In 2018-19, the Anaheim Ducks missed the playoffs for the first time in seven years.
This is likely the start of a rebuild for the 2007 Stanley Cup Champions. Corey Perry was bought out this offseason, leaving only Ryan Getzlaf as the only holdout from that Championship roster.
Even if this is truly the start of a rebuild in Anaheim, the Ducks already have a decent head start after building up a quality stable of prospects over the years. As many as four of their top prospects are projected to graduate to the NHL this season.
- 1. Sam Steel (No.30 overall in 2016) — Steel split his 2019 season between the AHL and NHL, scoring 41 points (20G / 21A) in 53 games in San Diego and adding 11 points (6G / 5A) in 22 games with the Ducks. Steel seems destined to start 2020 as the Ducks third-line center with Ryan Kesler undergoing hip surgery that may end his career.
- 2. Troy Terry (No.148 overall in 2015) — Like Steel, Terry also spent some time in Anaheim last season. The 21-year-old had 13 points (4G / 9A) in 32 NHL games and was a point-per-game player with San Diego—41 points (16G / 25A) in 41 games. With Ondrej Kase and Jakob Silfverberg ahead of him on the RW depth chart, Terry will likely battle with Daniel Sprong for the third-line role.
- 3. Maxime Comtois (No. 50 overall in 2017) — Comtois opened the 2019 season with the Ducks, posting seven points (2G / 5A) in 10 games before being sent back to the QMJHL. He had 48 points (31G / 17A) in 25 games with Drummondville and had a terrific showing at the U20 World Juniors. With very few left-wing options outside of Rickard Rakell, Comtois is a serious threat to start the year on the second line next to Adam Henrique.
- 4. Max Jones (No.24 overall in 2016) — Jones is probably the fourth most likely forward to make the opening night roster but did appear in 30 games with the Ducks last season—posting just five points. Jones is a big body (6-foot-3, 220 lbs.) who can put up points and play physically, which makes him a perfect third-line left-winger.
- 5. Brendan Guhle (No.51 overall in 2015) — Guhle was acquired from the Sabres last year as a part of the Brandon Montour trade and appeared in six games down the stretch with the Ducks. Guhle has good size (6-foot-2, 196 lbs.) to go along with tremendous mobility. He projects to be a top-4, puck-moving defenseman but will likely open 2020 on the Ducks third-pairing.
While several young forwards are coming up through the system, veterans like Getzlaf, Rakell, Henrique, and Silfverberg remain and are the top fantasy forwards on the team.
- – Getzlaf has not scored over 20 goals since 2015 but has averaged 48 assists per season since then. With the quality of the team crumbling around him, Getzlaf’s assist totals have dropped in each of the last three years and he is now more of a bottom of the roster center.
- – Henrique has been consistent, albeit unspectacular over his career, posting six straight seasons of at least 42 points, but never topping 50 points.
- – Silfverberg is in the same spot as Henrique, posting five straight seasons of 39 points but never more than 49 points. He is a 20-20 winger with minimal power-play production and limited upside.
- – Rakell is the Ducks best fantasy forward option but was limited by injury in 2019. When healthy, he has 30-30 upside but he has missed a total of 50 games over his five-year career.
- – Kase is probably the most intriguing option on the entire team. He was a popular breakout candidate last season but missed 52 games due to injury. Kase’s 30-game sample extrapolates to 30 goals and 25 assists (55 points) over 82-games. He is an analytics darling—56.6 CF% and +10.2 CF% rel, and his shot volume makes him a candidate for 250-plus shots this season. Injury derailed last year’s breakout and it’s the only thing that can stop this year’s as well.
The Ducks have been a factory of developing defensemen over the years and their blueline remains a strength of their’s heading into 2020. Hampus Lindholm, Josh Manson, Cam Fowler, and Michael Del Zotto are their veterans and Jacob Larsson and Guhle will likely round out the group this fall.
- – After Montour was traded to Buffalo, Fowler led Ducks defensemen in TOI/gm (22:45) and PP TOI (2:19/gm) while picking up 11 points (2G / 9A) in the last 20 games of the season. That doubled his production from his first 39 games and gives Fowler some breakout potential heading into 2020. Injuries are the biggest issue for Fowler and his potential fantasy investors.
- – Lindholm holds a little value in banger leagues but doesn’t provide too much offensively. Even after the Montour trade, Lindholm didn’t get a boost in PP TOI and his fantasy upside will continue to be limited by his lack of power-play time.
- – Manson is only viable in bangers leagues. Manson has had at least 180 hits in each of the last three years but doesn’t do much offensively—outside of his 37 points in 2018. He is seventh among defensemen in hits (591) over the last three years, but Rasmus Ristolainen is the only one with more hits and more points than Manson.
- – Guhle will go undrafted but is a player with monitoring as the season goes along. He could play a top-4 role and will almost certainly see PP2 time, which could give him bottom of the roster value by mid-season.
- – John Gibson struggled with injuries early in his career but has averaged 55 starts over the last three seasons. During that time, Gibson is tied for second in SV% (.922), tied for seventh in shutouts (12), ninth in GAA (2.50) and tied for 13th in wins (82). Gibson is arguably one of the best goalies in the NHL but that likely won’t translate into fantasy. The Ducks aren’t going to be very good, and that will limit Gibson’s win total. Even if he doesn’t win 30 games, Gibson should produce solid peripherals, which makes him a good No.2 fantasy option.
- – Ryan Miller’s second season in Anaheim wasn’t nearly as good as his first. However, he remains one of the better backups in the league but the Ducks aren’t good enough for him to be drafted as a handcuff.
Projected Scoring Leaders
|R. Rakell (29)||R. Getzlaf (46)||R. Getzlaf (59)||R. Rakell (7)||R. Getzlaf (16)|
|O. Kase (29)||R. Rakell (26)||R. Rakell (55)||O. Kase (6)||R. Rakell (15)|
|J. Silfverberg (21)||J. Silfverberg (23)||O. Kase (51)||A. Henrique (6)||A. Henrique (12)|
Ducks in the DFO Top 300
- 104 — Rickard Rakell (C/LW)
- 108 — John Gibson (G)
- 165 — Ryan Getzlaf (C)
- 170 — Ondrej Kase (RW)
- 223 — Jakob Silfverberg (LW/RW)
- 251 — Adam Henrique (C)
- 273 — Cam Fowler (D)
- 300 — Maxime Comtois (LW)
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The Ducks ranked dead last in the NHL in goal-scoring last season and will likely struggle in that department again this season. They are trending in the right direction thanks to their stable of prospects, but the Pacific Division is loaded with talent and the Ducks are going to struggle to a .500 record in 2020.