Our series of West Division previews begins with the Anaheim Ducks.
The Anaheim Ducks are an interesting opponent. They weren’t a good team last season, and they probably won’t be much better this upcoming season. But if you watched the World Juniors you know that they have a lot of solid prospects, with five players competing in the gold medal game. Four players played for Team USA and won gold yesterday and Trevor Zegras was named the tournament MVP.
Like other teams that didn’t make the postseason, the Ducks are going to come into this season very cold. Their last game was March 11, 2020, a 4-2 loss to the St. Louis Blues. The Ducks didn’t have a great end to their season, finishing with a 3-3-1 record.
Key Additions: Kevin Shattenkirk, Kodie, Curran, Derek Grant (signed with the team after being traded to Philadelphia)
Key Subtractions: Erik Gudbranson, Michael Del Zotto, Kiefer Sherwood
2019-20 Finish: 6th in the Pacific (29-33-9)
Coyotes’ 2019-20 record: 2-2-0
Key Injuries: None
If there was one saving grace for the Ducks, it is goaltender John Gibson. Gibson is a stellar goaltender, who played 51 games last season. While 51 games are comparable to prior seasons he’s played, the Ducks played 11 fewer games last season due to Covid-19 cutting the season short.
Gibson’s numbers did take a drop last season though. He isn’t entirely to blame for his 3.00 goals-against average and .904 save percentage, both the worst of his career, but it shows that he isn’t unbeatable.
Normally you could count on Gibson to steal a few games, but that is especially dangerous this season. With a condensed season, we can expect most teams to spread out their starts and that isn’t a good thing for the Ducks.