The Anaheim Ducks will be seeking a return to the playoffs after missing them for the first time in seven seasons. Before they get there, we must tackle three key underlying questions the Ducks must figure out before they get back to a Stanley Cup run.
Last season was an up and down one for the Anaheim Ducks that ended in serious disappointment. Though the team ended up winning seven of its last ten games, it could not make up for the mess of the previous 72.
Ducks’ goaltenders John Gibson and Ryan Miller were often left on an island in games, abandoned and left to defend several odd-man rushes and breakaways. They were the Ducks’ saving grace that kept them in games.
The sputtering offense was the worst in the league, scoring only 196 goals. Down years from offensive leaders like Ryan Getzlaf and winger Rickard Rakell, and the injury mid-year to energizer bunny Ondrej Kase among other things hurt the Ducks’ offensive output in games.
The defense group, one that was just a few years ago among the best in the league, was no longer that formidable group that it once was. Ex-Ducks Coach Randy Carlyle, in his second stint with the club, conceivably lost the team by mid-January marked by a disastrous six-game Canadian road trip where the team’s play was spiritless and lacking drive.
Ducks’ GM Bob Murray then took a stab at the coaching gig and went down to the bench to put his finger on what the deeper problems were with the team. Why were they not competing for 60 minutes? Why were there not trusting each other? Why was the team playing so poorly defensively?
Murray obviously was very disappointed with the team ended as the team should have competed for a playoff spot.
If last season was rock bottom for the Ducks, this year can only get better. But before the Ducks improve, they need to answer critical questions that will impact the immediate success of the team, starting with their offense.