Anaheim Ducks 2021 Season Preview
(Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)

The Anaheim Ducks have a bright future ahead of them. They’re definitely in the middle of a rebuild, which is fine. Everyone needs a rebuild eventually. Their offense? Bad. Their defense? Weak. Their powerplay? Well, it wasn’t good. They have a few younger players making their way up in the ranks and building more ice time. New blood is really what they need in SoCal. 

Key Additions: Kevin Shattenkirk (Tampa Bay Lightning) 

Shattenkirk was a free agent this offseason and left Tampa Bay. Having the cup run experience on a team like the Ducks who haven’t had any recent playoff runs will be a smart addition. He had a rough couple of seasons in Washington and in New York in the midst of lockouts and shortened seasons and he hasn’t quite recovered all the way. He’s on a three-year contract that will not only benefit the team but also Shattenkirk as a player. 

Forward Line Predictions: 
LWRW
Sonny Milano Ryan Getzlaf Danton Heinen 
Rickard Rakell Adam Henrique Jakib Silfverberg 
Max JonesTrevor ZegrasTroy Terry 
Derek Grant Sam Steel David Backes 
Defensive Pairing Predictions: 
Hampus Lindholm Kevin Shattenkirk 
Cam Fowler Josh Manson 
Jacob LarssonChristian Djoos 

Every successful team has The Guy or The Guys. Colorado has Nathan Mackinnon. Vancouver has Quinn Hughes and Elias Petterson. Chicago has Kane and Toews. The Stars have Tyler Seguin. The Ducks don’t have their Guy. They have players like Sam Steel and Trevor Zegras, though. Trevor Zegras just won gold at the World Junior Championships and that is the whole reason I wanted to do this preview. He won MVP of the gold medal game and was selected 9th overall in 2019 out of Boston College. There’s a lot of potential for him in Anaheim. 

Sam Steel made his NHL debut in the 2018-2019 season with the Ducks. He played 65 games and recorded 22 points. There’s a lot of room and potential for him too. 

In the net: 

John Gibson has been a highly reliable goaltender for the ducks. Their record does not reflect that but when your defense is bad there’s only so much a goalie can do. It’s good to have that anchor in the net but Coach Eakins and Bob Murray (general manager) are going to have to be very patient and open-minded with this team. 

The Verdict: 

This is a year of growth and development. I don’t foresee the Anaheim Ducks making the playoffs but I do think they’ll be considerably better than they have been. The younger players are going to have to step it up and really give it their all to push the team in the right direction. If that’s not possible, Murray might need to look into moving John Gibson in exchange for some more experience defensive player. I think they’re going to struggle the most on the backend this year. 

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