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Anaheim’s Core Problem
By George Casner III
The Anaheim Ducks are still dealing with the aftershocks of the 2017 Western Conference Final where they lost to Nashville in 6 games. The biggest effect and one that’s haunted them all last season is injuries. The plethora of injuries that plagued the team had them playing catch up from the first puck drop of the season; but that is only a symptom of a larger issue, Anaheim’s core. Is it time for Anaheim to look at retooling themselves?
These three are what the team is built around, but is it time to rethink this?
Something has been off with Corey Perry for the past few seasons. Throughout the year we occasionally saw life back in him, however, it was few and far between. Overall his numbers have been on a decline since the 2015-16 season:
|Goals: 34||Goals: 19||Goals: 17|
|Assists: 28||Assists: 34||Assists: 32|
|Total: 62||Total: 53||Total: 49|
One can argue that he is becoming more of a playmaker, like Getzlaf. However, even if that’s true, his numbers are still on the decline. This constant decline is cause for concern, especially with his cap hit.
Speaking of Getzlaf, problems have surfaced involving him as well. His numbers have fluctuated in the same range over the past three years, so there’s nothing to worry about there. Getzlaf’s problems have to do with his presence, or in this case lack thereof. Getzlaf took a puck to the face early in the 2017-18 season, forcing him to go on the IR for a bit, and his absence was noticeable. Wins in faceoff circle declined, Anaheim’s game had to change, and leadership overall took a dive as well. Getzlaf’s presence is noticeable, and needed, but when the Captain isn’t there the Duck’s feel it. There needs to be a younger prospect following in his footsteps, learning from him, so if he does go down the team can keep moving forward.
Last but not least, Kesler. It was recently announced that Kesler might miss all of the 2018-19 season. Due to his hip surgery, he missed a lot of the 2017-18 season. Then, when he returned, he wasn’t himself. While any major surgery can cause lingering effects it becomes even more evident as a player gets older. At 33 years old, Ryan Kesler is certainly not the youngest player on the Ducks. Kesler is a fan favorite and many will argue that he can still make a full recovery; however, the way he plays the game could be wearing him down faster. Hockey is already an aggressive sport and when someone plays a heavy game they tend to burn out faster than other players. The years of aggressive play, hip surgery, and now a potential year of rehab might mark the end of his career.
This begs the question: is it time for Anaheim to retool and build a new core?
Anaheim has good prospects coming down the pipeline. Two young kids have been tearing it up in the minor leagues: Sam Steel and Max Jones. These two are prime candidates to start building around. Also, some of the young players currently on the team, like Rickard Rakell, would be good to utilize in a retooling as well.
If these young players are going to be the future of the team, isn’t it time for Anaheim to stop building around Getzlaf, Perry, and Kesler?
Check out our latest podcast below for more on Anaheim’s current situation.
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June 8th, 2018