After the NHL Draft, free agency and other offseason moves, NHL.com is examining where each team stands in preparation for the 2020-21 regular season, which is targeted to start Jan. 1. Today, the Anaheim Ducks:
The Anaheim Ducks hope the acquisition of a Stanley Cup champion can help them return to the postseason.
The Ducks, one of seven NHL teams that did not make the Stanley Cup Qualifiers last season, have made one significant move, agreeing to a three-year contract with Kevin Shattenkirk on Oct. 9, the first day of free agency. The defenseman won the Stanley Cup with the Tampa Bay Lightning last season.
“Getting the opportunity to have that experience last year with Tampa Bay only breeds confidence into you as a player when you get to go that far and win it,” Shattenkirk said. “It’s my job to bring that to Anaheim and let a lot of the guys there, who maybe are younger and haven’t had too much [Stanley Cup] Playoff experience, know that this team is fully capable of doing it.”
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The 31-year-old is Anaheim’s oldest defenseman. He joins the Ducks’ veteran leadership group with captain Ryan Getzlaf, 35, and forwards David Backes, 36; Adam Henrique, 30; and Jakob Silfverberg, 30.
“There’s some players who have been there, kind of the guys that I know who have been playing in the League for as long as I have, who are looked upon as kind of the big names on the team,” Shattenkirk said. “But then you have some younger players who it’s time for them to take the next step, and I feel in my mind just in playing against them … I feel that it’s a great group to be a part of and it was a group that I wanted to join and feel like I can bring some of that leadership to the locker room.”
Among those younger players are 23-year-old forward Troy Terry and 22-year-old forwards Max Jones and Sam Steel; each played at least 47 games with Anaheim last season, but none scored more than 22 points.
“I think you’re going to see improvement with some of our young guys,” Ducks general manager Bob Murray said, “and if we get improvement with some of the young guys, which it’s time for, and you get some more consistency from the middle-aged guys, I think we can be right there fighting for a playoff spot. There’s no reason we can’t be.”
Here is what the Ducks look like today:
Kevin Shattenkirk, D: He scored 34 points (eight goals, 26 assists) in 70 regular-season games with the Lightning last season and 13 points (three goals, 10 assists) in 25 postseason games to help them win the Cup. … Derek Grant, F: The 30-year-old agreed to a three-year contract Oct. 9. He scored 20 points (14 goals, six assists) in 49 games for Anaheim last season before being traded to the Philadelphia Flyers on Feb. 24.
Ryan Miller, G: Went 9-6-4 with a 3.10 goals-against average and .907 save percentage in 23 games (19 starts) as the backup to John Gibson last season. He’s won 387 games in 17 seasons, the most in NHL history by a goalie born in the United States. If Miller, an unrestricted free agent, chooses to continue his NHL career, it likely won’t be with Anaheim. … Erik Gudbranson, D: Was traded to the Ottawa Senators on Oct. 8 for a fifth-round pick in the 2021 NHL Draft. He scored nine points (four goals, five assists) in 44 games last season. … Michael Del Zotto, D: Scored 15 points (two goals, 13 assists) in 49 games last season. He is an unrestricted free agent.
On the cusp
Trevor Zegras, F: The 19-year-old center, the No. 9 pick in the 2019 NHL Draft, scored 36 points (11 goals, 25 assists) in 33 games for Boston University last season. He signed an entry-level contract March 27 and should compete for a roster spot. … Isac Lundestrom, F: The 20-year-old center had four assists in 15 games with Anaheim last season and has six assists in 30 NHL games. He will push for a roster spot after playing most of last season with San Diego of the American Hockey League (21 points in 43 games). … Jamie Drysdale, D: The No. 6 pick in the 2020 NHL Draft scored 47 points (nine goals, 38 assists) for Erie of the Ontario Hockey League last season. The 18-year-old likely will attend training camp but could play another season in the OHL.
What they still need
A backup goalie. Anthony Stolarz played one game for Anaheim and most of last season in the AHL. He’s signed through this season but likely will remain in the AHL with several goalies still available in free agency.
One of the most intriguing fantasy targets in keeper and dynasty leagues is Zegras. Though Getzlaf remains Anaheim’s No. 1 center for now, Zegras has a chance to make an immediate impact on the second or third line with potential exposure to bounce-back candidate Rickard Rakell, a two-time 30-goal scorer. Zegras could catch fantasy owners by surprise and become one of the five most valuable rookies this season. — Pete Jensen
Sonny Milano — Ryan Getzlaf — Danton Heinen
Rickard Rakell — Adam Henrique — Jakob Silfverberg
Max Jones — Trevor Zegras — Troy Terry
Derek Grant — Sam Steel — David Backes
Hampus Lindholm — Kevin Shattenkirk
Cam Fowler — Josh Manson
Jacob Larsson — Christian Djoos