Summer is well underway and that means it’s time to jump back into hockey. The Anaheim Ducks are looking to make things happen in 2018-2019, but they haven’t done a whole lot since they were swept by the San Jose Sharks in the first round of the 2018 Stanley Cup Playoffs.
The Ducks haven’t lost any key players or made any key additions. That could change, but it looks like general manager Bob Murray is relatively okay with how things look. He stated a desire to get faster, but it’s hard to say Anaheim looks that much quicker.
The Ducks did sign forward Brian Gibbons to a one-year deal on July 2. The 30-year-old has played a smattering of NHL games over the course of three seasons and has found a new team each year, so he must be hoping to find stability in Anaheim. He had a career-high dozen goals with the New Jersey Devils last season, but he didn’t score a single goal after December 12.
The Ducks also scooped defenceman Luke Schenn to a one-year deal on July 2. The addition of the 28-year-old was designed to add defensive depth, obviously, and he’s mostly known for his role as a stay-at-home blueliner. He saw time with Oliver Ekman-Larsson in Arizona for the final 10 games of last season but was a healthy scratch for 16.
Speaking of defence, the Ducks also inked Andrej Sustr to a one-year deal on July 5. At 6’7, 220 pounds, he’ll give the blueline size in the coming season.
By all (or most) accounts, defenceman Francois Beauchemin is done. He played his last game in April and saw things end with the San Jose sweep. It’s impossible to sum up how much the workhorse has meant to Anaheim and he won a Cup with the franchise in 2007.
The rest of the roster is intact, which could be a good thing or a bad thing.
In goal, that leaves John Gibson to handle the load. Ryan Miller is the veteran backup. Gibson posted career-highs in wins, starts and save percentage last season, but he’s had injury concerns over the past three seasons and may not be on par with other goalies in his age group. He’s a potential 2019 restricted free agent.
The club also has some question marks up front, like Ryan Kesler. His hip has been trouble for a while and it’s not clear what his role will be.
Can the Ducks be effective with the same old thing? That’s a tough call. The team is defensively responsible, but they collapsed against the Sharks in the post-season and aren’t as fast as they need to be to compete in today’s NHL. That could spell problems once again and could be a sign that things are about to change in Anaheim real soon.