Inside look at the Anaheim Ducks

NHL.com offers in-depth roster, prospect and fantasy analysis for each of its 32 teams from Aug. 8-Sept. 8. Today, Anaheim Ducks.

The Anaheim Ducks had a busy offseason and believe they are ready to compete for a Stanley Cup Playoff spot after failing to qualify each of the past four seasons.

On the first day of free agency, the Ducks signed a forward Ryan Strome and Frank Vatrano to play among their top six.

“I think Ryan is going to be a good addition from a couple of different angles,” general manager Pat Verbeek told the Ducks website on July 18. “From a management point of view it’s going to be very, very important. Obviously, he’s a very good playmaker. and had a good year scoring goals this year as well. So I think it was very important for our club to have someone who is very productive offensively and someone who is going to provide really good culture and really good leadership in the dressing room.”

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Strome had an NHL career-high 21 goals with the New York Rangers last season; Vatrano had 32 points (18 goals, 14 assists) in 71 games for the Rangers and Florida Panthers.

“I think we just want to try to win some hockey games,” Strome said. “We’ve got some good older guys and hopefully we’ll come in here and continue to grow as a team. That seems to be the direction everything is going. A little turnover [in the past few seasons] losing some guys that have been here for decades (Ryan Getzlaf, Corey Perry, Hampus Lindholm). It’s not necessarily easy to replace, but I think we’re trying to do it.”

Getzlaf retired after 17 seasons, including the last 12 as captain.

“Ryan was an incredible captain and an incredible player and an even better person,” coach Dallas Eakins said. “So, that leaves a hole, though Adam Henrique is a great leader. Troy Terry is growing into a very good leader. Pat added Strome and Vatrano there. Jakob Silfverberg. Derek Grant is a quiet leader. Cam Fowlerincredible leader. Kevin ShattenkirkGood manager. John Gibson. We have many very good people. Those guys are good people, and that’s usually where leadership starts, and they’re everything that I think is going to be able to fill that void as a group.”

In addition to Strome and Vatrano, the Ducks signed defenseman John Klingberg to a one-year contract on July 29.

“Well, obviously if you look at their team, I think they have some really interesting young players,” Klingberg said. “I think they took a step last year. Just looking at their team, I think they had a lot of injuries and covid issues last year and still ended up getting a lot of points. I’m just excited to get there and try to help the team to be better next season.”

Adds the three players to a core that includes forwards Trevor Zegras and Terry, and it’s not hard to see why it’s an exciting time in Anaheim. Zegras had 61 points and was a finalist for the Calder Trophy as rookie of the year last season. Terry led the Ducks with 37 goals and 67 points; it was the first time since 2017-18 that Anaheim had a 30-goal and 60-point scorer.

“Obviously [Zegras and Terry] both had very productive seasons in terms of points. I think Troy Terry’s shooting percentage (19.3 percent) was unbelievable,” Eakins said. “So for him to match his numbers or Trevor to match his numbers, I think it’s going to be a challenge, but knowing both of those young men as I do. , it will be a low bar for them. They will try to add to what they achieved last year.

“… We hope Jakob Silfverberg (blood clot) is back and fully recovered, we hope Max Jones (torn pectoral muscle) can recover — he only played two games last year — and we’re looking for a huge bounce-back year from Max Comtois (16 points in 52 games).”

Video: Top 10 Trevor Zegras plays from the 2021-22 season

Anaheim finished seventh in the Pacific Division last season, 21 points behind the Nashville Predators for the second wild card into the Western Conference playoffs. The Ducks were 24th in scoring (2.78 goals per game) after ranking last in 2020-21 (2.21), 29th in 2019-20 (2.56) and last in 2018-19 (2.39). But the additions of Strome, Vatrano and Klingberg should help.

“I think you can see all the pieces are there,” Vatrano told the Ducks website on July 14. “There are great veterans on the team, guys who have been around a long time, and then you have younger guys who have already proven themselves at such a young age. When you have a good mix of veteran leadership and young players who can push the game, is a sign of a great team. … The future is very bright in Anaheim.”

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