The 2016-17 season marked the return of Randy Carlyle as the Ducks head coach and it was much more successful than his last year in Anaheim (2011-12) when he was fired after a 7-13-4 start.
The Ducks made the playoffs and won the division for the fifth consecutive season with a 46-23-13 record (105 points—6th in the NHL).
Entering the 2017-18 season, the Ducks are a very similar team to who they were last year. Their biggest offseason moves were extending their start defenceman Cam Fowler to an eight-year contract ($52.0M | $6.5M AAV), re-signing their deadline pick-up Patrick Eaves for three seasons ($9.45M | $3.15M AAV) and bringing in veteran netminder Ryan Miller to serve as John Gibson’s backup.
Despite being nearly the same team that made it to the Conference Finals last season, the Ducks will have a difficult time repeating as the Pacific Division Champions this year. Like their fellow Californian teams, the Ducks are aging while the rest of the Pacific is getting younger—mainly the Oilers, Flames and Coyotes.
In order to keep 25-year-old defenseman Josh Manson in a Ducks uniform this summer, Anaheim was forced to lose 22-year-old Shea Theodore and Clayton Stoner to the Vegas Golden Knights. Moving Theodore, shows how much the Ducks believe in Brandon Montour. The 23-year-old, former second round pick (No.55 overall in 2014) took many trips down the highway from San Diego (AHL) to Anaheim last season. Montour had 32 points (13G / 19A) in 36 AHL games and added six points in 27 regular season games and seven assists in 17 postseason games with Anaheim.
The door is officially wide open for Montour to play a full NHL slate and he is positioned as one of the biggest sleeper defensemen heading into the 2017-18 fantasy season. Anaheim recently brought back veteran defenseman Francois Beauchemin and he will battle for a job as the team’s No.6 blueliner.
Up front, the Ducks are led by a trio of 32-year-olds, Ryan Getzlaf, Corey Perry and Ryan Kesler. Getzlaf’s goal totals have taken a hit in recent years but he remains among the league leaders in assists each season. Perry’s goal total dropped to 19 last year thanks to a career-low 8.8 shooting percentage. He is a perennial 30-goal threat, so expect that number to at least rise back above 25 this year. Kesler is coming off of his best season as a Duck and both Rickard Rakell and Jakob Silfverberg are coming off of career-year’s of their own. If big winger Nick Ritchie can take the next step, the Ducks will possess one of the better top-9’s in the western conference.
Anaheim has a very strong 1-2 punch in net with Gibson and Miller. Bringing in Miller was a little extra added insurance because Gibson has had a difficult time staying healthy in his young career. Miller’s best years are obviously behind him, but he is almost a must-own as a handcuff for Gibson owners. When healthy, Gibson is one of the steadier netminders in the NHL and is a safe No.2 fantasy option with obvious No.1 upside if he can stay on the ice.
The Ducks’ domination of the Pacific Division will come to an end this season thanks to a kid named Connor McDavid. The Oilers are now the class of the field, but the Ducks are destined for their sixth consecutive playoff appearance—even in Carlyle’s system that consistently churns out poor Corsi numbers; the Ducks were 18th in the league in CorsiFor% last season (49.6%) – per hockey-reference.com
- Anaheim Ducks
- Arizona Coyotes
Fantasy Rankings (Top 350)
- Ryan Getzlaf – #40 (#12 C)
- Corey Perry – #61 (#10 RW)
- John Gibson – #91 (#16 G)
- Cam Fowler – #133 (#27 D)
- Ryan Kesler – $159 (#43 C)
- Rickard Rakell – #179 (#31 LW)
- Jakob Silfverberg – #217 (#41 RW)
- Brandon Montour – #222 (#51 D)
- Sami Vatanen – #225 (#52 D)
- Ryan Miller – #252 (#40 G)
- Hampus Lindholm – #274 (#68 D)