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Ducks Opening Roster Is Set
By Thomas Harrington
The Ducks have announced their 23-man opening night roster. Anaheim will carry 13 forwards: Max Comtois, Derek Grant, Adam Henrique, Max Jones, Brett Leason, Isaac Lundestrom, Mason McTavish, Pavol Regenda, Jakob Silfverberg, Ryan Strome, Troy Terry, Frank Vatrano, and Trevor Zegras; eight defensemen: Nathan Beaulieu, Simon Benoit, Jamie Drysdale, Cam Fowler, John Klingberg, Dmitry Kulikov, Kevin Shattenkirk, and Colton White; and two goaltenders: John Gibson and Anthony Stolarz.
To get to this point, the Ducks placed Josh Mahura on waivers (and he was claimed by Florida), placed Glenn Gawdin on waivers (he was not claimed and will start the year in San Diego), placed Urho Vaakanainen on injured reserve, and designated Sam Carrick and John Moore as Injured Non-Roster. Noah Warren is also still in Anaheim but just had foot surgery. Once he recovers, he’ll be assigned to the QMJHL.
The Ducks also did not offer Rocco Grimaldi a contract at this time. It sounds like there’s a chance they sign him to a deal with the Gulls and he can continue to push for an NHL contract in San Diego. Anaheim has 15 players returning from the end of last season, as well as five players who are 22 or younger (McTavish, Zegras, Drysdale, Regenda, and Lundestrom), and another six who are 25 or younger (Comtois, Leason, Benoit, Jones, Terry, and White).
Anaheim’s roster was mostly set before the training camp began, but there were a couple of surprises. The biggest surprise was Anaheim claiming Leason from Washington. He’s a second round pick from 2019 who had six points in 36 NHL games last season. He also has 47 points in 114 AHL games. The other surprise at forward was Regenda making the team. I figured he’d make his NHL debut, but I wasn’t sure if he’d be able to make the roster out of training camp. He finished the preseason with seven points in six games and seemed to find chemistry with Jones and Grant on the team’s fourth line. It’s good to see McTavish make the opening night roster, but after how dominant he was in juniors and the World Juniors last season, it certainly wasn’t a surprise. Unless he had a truly terrible training camp and preseason, he was going to start the season in Anaheim. He had one goal in three preseason games.
On defense, the biggest surprise was seeing White make the roster over Mahura. While he hasn’t developed as hoped, Mahura has proven himself to be a capable sixth or seventh defenseman with some offensive upside. White did play in 27 games for New Jersey last season, but most of his professional career has been spent in the AHL. Once Vaakanainen is healthy, I think it will either be White or Beaulieu who is sent to the Gulls. The Ducks will have several new faces on defense this season, most notably Klingberg and Kulikov; hopefully they will be able to integrate quickly and seamlessly into the lineup.
In net, there were no surprises, as Gibson will once again be Anaheim’s starter and Stolarz will be his backup. Gibson did exit the final preseason against Los Angeles with an injury but appears fine now. If he ever does miss time, Lukas Dostal will be called up from San Diego to fill in for him.
Opening night is just around the corner! The Ducks won’t compete for the Stanley Cup this year, but hopefully they’ll be better than last year and be more competitive throughout the entire season. Maybe they’ll be able to grab a playoff spot, or maybe they’ll play spoiler over the final month or two of the season. Regardless, with young players like Zegras, Drysdale, and McTavish and veterans like Klingberg, Terry and Strome, Anaheim should be a fun team to watch this season.
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October 11th, 2022