Duck season preview: Zegras, McTavish leading the young core

The 2022-23 NHL season begins October 7. With training camps opening soon, NHL.com is taking a look at the three keys, the inside scoop on roster questions, and the predicted lineup for each of the 32 teams. Today, the Anaheim Ducks.

Fitness Trainer: Dallas Aikins (fourth season)

Last season: 31-37-14, seventh in the Pacific Division; Did not qualify for the Stanley Cup playoffs

3 keys

1. Young people must produce

Trevor Zegras21, was second to the Ducks with 61 points (23 goals, 38 assists) last season, but some other young strikers have struggled. Max Comtowe, who led them with 16 goals and 33 points in 55 games in 2020-21, and scored six goals and 16 points in 52 games, so the 23-year-old will need to step up his game or perhaps lose his place among the top. Six in the squad.

Mason McTavish19, No. 3 in the 2021 NHL Draft, is expected to have a big role this season. Isaac Lundstrom, who was named No. 23 in the 2018 NHL draft, could play a more prominent role after the 22-year-old earned 29 points (16 goals, 13 assists) in 80 games last season when the Ducks were 24th in the Scoring (2.78 goals) per game). They finished last in 2020-21 (2.21).

2. Consistency on defense

Defense man’s signature John Klingberg A one-year contract on July 29th is a short-term fix but can be a huge help in getting this group together in front of the goalkeeper John Gibson. Klingberg and Cam Fowler It could play a big role in the power game, which finished 14th last season in the NHL (21.9 percent) after finishing last in 2020-21 (8.9 percent). Jimmy Dressdale And the Urho Vaakanainen Both are expected to take on bigger roles after the Ducks ranked 23rd, allowing 3.24 goals per game last season.

3. New leaders need to emerge

Ryan Getslav, who played 17 seasons with the Ducks and was a captain for the past 12 ducks, retired after last season. Driving him on the ice and into the locker room would be missed, and someone would need to step things up. Fowler and Davisman Kevin Shattenkirk As well as Zagras and striker Jacob Silverberg He may be among the favorites to win the eventual leadership, but for now the ducks are in no hurry to make a decision.

Roster Rondon

making the cut

Off-season acquisitions Ryan Strom And the Frank Vatrano He can play on the second front line. Strom signed a five-year contract, and Vatrano agreed to a three-year contract on July 13. Comtua and McTavish could be on the side with these two at training camp. I mean add Klingberg Josh MahoraAnd the Simon Benoit and probability Drew Hilson He will compete for one of the last positions in defense.

The most interesting addition

Klingberg, considered by many to be the best free defensive player available this season, will provide an instant boost with his offensive skills and blocking ability. The right-handed shot is also effective in playing power; He had 20 strengths with the Dallas Stars last season. The 30-year-old will bring the veteran leadership into the locker room and should have no trouble pressing the reset button after scoring six goals (a draw less than an NHL career) and earning a career low minus 28 rating with Dallas in 2021-22.

The biggest possible surprise

McTavish scored two goals and one assist in nine games for the Ducks last season, 29 goals in the Ontario Hockey League (24 for Hamilton, five for Peterborough) and one goal in three games for San Diego in the MHL. He is expected to make a major impact after being named Player of the Year at the 2022 IIHF World Junior Championships for Canada in August when he led all scorers with 17 points (eight goals, nine assists) in seven matches.

ready to hack

Drysdale, who is in the final season of his entry-level contract, finished second among the NHL’s rookie defenses with 32 points (four goals, 28 assists) in 81 games last season. Detroit Red Wings Defenders Moritz Cider, who won the Calder Trophy and voted NHL Rookie of the Year, led all rookie defenders with 50 points. Drysdale, the No. 6 pick in the 2020 NHL Draft, wants to improve on his end after finishing with a minus 26. The 20-year-old played for Lindholm to start the season and then Fowler after trading Lindholm. Drysdale partnered with Vaakanainen at the end of the season and could find himself paired with the 23-year-old’s left-footed shot to start this season.

sleeping fantasy

Drysdale, D (imaginary average draft position: 169.1) – He ranked third among junior defenders in strengths (12) and could break out through exposure to valuable young strikers Zegras and McTavish. – Pete Jensen

Expected line

Adam Henrik – Trevor Zegras – troy terry

Max Comtois, Ryan Strom, Frank Vatrano

Max Jones – Mason McTavish – Jacob Silverberg

Derek Grant – Isaac Lundstrom – Sam Carrick

Cam Fowler – John Kleinberg

Oro Vakaninen – Jimmy Dressdale

Josh Mahora – Kevin Shatenkirk

John Gibson

Anthony Carpenter