The Anaheim Ducks’ 2020 Wish List – Edition of Hope for the Second Half

GLENDALE, ARIZONA - NOVEMBER 27: Goaltender John Gibson #36 of the Anaheim Ducks during the first period of the NHL game against the Arizona Coyotes at Gila River Arena on November 27, 2019 in Glendale, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
GLENDALE, ARIZONA - NOVEMBER 27: Goaltender John Gibson #36 of the Anaheim Ducks during the first period of the NHL game against the Arizona Coyotes at Gila River Arena on November 27, 2019 in Glendale, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images) /
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(Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images) – Anaheim Ducks
(Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images) – Anaheim Ducks /

5.  Get More Production from the Captain

Anaheim Ducks’ Captain Ryan Getzlaf has had a good season so far, posting 25 points (10 goals, 15 assists) in 38 games this season. However, Getzlaf has gone pointless in his last seven games. Prior to the scoreless stretch, Getzlaf had 14 points in his previous 11 games.

The Ducks need Getzlaf to start contributing regularly on the board. Despite him not being the focal point of the offense as in past years, the club desperately needs his production.

One of the troubling tendencies that I have seen in the past three games is he has chosen to be in  a pass-first, pass-second, pass-third mode instead of shooting mode. Getzlaf needs to start thinking shoot first more because he has such a powerful shot and it would be a shame for it to go to waste.

Of course, Getzlaf can still look for his teammates, but please, please shoot when you get the opportunity to.

4. Get off to better starts

The Anaheim Ducks starts, especially on the road, have been a point of criticism. Per the LA Daily News, this was echoed by Ducks’ goaltender John Gibson, who said the following after the game against Vegas on Dec 31st:

“It’s frustrating when we come out and we’re not ready to play,” Ducks goaltender John Gibson said. “It’s a privilege to play in the National Hockey League and it feels like some guys are starting to take it for granted and are just kind of happy to be here. We play a good game every now and then and we can’t string it together, put two in a row, can’t seem to get points.”

Let’s be frank. The Ducks have not brought their “A” game as they should be doing as professionals of this game. The Ducks allowed 23 shots on goal to the Golden Knights to the 5 they put up against Vegas in the first period. Inexcusable.

Imagine Gibson having to fight off all that rubber in his face as his teammates are constantly scrambling in their zone. That’s what the goaltender has to do when his team is not ready to play and that is uncalled for.

The Ducks need to come ready to play every game, regardless if it is home or road. Its frustrating when you pay good money to watch your team play and they do not start off on the right foot.

Coach Dallas Eakins needs to work with his club to make sure they start off every game ready and motivated to play. No excuses.

3. Hope the Pacific Division stays weak

The Ducks currently rank 7th in the Pacific with 37 points through 40 games. Those above the Ducks are as follows:

  • Vegas (50 points, 43 games)
  • Arizona (48 points, 42 games)
  • Vancouver (46 points, 40 games)
  • Edmonton (46 points, 42 games)
  • Calgary (45 points, 42 games)
  • Los Angeles (38 points, 42 games)

The Ducks are lucky to be in the Pacific.  All other NHL division leaders have 58 points or more. In short, the Ducks are not out of it. Only 9 points out with plenty of games left to go.

A good winning streak would get the Ducks right back into contending for the top three of the division, which automatically qualifies for the playoffs.

If the Pacific stays the way it is where no team gets too hot, the Ducks have a good chance of getting in the top three. If not, they will need to qualify with not only Pacific Division teams, but a strong Central Division for wild card spots.

2. Get on a Winning Streak(s)

The Ducks have not won two games in a row for a while. And going with number three, getting on a winning streak would boost the confidence of all the players in the room.

Playing and not getting the winning result has been heartbreaking more often than not for the Ducks season, who I think have missed out on points by not closing out games.

The NHL is a results-driven league and if you do not win, you won’t get the 2 points. If you don’t get the 2 points, you are either getting 1 or 0.

The club needs to start stringing wins together if they want to get anywhere this season.

1. Put up a 60-minute effort on a consistent basis

The Ducks have not played enough ’60 minute games’ to earn points and wins on a consistent basis. In short, the effort has not always consistently been there.

You can point to the game against the Florida Panthers in late Nov. 21 where the Ducks held a 4-0 late in the second period, only to fall to the Panthers 5-4 in overtime.

You could point to where the Ducks held a 4-1 lead late against Vegas on Dec.27 at home, only to allow two short goals under two minutes and hold on for a close 4-3 win.

You can even point to their rematch against Vegas on Dec. 31 in Vegas where they did come out ready to play, and did fail to play anything close to a 60-minute effort.

If the Ducks want to win, they absolutely need to start putting up ‘complete’ games where they are putting it out there all on the ice. I know the Ducks won’t have all the shots or goals in a game, but need to show what they are capable of and play better as a collective unit.

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Putting up a complete 60 minutes effort requires buy-in and better play from every player on the team, not just most or a few. This team needs to play better as a team.