Mariah Carey once said, “I don’t want a lot for Christmas, There is just one thing I need“. Unfortunately these lyrics do not apply to the Anaheim Ducks this holiday season; and yes I just quoted Mariah Carey in a hockey article!
With Anaheim sitting at the bottom of the NHL standings and the end to their downward spiral nowhere in sight, GM Bob Murray’s holiday wish list could possibly be one of the never-ending variety. Although the Ducks sit at the bottom of the Pacific Division, they are in no way out of contention (that is how bad this division is). If Murray can just obtain a few items from his list, we could be looking at a new and improved team in 2016.
Without any further ado, here is the holiday wish list for the Anaheim Ducks!
1. More Goals!
It should not surprise anyone that more scoring is on the top of the list. When I say more scoring, I mean more goals from absolutely anybody on the roster. The Ducks are by far the worst goal scoring team in the entire National Hockey League with a measly 59 through 32 games. The Philadelphia Flyers, who are 29th in the league in scoring, have 73 goals so far this season. Fourteen goals separate the Ducks from the second worst team and that is just pathetic. If Anaheim could find a way to start putting the puck in the back of the net more than once or twice a game, they would find themselves right back in the playoff race.
2. The Real Ryan Getzlaf
In 28 games this season, the Ducks’ captain has only managed to record nineteen points. eighteen of those points are assists, and the only goal he has to his name this season is an empty-netter. This is coming from a guy who has not scored below 50 points in a season since his rookie year (not including lockout season). The fact that the second best player on the Ducks has fallen off this much is just baffling. Anaheim needs Getzlaf to shake off this funk and get back to normal immediately!
3. A New Home For Kesler
In terms of holiday wishes, this one might fall under the “new car” variety. It is something everybody wants but the likelihood of it occurring is quite small. After Getzlaf, Kesler’s performance so far this season is the second most disappointing. In his 32 games, Kesler has only managed to score four goals and has been demoted to centering the third line. This is not what you want to be seeing from a guy you are going to be paying a large sum of money to until 2022.
I always expected the Kesler contract to come back and bite the Ducks but not this soon. It would be a complete long-shot; but if the Anaheim could find a team willing to take Kesler off their hands, Murray would be forever grateful.
4. Bench Bieksa
This one is for the fans! The former Canuck has played like absolute garbage since joining Anaheim this season and Ducks fans have had no problem demonstrating how displeased they are with him. It is hard to believe that any team would participate in a deal for the defenseman so Bruce Boudreau should just make him a healthy scratch every night. At least this would give the Ducks faithful one thing to be happy about.
5. The Will to Win
The Ducks have been the biggest surprise and disappoint this season. Once favored to win the Stanley Cup, they are now becoming favorites to score Auston Matthews. This team just might not be as good as everybody expected but it is difficult to sense any sort of urgency or determination when they hit the ice. Once the opposition gets ahead, the game might as well be over. The Ducks hang their head in frustration and play the rest of the contest wounded and defeated. This mindset is not going to help them climb up the standings and make a push towards postseason contention. The Ducks need to have a fire lit from underneath them and develop the will to win. If not, their will be a new face of the franchise this summer.
The Anaheim Ducks’ holiday wish list could honestly take up about ten pieces of paper. Unfortunately Santa Clause is a very busy man and cannot direct all of his attention to one hockey team. When the holiday freeze is over, you can bet that Murray is going to go shopping with the hopes of making some improvements. The rest of the things on the wish list are going to have to be taken care of by the men who pull the Ducks sweater over their heads before every game.
Happy Holidays everyone!
John Gove is an experienced hockey writer who admires the game at all levels. Currently, John is a contributor for The Hockey Writers, covering the Philadelphia Flyers.