As the new year approaches, it is common for people to reflect upon the year and come up with ways they can better themselves. For some it might be eating healthy and exercising more, while for others it may surround the idea of being nicer to others.
New Year’s resolutions cannot only apply to individuals but can be used for professional sports teams as well. I am sure that every team in every sport can come up with at least one change that can lead to more success.
For the Anaheim Ducks, one might expect their list of resolutions for the New Year to be quite extensive. I mean who wouldn’t think that a lot of change is necessary for a team just one point separating them from last place in the Pacific Division?
In reality, the Ducks New Year’s resolution list only consists one major thing, MORE OFFENSE!
There is one key reason to Anaheim being closer to the bottom of the NHL standings than the top. Their inability to put the puck in the net with any consistency. The Ducks are averaging a horrific 1.89 goals per game which is bad enough for worst in the entire league. It should not come as much of a surprise that Anaheim also finds themselves in last place in goals scored with 66. This low number is nine goals away from the second worst offensive team in the NHL, the Flyers. The offense has not looked any better on the power play. The Ducks have only capitalized on 17% of their opportunities with at least a one man advantage.
Outside of Corey Perry, every single member of this Ducks team can make improvements on their offensive efforts. Of course the biggest standouts include the likes of Ryan Getzlaf with two goals and Ryan Kesler with four, but they are not the only two demonstrating the inability to score.
After Perry’s thirteen goals, no other Duck has managed to reach double digits. Rickard Rakell is the closest with seven, followed by Chris Stewart and Shawn Horcoff with six. Until last night against Calgary, Stewart was in sole possession of third place in goals scored and he has spent the last three games scratched, which is a conversation for another day.
Players such as Carl Hagelin and Jakob Silfverberg have been non factors in terms of goal scoring with three a piece. I know that most of the pressure falls on Getzlaf and Kesler to produce, but things would run a lot smoother if the Ducks could count on some of its other members to light the lamp from time to time.
Not Far From a Turnaround
In terms of defense and goaltending, the Ducks are in a pretty good place. Anaheim is averaging only 2.46 goals per game and rank eighth in the NHL in goals-against with 86. The team’s penalty kill sit at the top of the league with New York Islanders, killing 87.7% of the opposition’s power play opportunities. John Gibson has been a monster in net for the Ducks with a 1.81 GAA and a save percentage of .926. Bruce Boudreau may not come out and say it but Gibson is the number one goaltender in Anaheim now.
Imagine what this team could accomplish if they started scoring more than two goals a game. With the strong efforts on defense and close to dominant goaltending, the Ducks could very well find themselves amongst the top teams in the league.
Playoff positioning in the Pacific Division is wide open at this point, and Anaheim is far from out of it. If the Ducks can start producing more offense in 2016, we might starting talking about them when discussing the most dangerous teams in the NHL.
John Gove is an elementary school educator who writes about hockey in his spare team. Over the past five years, John has covered the game at various levels. Now, he exclusively focuses his coverage on prospects and the developmental leagues.