A new season means an equal opportunity and a clean slate for every player on the Anaheim Ducks to step up and make positive changes on the ice. There are still many questions surrounding the identity of the team, but the players seem ready for the challenges they may have to face over the next several months.
We are still unsure of what the 2021-22 season will hold, but we are making predictions nonetheless. Our staff was challenged to answer six questions about the leaders of the upcoming season. As the season commences, we will get to see who’s predictions unfold and who’s don’t.
1. Who Will be the Anaheim Ducks Point Leader?
Brad Senecal: Rickard Rakell– This has a bit of an asterisk to it as well because I believe the team’s leading scorer will not be playing for the team at the season’s end. Bob Murray recently discussed how all the moves going forward will be focused on the team’s future, admitting publicly that the Ducks are in fact a rebuilding team moving forward. With that being said it now looks like we will see pieces shipped off during the season if the team struggles again.
I believe one of those pieces will be Rakell as he is on the final year of his contract. That being said most fans are familiar with the push that players tend to have on the final year of their contract. Finishing a deal with a $3.75m cap hit, Raks will be looking to get paid so I see him having a solid start of the year. Even if he is traded within the season, look for him to come out of the gates hot and still finish on top of the team in points while playing only a portion of the games.
TJ Watson: Ryan Getzlaf– Outside of VGK and EDM, I think ANA can be the next best team in the newly revamped Pacific division. If that is the case, Getzlaf has to lead the way. I think the Ducks go as he goes.
Chris Bushell: Rickard Rakell- I like Rakell a lot, he can be streaky and I think it’s obvious he can’t carry a line of his own. But, surround him with good offensive talent and he has the skill set to fill up the score sheet. Also, and maybe burying the lead, it’s a contract year for him and no matter the sport, athletes always find that next gear when money is on the line. He’s 28 and probably looking for his next big payday. Whether it’s in Anaheim is another discussion but I expect Rakell to return to form and could see 70-75pts.
Ciara Durant: Trevor Zegras– Assuming Trevor Zegras makes the team out of training camp, I think he is going to have an outstanding rookie season. We saw what he could do last year in a limited role in 24 games. While it wasn’t overwhelming, the more comfortable he got on the ice, the better his performance.
With the likelihood Dallas Eakins and the Anaheim Ducks allow him to take on more responsibility on the first or second line, this is Zegras’ chance to prove why we drafted him in the first place. Although I don’t think he will win, I think he’s going to make a pretty convincing argument to put him in the race for the Calder Cup. Lil Gouda can score goals, but if Eakins pairs him with someone who can also score, I believe the duo will be unstoppable with the “Wizard of Pass” leading the way.