Anaheim Ducks: End of Season Grades for 2020-21 Defensemen

Cam Fowler #4 of the Anaheim Ducks (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)
Cam Fowler #4 of the Anaheim Ducks (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images) /
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Anaheim Ducks
Josh Manson #42 of the Anaheim Ducks (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images) /

Josh Manson

Raw Grade: C

Eakins Adjusted Bell-Curve Grade: C+

What can we say about Josh Manson? A one-time fan-favorite turned poster child for the “burn the crops, poison the wells, salt the earth and copy the Buffalo Sabres and half-heartedly trade everyone but never commit to anything rebuild style” crowd, Manson was a tale of two seasons.

For one, he was injured for most of the season. This threw the Ducks’ best-laid plans out the window. For this alone his grade should be incomplete. When he did play, however, he was a long-time partner for the rookie, Jamie Drysdale.

For the most part, Manson was the whipping boy and took the blame for pretty much every error his young partner made. In that sense, he fulfilled his duty by protecting the young player from the notoriously fickle fandom. On the other side of the coin, however, well, to be frank, Drysdale wasn’t very good. But more on that later. Nonetheless, as his partner, Manson takes a fair chunk of the blame.

Away from Drysdale is Manson’s “other season.” For the most part, he performed like an NHL player, or at least he showed a remarkable improvement when given an NHL-ready partner. With the crowd out of the stands, it was also a semi-regular occurrence to hear one of his big hits through the TV instead of the noise of the crowd. That physical play is why the Anaheim Ducks hierarchy loves him and why there’s a good chance he will be extended at the end of his current contract.

Taken together, I think the player should be given some grace for his injuries, a negative mark for not carrying a too-young-for-the-NHL rookie partner, and some positive marks for his play outside of that scenario. Of all the older players the Ducks will hold onto for too long, I suspect Manson will be one of the few who age relatively well. However, that is will be proven or not in the future. This season, well this season he scraps through with a pass.

Andy Welinski

Raw Grade: C

Eakins Adjusted Bell-Curve Grade: D+

I’m as surprised as you are that Andy Welinski is a Duck. I thought he was long gone, but apparently, he only went for a short holiday in… wherever Lehigh Valley is? No don’t look it up, it matters only as much as the team that’s based there. Not. At. All.

Anyway, Welinski managed to sneak into 9 games with the Anaheim Ducks this season, and to be honest wasn’t particularly noticeable. What is at least interesting is that Welinski saw the Ducks’ highest on-ice save percentage and has the highest PDO (108%) since Colby Robak small-sample-sized his way to a 113% PDO in 5-games, way back in the 2014-2015 season.

Either way, he wasn’t very good, and he wasn’t particularly bad by the 2021 Anaheim Ducks standard. Nine games of relative invisibility are probably as good a result as the AHL journeyman could have hoped for.