Ducks season preview: Zegras and McTavish lead young core

The 2022-23 NHL season begins Oct. 7. With training camps set to open soon, NHL.com takes a look at the three keys, the inside scoop on roster matters and the projected roster of each of the 32 teams. Today, the Anaheim Ducks.

Coach: Dallas Eakins (fourth season)

Last season: 31-37-14, seventh in the Pacific Division; did not qualify for the Stanley Cup playoffs

3 KEYS

1. Young people must produce

Trevor Zegras21, was second on the Ducks with 61 points (23 goals, 38 assists) last season, but some of their other young forwards have struggled. Max Comtoiswho led them with 16 goals and 33 points in 55 games in 2020-21, had six goals and 16 points in 52 games last season, so the 23-year-old will have to step up his game or lose his spot in the top six in the range.

Mason McTavishThe 19-year-old, third pick in the 2021 NHL Draft, is expected to play an important role this season. isaac lundstrom, selected 23rd overall in the 2018 NHL Draft, could also play a bigger role after the 22-year-old had 29 points (16 goals, 13 assists) in 80 games last season when the Ducks were 24th in scoring (2.78 goals). per game). They ranked last in 2020-21 (2.21).

2. Consistency in defense

The signing of John Klingberg to a one-year contract on July 29 is a short-term solution, but could be a big help in this group that gathers in front of the goalkeeper John Gibson. Klingberg and cam fowler could play a big role on the power play, which finished 14th in the NHL last season (21.9%) after finishing last in 2020-21 (8.9%). Jamie Drysdale and Urho Vaakanainen should each take on bigger roles after the Ducks ranked 23rd in allowing 3.24 goals per game last season.

3. New leaders must emerge

Ryan Getzlaf, who played 17 seasons with the Ducks and captained the last 12, retired after last season. His leadership on the ice and in the locker room will be missed, and someone will have to step up. Fowler and Defenders Kevin Shattenkirk as well as Zegras and onward Jakob Silvverberg could be among the favorites to eventually win the captaincy, but so far the Ducks don’t seem to be in a rush to make a decision.

LIST SUMMARY

make the cut

Off-season purchases Ryan Strome and Frank Vatrano could play on the second line forward. Strome signed a five-year contract and Vatrano agreed to a three-year contract on July 13. Comtois and McTavish could be in contention for a spot with these two in training camp. The addition of Klingberg means Josh Mahura, Simon Benoit and perspective Drew Hellison will compete for one of the last places in defense.

Most intriguing addition

Klingberg, who was considered by many to be the best free agent defenseman available this offseason, will provide an immediate boost with his offensive skills and ability to block shots. The right-handed shot is also effective on the power play; he scored 20 power-play points with the Dallas Stars last season. The 30-year-old will bring veteran leadership to the locker room and should have no problem hitting the reset button after scoring six goals (tied for NHL career-fewest) and having a minus-28 rating. with Dallas in 2021-22.

The biggest potential surprise

McTavish had two goals and one assist in nine games for the Ducks last season, 29 goals in the OHL (24 for Hamilton, five for Peterborough) and one goal in three games for San Diego in the OHL American hockey. He is expected to make a big impact after being named Most Valuable Player at the 2022 IIHF World Junior Championship for Canada in August, when he led all scorers with 17 points (eight goals, nine assists) in seven games.

Ready to drill

Drysdale, who is in the final season of his entry-level contract, was second among NHL rookie defensemen with 32 points (four goals, 28 assists) in 81 games last season. Detroit Red Wings defenseman Moritz Seider, who won the Calder Trophy as NHL Rookie of the Year, led all rookie defensemen with 50 points. Drysdale, the No. 6 pick in the 2020 NHL Draft, wants to improve on his side after finishing under-26. The 20-year-old played with Lindholm to start the season and then with Fowler after Lindholm was traded. Drysdale was partnered with Vaakanainen at the end of the season and could find himself paired with the 23-year-old left-handed shooter to start this season.

Fantasy sleeper

Drysdale, D (average fantasy draft position: 169.1) — He was third among rookie defensemen in power-play points (12) and could break through with exposure to valuable young forwards Zegras and McTavish. –Pete Jensen

PROJECTED RANGE

Adam Henry –Trevor Zegras– Troy Terry

Max Comtois — Ryan Strome — Frank Vatrano

MaxJones — Mason McTavish — Jakob Silfverberg

Derek Grant –Isac Lundstrom– Sam Carrick

Cam Fowler — John Klingberg

Uhro Vaakanainen — Jamie Drysdale

Josh Mahura — Kevin Shattenkirk

John Gibson

Antoine Stolarz