We are exactly one month away from the start of the NHL season. The scheduling of your Fantasy Hockey drafts have begun. The DraftKit is on sale and it is time to start previewing the 2016-17 NHL season.
I will be previewing two teams every day and each preview will consist of: Projected Line Combinations, a breakdown of each team’s top Fantasy assets, a look at their goaltending situation and 2016-17 NHL Standings projection.
If you don’t want to wait for the previews, buy our 2016-17 DraftKit—which has previews for every team as well as projections for over 300 players and goalies. You will get rankings and projections on here over the next few weeks, but why wait, when you can get it all right now for just $4.95?
Let’s start the Anaheim Ducks.
|Jonathan Bernier – G – (from TOR)||Frederik Andersen – G – (to TOR)|
|Antoine Vermette – C – (from ARI)||Jamie McGinn – LW – (to ARI)|
|Mason Raymond – LW – (from CGY)||David Perron – LW – (to STL)|
|Nate Guenin – D – (from COL)||Anton Khudobin – G – (to BOS)|
|Jared Boll – RW – (from CBJ)||Chris Stewart – RW – (to MIN)|
In 2015-16 the Ducks made the playoffs for the fourth straight year, but were bounced in the first round for the second time in four years. This summer the Ducks’ front office fired Bruce Boudreau after four and half seasons as their head coach. They hired Randy Carlyle, who has been out of the NHL since he was fired from Toronto in 2014-15. Carlyle coached the Ducks from 2005-06 until he was replaced by the man he is now replacing, Boudreaux, midway through the 2011-12 season (the last time Anaheim missed the playoffs).
This wasn’t the biggest decision made this offseason though. After a few years of having Frederik Andersen as their No.1 netmider, they shipped him to Toronto and will hand the keys to 23-year-old John Gibson. The American-born netminder has been impressive through 62 career starts, going 37-21-4 with a .920 save percentage (SV%) and 2.22 goals against average (GAA). In the Andersen trade, the Ducks got Jonathan Bernier back and he will serve as Gibson’s backup this season. Becoming the Ducks’ full-time starter elevates Gibson into a low-end No.1/high-end No.2 fantasy option and makes for an excellent keeper option between the pipes. Despite the No.1 tag, don’t expect Gibson to start 65 games. Look for the Ducks to take it easy on the young netminder and have him start closer to 55 games. Bernier is one of the better backup options in the NHL and a great fantasy handcuff for Gibson, who has battled durability issues early in his career.
The Ducks look quite a bit different up front as well. They lost a number of wingers this summer and didn’t do much in terms of replacing them. Nick Ritchie might be a reason they didn’t sign a top-6 winger, as the 2014 No.10 pick is expected to crack the opening night roster. Anaheim has the look of a team that is going to be tough to score against, but won’t have the same fire power that we are used to seeing from them. Ryan Getzlaf is coming off of a tough season, but he and Corey Perry will be leaned on more than ever to shoulder the offensive burden. Their top-9 is loaded with speed and quality two-way forwards who have offensive upside, but it’s not the same lineup we’re used to seeing from Anaheim.
Their blueline remains strong. All six defensemen from last season are back and make up a nice group to target in fantasy circles. Sami Vatanen is the best offensive-defenseman of the group and should lead them in goals. Despite having a lot of fantasy upside, Vatanen has had a tough time staying healthy, but if he can right that ship in 2016-17, he could be a top-15 fantasy blueliner. Hampus Lindholm is arguably the Ducks’ best all-around defenseman, but sits behind Vatanen and Cam Fowler in terms of power-play usage which limits his fantasy value. However, he is still a low-end No3/high-end No.4 fantasy defenseman, who had double-digit goals a season ago. The aforementioned Fowler is a talented offensive defenseman, but his fantasy output has been pedestrian over the last few seasons.
Overall, the 2016-17 version of the Anaheim Ducks looks like it might the worst version we’ve seen in five years and could be in danger of missing the postseason. They desperately need Getzlaf to bounce-back, but even if he does, they might not be deep enough to compete in an improving Pacific Division.
Ducks in the DFO Top 275:
- 29. Ryan Getzlaf – C
- 37. Corey Perry – RW
- 75. John Gibson – G
- 111. Sami Vatanen – D
- 181. Hampus Lindholm – D
- 185. Ryan Kesler – C
- 206. Jakob Silfverberg – RW
- 219. Cam Fowler – D
- 250. Rickard Rakell – C
2016-17 Season Projection:
The Ducks struggle to find enough offence this season and end up finishing fifth in the Pacific Division and 10th overall in the Western Conference.
- Anaheim Ducks