NHL Team Preview: Anaheim Ducks
The Anaheim Ducks are one of the many teams this year that are looking to continue the rebuilding phase. The Ducks used to be contenders in the NHL playoffs every year and won a Stanley Cup back in 2007. But that is the past, and the Ducks are looking to the future as they start to rebuild. The Ducks finished with just 17 wins last year and only 43 points putting them firmly in last place in the West Division. They are improving slowly but surely, and fans can expect them to look a bit better this season.
This group is mixed with both newcomers and familiar faces. The most exciting and exciting for fans is that the Ducks could have nine players under the age of 24 years old seeing the ice on opening night. Anaheim hasn’t wholly torn down as they still have six players rostered that were on the team the last time the Ducks made the playoffs in 2016.
Captain Ryan Getzlaf is returning to the team after signing a one-year deal for 4.5 million. Having him return will be very beneficial for the continuity, and the leadership that he will provide will pay dividends. He is not the only returner, as I alluded to above. Hampus Lindholm, Adam Henrique, John Gibson, Jakub Silverberg, and Rickard Rakell will provide some leadership on this team.
It is great to have all of those players with the team, but with how the Ducks are operating right now, they could be moved this year. If Anaheim is starting to struggle, they will want to move their older players for some younger players to develop. Like any rebuilding team, you will need to make tough decisions that will benefit you in the long run rather than the short term.
The Ducks will struggle a bit this year, and it would not surprise me to see that they end up moving 2-3 of the guys I mentioned above. Two of the guys that I find most likely to be moved would be Hampus Lindholm and John Gibson. Moving Lindholm would make way for Jamie Drysdale to create his own path. Gibson is less likely to be moved, but he is a possibility as teams look for goal help down the road. The Ducks didn’t really lose anyone from last year that impacted their team.
Anaheim has developed a nice core over the past few seasons, highlighted by forwarding Trevor Zegras. Zegras is the face of the rebuild for the Ducks, and it is easy to see why that is. He should easily lead the race this year for the Calder Trophy, which is given to the NHL’s top young rookie. He has an extremely high potential and will be a mainstay in the lineup for years.
Two other young forwards that are intriguing are Max Comtois and Isac Lundestrom. The combination of these three players gives the Ducks something to be very excited about. Having these three players in the forward rotation should provide the Ducks a lot of talent to rotate in and out. This will be the core of the Ducks from now on, and how they play this year will provide a glimpse into the team’s future.
Online Sports Betting Odds
Unfortunately for Anaheim fans, Vegas does not have much faith in the Ducks. They are tied for the worst odds in the NHL to win the Stanley Cup at +20000 odds. They are tied for last place in the NHL with the Red Wings and the Sabres. A lot can change during the season, but it is unlikely that the Ducks will make that leap forward.
The over/under for the Ducks is set at 71.5 points this year, and it looks like that will become an easy take on the under. One of the most intriguing bets is for the Calder Trophy, which directly impacts this team.
Both of these players were mentioned above, and Zegras should be the clear leader in the clubhouse. Zegras has the second-best odds to win the Calder Trophy at +500, and Drysdale has a +2000 chance to win it. Smart money here goes on Zegras, but if you want some risk with upside, I love getting Drysdale at +2000.
* All odds provided by Action247 Sportsbook and all odds subject to change.
**All views expressed are my own. My picks are my own and are not a guarantee, bet at your own risk.