In the world of sports, nothing is quite as special as the fans that cheer on their favorite teams. Without fans, professional leagues wouldn’t exist, and sports as a whole wouldn’t garner the money it does now. So, it’s only fair that we here at Ducks Nation take a look at the opinion of the fans, and what they think about the upcoming season.
Breaking the fourth wall for this article, I’ll start by mentioning that I’ve run an Anaheim Ducks fan page since about 2017, and I’ve gained many followers that are just spectacular. I always look forward to the discussions we have, and it gives me a great perspective into the mind of Ducks fans across the country, and occasionally even the world. I gave all of my followers a chance to share their opinions to be featured as thanks for my articles that they’ve read through, and now we’ll be taking a look first hand at some of the thoughts of Ducks fans, and how some have been changed by the media.
The Most Positive Responses
“41-32-9, 1st wc. I like what Manson had said in a recent interview, we’re overlooked” – Viper
“49-25-8. The youth [on the team] will carry this team along with players who had an off-year last year. Rakell, Getzlaf, Fowler to name a few, plus Gibson will remain consistent putting up ridiculous numbers and it will be interesting to see if we get a few games from newly acquired [skater] Trevor Zegras. Based off of the record I’ve provided, I see the Ducks finishing with 106 points [and] making the playoffs” – Roland
Viper’s prediction, in this case, might be a little more realistic, as the Ducks are growing younger year by year, so they’re bound to lose at least a few extra games by mistake. Plus, there’s no telling what injuries will occur, or what trades might hamper the locker room, so it’s much more up in the air than a guaranteed playoff push for the moment.
It’s a nice number to hope for, but perhaps over one-hundred points for a very young team might be too hard to accomplish. Still, we could use a lot of fans like my good friend Roland, people who bring joy to a growingly pessimistic fanbase. It just seems like John Gibson can’t carry a whole team on his back, it will really require everyone to be on their best game. Rickard Rakell, Ryan Getzlaf, and Cam Fowler are all capable of bouncing back, however, so it isn’t unrealistic to expect any of them to stand out this season. If they can work with Gibson to keep the team running smoothly, the Ducks could definitely take control of that first wild card spot.
The Least Postive Responses
“36-33-13 around 80 to 85 points, some injuries, and missing the playoffs.” – Christopher
“38-32-12. I feel like the Ducks will be in the process of rebuilding so I feel like they’re going to have to figure out which lines are [going to] work, which probably means the chemistry between the guys will be a little off.” – Evelyn
I heavily agree with Christopher in the fact that the team is prone to injuries, which is the biggest uncertainty for any possible playoff bid. The Ducks have great depth and the farm team to keep them in, but it’s still a matter of whether those farmhands are even ready enough to play in the NHL. It’s a tough league to break into, which means that the likelihood of success for those younger players directly affects the team if there are any injuries.
Evelyn, who is another good friend of mine, is also right in her thoughts. Besides the fear of injuries, the Ducks will have to work with a new coach that uses a different style, and they’ll have to do so with some rookies that still need to learn from the veterans on top of that. Head coach Dallas Eakins will have to tread pretty carefully when it comes to line combinations, as too many rookies can lead to rookie mistakes. However, considering that he was smart with the lines down in San Diego and worked well with the players, it’s not something I’m personally worried about.
My Own Response and How the Media Has Changed the Ducks
To close out, I wanted to share my own personal predictions and thoughts on the team, and come out of my shell for the amazing readers that have made my time here in Los Angeles Sports Nation feel really special. My prediction is that the Ducks will finish with a record of 40-31-11. They’ll finish with ninety-one points, just four points short of the third-place Vegas Golden Knights. Or maybe they won’t? Any prediction that I could have given wouldn’t be much more than random numbers influenced by a tragic season in 2018-2019, so let’s go back a little bit.
In previous seasons, I was even more pessimistic, mostly predicting around seventy point seasons. I realized something that made me finally change my tune entirely, though. Not only has the Pacific Division power balance changed with the downfall of the Kings and the Oilers and the rise of the Canucks and Coyotes, but the Ducks as a team, healthy or injured, are good enough to qualify for a minimum of at least eighty points every year. If the depth does well and the skaters play a solid game each night, the Ducks on paper will always be somewhere in the higher part of the league in terms of talent. Maybe not in the playoffs, but the Ducks are more than capable of getting to the hundred point mark.
Take a gander back at the 2017-2018 season. The Ducks had 14-1 odds to win the Stanley Cup at the start, the fourth-best odds in the NHL. Obviously, the miracle Golden Knights put the league on notice and took the Pacific Divison, but if the Knights hadn’t made their miracle run, the Ducks would have had one of their most dominant seasons in recent history, with plenty of points to win the Pacific. They didn’t run into their usual bad start and only faltered a few times in the season, so it would have been a good sign for things to come. The San Jose Sharks would have still beaten the Ducks in the playoffs due to the team falling apart despite still coming in second, but that still isn’t bad. Then, in the next season, the Ducks fell even further due to bad injuries and a toxic locker room with a defeated coach. Now that the Ducks have a decent coach and a mostly healthy team like in the 2017 offseason, who’s to say that a slip-up season by any of the top three Pacific Divison teams wouldn’t put the Ducks right back into contention?
It’s all about the media taking on narratives in their predictions that completely ignore the incredible veteran presence mixed in with a Vezina worthy goalie and a solid youth core to add on to a competitive team. A great example of the media ignoring important team aspects came in the 2017 offseason when the Oilers had the second-best odds to win the Cup at 10-1 just because of one great season back in the swing of things. They didn’t focus on the fact that Edmonton was another team prone to injury, as well as the fact that their depth wasn’t too deep, which lead to their disbelief when the Oilers really struggled that season. Even Oilers fans got incredibly excited and cocky, but they were left with nothing by the end.
The Oilers can’t just be judged off of Connor McDavid’s awe-inspiring talent, the team has to be completed to give him the help he needs to make the playoffs. The Oilers had one great season and they were predicted to win it all, but they didn’t even qualify for the playoffs. What does that say about the Ducks having one bad season and then being predicted as a middle ground team, which in turn is creating a much more pessimistic fanbase? A team can really falter or flourish in one year, things are never as clear-cut as they seem, even for the professionals that the fans trust the most.
If the Ducks have one bad season, they’re back to their old days of sliding through each season in the middle of the pack and missing the playoffs. It’s ridiculous the disrespect the Anaheim Ducks are shown. The three true question marks for the Ducks are all about how the players come out. Can Rakell and Getzlaf make spectacular comeback seasons, can the youth keep up with the rest of the league and play to the best of their abilities, and can the team stay healthy? If all of those happen, my prediction of ninety-one points will be idiotic, and I personally believe that the Ducks will be guaranteed a playoff spot.
On the spectrum of Ducks fans and their predictions, the ones I heard from are saying that the Ducks will either compete for the first wild card spot, or they’ll miss the playoffs and end up with about eighty points like last season. However, the Ducks might be a team that would be considered for a deep playoff run if not for generally negative predictions flooding media outlets due to one sorrowful season.
Wherever you fall in the predictions, there’s something to be said about giving this new and young Anaheim Ducks team a chance by allowing them to show what they can do on the ice before panicking or popping the champagne bottles.
Player Statistics: hockey-reference.com Featured Image: nhl.com, zimbio.com, and wbur.org