NHL Pacific Division Reset: Anaheim Ducks

Ducks turn to Strome, Vatrano after Getzlaf retires

Former Rangers forwards projected for top six this season

by David Satriano @davidsatriano / NHL.com Staff Writer

2021-22 season: 31-37-14, seventh in Pacific Division; did not qualify for Stanley Cup Playoffs

Key arrivals

Ryan Strome, F: The 29-year-old center signed a five-year contract July 13. He had 54 points, including an NHL career-high 21 goals, in 74 games for the New York Rangers last season and nine points (two goals, seven assists) in 19 playoff games. Strome could be the top-line center and skate on the top power-play unit. … Frank Vatrano, F: The 28-year-old agreed to a three-year contract July 13. He had 32 points (18 goals, 14 assists) in 71 regular-season games for the Rangers and Florida Panthers last season and 13 points (five goals, eight assists) in 20 playoff games.

Key departures

Ryan Getzlaf, F: Anaheim’s captain the past 12 seasons retired after 2021-22. The 37-year-old center played all 17 of his NHL seasons for the Ducks and is their leader in games played (1,157), assists (737) and points (1,019) in the regular season and fourth in goals (282). His presence on and off the ice will be hard to replace. … Sonny Milano, F: He’s an unrestricted free agent after not receiving a qualifying offer. Milano set NHL career highs in assists (20) and points (34) and tied his high of 14 goals in 66 games last season. … Sam Steel, F: He had 20 points (six goals, 14 assists) in 68 games last season and is a UFA after not receiving a qualifying offer. … Andrej Sustr, D: Agreed to a one-year, two-way contract with the Minnesota Wild on July 13. He had five assists and averaged 17:27 of ice time in 23 games last season.

On the cusp

Mason McTavish, F: The 19-year-old, who was the No. 3 pick in the 2021 NHL Draft, split last season between the Ontario Hockey League (20 goals, 27 assists, 47 points in 29 games for Hamilton and Peterborough), the American Hockey League (one goal, one assist in three games for San Diego) and Anaheim (two goals, one assist in nine games). … Jacob Perreault, F: The 20-year-old, who was the No. 27 pick in the 2020 NHL Draft, showed promise in the AHL with 37 points (14 goals, 23 assists) in 55 games and played one game for the Ducks. … Brayden Tracey, F: The 21-year-old, chosen No. 29 in the 2019 NHL Draft, had 31 points (11 goals, 20 assists) in 55 AHL games and played one NHL game. … Benoit-Oliver Groulx, F: The 22-year-old, a second-round pick (No. 54) in the 2018 NHL Draft, had 22 points (11 goals, 11 assists) in 40 AHL games and three points (one goal, two assists) in 18 NHL games. … Lukas Dostal, G: The 22-year-old made his NHL debut last season, playing four games (1-2-0, 2.98 goals-against average, .907 save percentage). A third-round pick (No. 85) in the 2018 draft, Dostal played 40 AHL games (18-14-4, 2.60 GAA, .916 save percentage, two shutouts).

What they still need

To sign restricted free agents Isac LundestromSimon Benoit and Urho Vaakanainen. Lundestrom, a 22-year-old center, had NHL career highs in goals (16), assists (13) and points (29) in 80 games last season. Benoit, a 23-year-old defenseman, had five points (one goal, four assists) in 53 games as a rookie. Vaakanainen, a 23-year-old defenseman, had two assists in 14 games for the Ducks after he was acquired in a trade with the Boston Bruins on March 19 for defenseman Hampus Lindholm.  

They said it

“I think you can see all the pieces are there. There are great veterans on the team, guys who have been around a long time, and then you have younger guys who have proven themselves already at such a young age. When you have a good mix of veteran leadership and young players who can push the play, that’s a sign of a great team.” — forward Frank Vatrano

Fantasy focus

Forward Trevor Zegras is the Ducks’ most valuable player in NHL.com’s top 250 and is ranked among the top 100 overall for this season. Zegras, who was second in points among NHL rookies last season (61 in 75 games) behind Toronto Maple Leafs wing Michael Bunting (63 in 79) and tied for the second-most goals (23) in his class behind Nashville Predators wing Tanner Jeannot (24), should be prioritized in keeper and dynasty leagues. Zegras could either play on a line with breakout wing Troy Terry (led Ducks with NHL career highs of 37 goals and 67 points last season) and/or get a boost from Anaheim’s sneaky forward signings in Strome and/or Vatrano, who were top-six contributors during the Rangers’ run to the Eastern Conference Final. — Anna Dua

Projected lineup

Adam Henrique — Trevor Zegras — Troy Terry

Max Comtois — Ryan Strome — Frank Vatrano

Max Jones — Mason McTavish — Jakob Silfverberg

Derek Grant — Isac Lundestrom — Sam Carrick

Cam Fowler — Jamie Drysdale

Uhro Vaakanainen — Kevin Shattenkirk

Josh Mahura — Simon Benoit

John Gibson

Anthony Stolarz

Source: nhl.com

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