After a great start, the Ducks find themselves at 7-6 as they wrap up the first quarter of the season. In the first half of their campaign, the Ducks looked strong, but are now 1-4 in their last 5.
It’s almost like they celebrated Halloween a little early and dressed as a good team to start the season – but are now showing their true colors. In honor of the spookiest holiday of them all.
Here are the Tricks and Treats of the 2019-20 season so far for the Anaheim Ducks.
Trick: Offensive Production
Outside of a few bursts, the Ducks have found it very difficult to put the puck in the back of the net. Of the Ducks’ 13 games played, they’ve only scored more than 4 goals twice. Granted, those games were against the Atlantic-leading Buffalo Sabres and the Central-leading Colorado Avalanche – but in a high-octane NHL, the Ducks need to figure out a way to make the offense look less painful against all of their opponents.
Treat: Jakob Silfverberg and Adam Henrique
While the rest of the team has their issues scoring goals, these two have been on fire. Henrique’s team-leading 7 goals and Silfverberg’s team-leading 9 points are lone bright spots on a roster full of middling offensive production. Silfy’s also tied for 3rd in the NHL with a +/- of +9, meaning if he’s out there – good things are happening for the Ducks. If only the Ducks had an elite, offensive force on their team to help take the pressure off these two and not have to rely on them to put the puck in the back of the net so much.
Trick: Pretty Much All the Defensemen
It has been rough sledding for the Ducks’ group of defensemen. Outside of Hampus Lindholm, these guys have struggled with injury and overall incompetence. New Duck Erik Gudbranson didn’t look great in his first game since coming over from Pittsburgh, as he and other newcomers Michael Del Zotto were bullied the other night by the Vegas Golden Knights’ young forwards. Josh Manson, who would normally be a top 4 defensemen for the Ducks, is out for an extended period of time – so what the Ducks have might be who they have to rely on going forward. That is, of course, unless the Ducks make another move. (That noise you hear is me laughing at the idea that the Ducks will make any sort of aggressive trade at any point during this season.)
Treat: Gibson and Miller
While his defensemen have made sure his stat lines have crumbled over the past few weeks, John Gibson is having an incredible season between the pipes. Despite the incompetence going on in front of him, Gibson’s posting a 2.52 GAA and .923 Save %. Those numbers are only at that point because Gibson has been playing lights out – making saves that lesser goalies would allow past. Ryan Miller has been great in relief – he’s currently 3-0 with a 2.10 GAA (good for 5th in the NHL) and a .929 Save % (8th in the NHL). Now, before you go saying Miller should start, he’s got a much smaller sample size, hence the larger percentages. All that said, the facts show that these two guys have saved the Ducks from more bad losses.
Trick: Nick Ritchie
Oof. I am not a fan of Ritchie whatsoever, and this season has been doing wonders for my Anti-Ritchie rhetoric. The First Line Forward in Name Only (FLFINO for short) has been dreadful, to say the least. One would imagine a top-10 pick in his 4th NHL season would be managing some sort of high-level production, right? Well, if you were talking about Nick Ritchie, you’d be dead wrong. He’s got one goal and 5 assists, with a +/- of -1. However, our guy Ritchie’s tied for second in the league in one stat, though – penalty minutes. Yeah, not great.
Treat: They’re Not Half Bad
Despite their weaknesses, the Ducks were supposed to be rebuilding, after all. This is a young team with a new head coach with 0 expectations. Ducks fans knew things would be rough, but the fact that the Ducks are currently 3rd in their division, over teams such as Calgary, Arizona, and San Jose, shows that this season has been pretty successful when you look at it in the macro. Yeah, they’re getting Gibson shellacked, and most of the young talent (Terry, Steel, Jones, et. al.) isn’t performing all that great, but not everyone’s Sidney Crosby or Connor McDavid. Eventually, these young players will come into their own, and, who knows? Maybe we’ll have another parade downtown sooner than we all thought.
A little patience and positivity might go a long way, so enjoy the sweetness of the Ducks without getting so upset about the black licorice or raisins.
Featured Image: Getty Images