Ducks Enter All-Star Break on Positive Note

The Anaheim Ducks have officially hit the All-Star break. While the NHL will continue to play games until Wednesday this week, the Ducks won’t take the ice again until next Monday (Feb. 6) in Dallas, giving all players not named Troy Terry eight days in between games.

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Outside of Terry, there won’t be much for Ducks fans to be looking forward to during the break. All-Star Weekend is largely a celebration of the first half of the season, to which the Ducks have little to celebrate. With a record of 16-29-5 (37 points), Anaheim is the third-worst team in the league by record and one of the worst teams in recent history in several other measures.

But despite the grim totality of the first half, the club is entering the break on several high notes. Trevor Zegras is producing at his highest rates since entering the league after a less-than-stellar December. John Klingberg has also been getting on the scoresheet, which will help improve some of his lost trade value. And most importantly, a three-win streak for the Ducks is a new high mark for the year and can be a confidence boost for a young squad as they play out the final 32 games of the regular season.

Trevor Zegras Is Heating Up

Talks of Trevor Zegras’ sophomore slump have been greatly exaggerated. After playing at nearly a point-per-game pace in October and November (20 points in 23 games), his production stagnated a bit in December, amassing seven points in 14 games. Head coach Dallas Eakins has spent the last month moving Zegras up and down the lineup, including moving him from center to left wing for a handful of games. Whether it was in response to a demotion or simply positive regression, he’s responded with points in 11 of his last 13 games (8 goals, 7 assists).

Trevor Zegras Anaheim Ducks
Trevor Zegras, Anaheim Ducks (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

Zegras’ scoring bender was enough to be named the third star in the NHL’s weekly “Three Stars” honors for the week ending on Jan. 22. It’s his first league honor since being named Rookie of the Month in December 2021. As the second-lowest scoring team in the league, the Ducks will need Zegras to be productive if they are to remain competitive.

Klingberg Recoups Trade Value

Following the trend of Ducks players scoring at an increased rate, John Klingberg has put together a solid January. While he hasn’t been the highly-productive defenseman he has been in the past, his play over the last month has been encouraging enough for teams who may take the chance to trade for him at the deadline.

Related: Ducks’ Potential Trade Partners Ahead of 2023 Deadline

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Klingberg’s six points in 12 games this month is a bit modest, but it’s how the points have been earned that is most encouraging. He’s scored a power-play goal (his first since joining the Ducks), an overtime goal (another first as a Duck), and, most recently, a nifty drop pass to Zegras for an overtime assist against the Arizona Coyotes on Jan. 28. While Klingberg’s play isn’t reaching the high peaks that were expected, his recent performances will surely recuperate some trade value. He recently changed his no-move clause to include 10 teams he is willing to be traded to.

Longest Winning Streak of the Season

It may not be much, but Anaheim’s current three-game winning streak is their longest of the season. Stringing together wins has been difficult for the Ducks, as this is only their fourth time winning at least two straight games this season (for comparison, fellow bottom-dwellers Columbus Blue Jackets and Chicago Blackhawks have done this three times apiece). Quality of opponents aside (two games against the Coyotes sandwiching a matchup against a less-than-healthy Colorado Avalanche), the Ducks played some of their best hockey just before the break.

Recent winning hasn’t done much to move the Ducks out of the bottom of the standings. Their .370 points percentage is still the third-worst in the league, and a second-half rebound is unlikely with the trade deadline looming. The roster is going to see some overhaul in the next few weeks, and it’ll likely be a worse unit to round out the season. In the meantime, a winning streak is good for the psyche of a young team that has really struggled to put anything together. As the Ducks return from their extended All-Star break, we’ll see if they can continue their encouraging play in the final weeks before some major changes take place.

Statistics courtesy of Hockey-Reference

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