Anaheim Ducks Require a Change in Team Culture and Identity

Anaheim Ducks head coach Dallas Eakins Mandatory Credit: Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports
Anaheim Ducks head coach Dallas Eakins Mandatory Credit: Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports /
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Anaheim Ducks
Adam Henrique #14 (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images) /

Altering the Culture and Advertising It

Conversely, to stories about the Anaheim Ducks rehabilitating injuries, we have multiple stories such as Jakob Silfverberg playing through a hip complaint for multiple years. Ryan Kesler was another. That isn’t to say that there was anything untoward about them playing at any point in time, nor that they absolutely should have had surgery beforehand.

It’s an appeal to authority, however, we can only trust the highly qualified people on the ground. Nonetheless, it’s not a good look when so many Anaheim Ducks are succumbing to long-term injury complaints.

That isn’t, however, an attack on oft-injured players, nor the staff on some of those players. The strongest predictor of future injury is previous injury. Thus, for guys like John Gibson, who has suffered multiple soft tissue injuries over his career, there is only so much the training staff can do.

The odds are that eventually he’ll get injured again. This is also true for those who have suffered multiple concussions. Ondrej Kase is a prime example of this.

Yet, despite not throwing shade, the Anaheim Ducks also haven’t shown themselves to be a franchise that looks after their players’ health and extends their careers. Outside the scope of health, the Ducks have shown they’ll discard veteran players in an instant should they not perform to expectations.

Adam Henrique was dropped after but a handful of games this season. Franchise legend, Corey Perry, was bought out one season after scoring 49-points in 71-games (~57 point pace). The Ducks aren’t showing themselves to be a leader in player health and they’ve shown they’ll turn on their older players at the drop of a hat.

Should the Anaheim Ducks be actively pursuing a rebuild today, then being unable to attract marquee free agents and elite established players isn’t necessarily a concern for the short term. However, the probability is that one day, the Ducks will attempt to contend and they very may well want to recruit a star player.

Would Artemi Panarin have signed with the Ducks in the same way he signed with the Rangers? Jack Eichel may be on the move in the near future, however, would he choose the Ducks given his injury issues and public gripes with his current team surrounding them? Trust is earned and not given freely. Players all talk.

Given the above, I would argue that the Anaheim Ducks are creating an identity that is in stark contrast to that of successfully rebuilt teams such as the Nets and to an extent the Rangers. In this, I believe they need to alter their culture and advertise it.

Sean Marks, in his early days, was constantly talking with the media and would nearly always mention “culture.” He and the organization put the work in with the athletes they recruited and that was spread via word of mouth from player to player.

Eventually, they landed one of the best players in the world because that player believed in the team ethos and believed that the team could rehabilitate him. He brought his friends along for the ride.

Five hundred and sixty-one days after tearing his Achilles tendon, Kevin Durant stepped onto the court with his brand new team. He looked as though he hadn’t missed a day. Hell, Blake Griffin hadn’t dunked the basketball in two years with Detroit and slammed one-day first game back with the Nets. He now slams them down with regularity.

Imagine wanting to recruit Eichel and being able to point to players who your team has rehabilitated into credible threats once again after everyone thought they were washed. It’s a far easier sell than pointing to Jakob Silfverberg and saying he’s been playing through a painful hip complaint for two seasons.