

Thus, with all of that said, while increasing the talent levels all over the ice should certainly be on the agenda for a team that ranked in the bottom 10 for goals-against and goals-for per game, it seems most likely that the forward group needs the most work moving forward.

It is also worth noting that the Seattle expansion draft will take place in June 2021. There are certain league requirements that will arise as part of that draft, and due to that, it is assured that the Ducks will lose at least one player if they don’t make a trade.

At present, it could be hypothesized that the Anaheim Ducks will protect seven forwards and three defensemen, as opposed to eight players of any position. John Gibson is very likely the goalie who will be protected, though the Ducks will still be required to sign a netminder prior to that date who will be expansion eligible, so to become compliant with the league mandate. While exactly who will be protected remains in doubt, and we can quibble it, for now, the Ducks have the following notable players who would be available to Seattle should they not be protected.

Forwards (9): Adam Henrique, Jakob Silfverberg, Rickard Rakell, Max Jones, Troy Terry, Sam Steel, Dan Heinen, Sonny Milano, Isac Lundestrom

Defencemen (5): Cam Fowler, Hampus Lindholm, Josh Manson, Jacob Larsson, Brendan Guhle

Netminders (1): John Gibson

Players such as Josh Mahura, Christian Djoos, and Ryan Getzlaf, are currently signed but are not signed for the 2021-2022 season, which they are required to be to be eligible for expansion. In the case of Mahura and Djoos, it can be expected that they will be extended in due time, however, this would then mean that they will be exposed to the draft.

Getzlaf, as a UFA, can simply remain unsigned until after the expansion draft date and sign with the Ducks after that, thus meaning they would not have to use a protection spot for him. Players like Max Comtois, Benoit-Oliver Groulx, Brayden Tracey, and Trevor Zegras will not be available to Seattle, though they could play as early as next season for the Anaheim Ducks.

Thus, over the next season, hard decisions will need to be made on which players the Ducks would like to protect and how they might best fit into the team going forward. This would be true without the impending expansion draft, however, that they may lose a player without compensation should drive the fact-finding mission a little more strongly.

With a new group of young players, led by Zegras, soon to enter into the line-up consideration, the Ducks need to decide who will become surplus to needs. More to the point, which of these players can command roles in a cup-winning utopic dynasty?