This week’s edition of Anaheim Ducks News & Rumors is all about (ok, mostly about) the veterans. There’s speculation about what Ryan Getzlaf’s role could be this season, how some of the Ducks’ veterans feel about the public acknowledgment of a rebuild in Anaheim, and some small tidbits on a Ducks prospect recovering from injury.
GM Murray Envisions Getzlaf As Potential Fourth Line Center
“I can see (Getzlaf) being a fourth-line center and loving the role.” This quote came from Ducks general manager Bob Murray when asked about the team captain’s role this upcoming season (from, ‘The Anaheim Ducks have embraced their rebuild as they enter training camp, The Athletic, 09/23/21).
Getzlaf is no longer the 50+ assists playmaker of his heyday and, quite frankly, probably won’t be the center of the Ducks’ “top” line this season. That role will go to Trevor Zegras, who dazzled fans with his bold and fearless play style last season, albeit in limited action.
In fact, there were times last season where Getzlaf was parked on the fourth line as a winger, playing alongside Nic Deslauriers and Derek Grant. This was yet another sign that the Ducks are edging toward the end of yesteryear’s era and injecting more youth into their current game-plan.
Getzlaf is no stranger to fulfilling different roles, based on his time spent as a checking forward for Team Canada or even when he spent a good amount of time on the Ducks’ penalty kill units. He’s still a reliable player and has arguably the best vision and passing on the team. He just won’t be carrying as much of the freight now as he has in seasons previous.
Veterans Sound Off on Rebuild
Professional athletes enjoy winning. Shocker. Over the weekend, The Athletic’s Eric Stephens spoke with many of the Ducks’ veterans to get their thoughts on what has now been deemed a public “rebuilding” period by Murray.
Goaltender John Gibson, in particular, was adamant about his desire to win now, sparking a discussion about whether a trade may be in his future (from ‘John Gibson and his frank talk about the Ducks and rebuilding: ‘We need more from everybody”, The Athletic, 09/24/21).
Defenseman Hampus Lindholm is in the last year of his contract. He told Stephens that his mindset doesn’t change in accordance to how the team approaches things, even if the goal is slightly different from what he’s striving for (from ‘Hampus Lindholm on contract talks with the Ducks, staying healthy and the Olympics: ‘This is a really big year”, The Athletic, 09/29/21).
Getzlaf also chimed in about how hard last season was and that it didn’t feel enjoyable at all (from, ‘How the Ducks veterans are handling the rebuild and why they still need to perform,’ The Athletic, 09/26/21). Now entering his 17th NHL season (all with the Ducks), Getzlaf is nearing the end of his career and it wouldn’t be out of the question if he tapped Murray on the shoulder at the deadline and asked to be moved to a contender, for one final push at winning another Cup.
Many of the Ducks’ veterans are coming off career-low performances and will be eager to show that they still have something left in the tank (from, ‘Ducks veterans open camp seeking bounce-back seasons,’ The Orange County Register, 09/23/21). An improved performance could even mean a move to a playoff contender at the trade deadline for some Ducks on expiring contracts, namely Lindholm, Rickard Rakell and Josh Manson.
McTavish Still Nursing Injury
Mason McTavish is taking it slow after suffering an ankle sprain during the Rookie Faceoff Tournament two weeks ago. He’s been participating in shooting and puck handling drills but comes off the ice once drills start involving heavy contact.
McTavish was on his own once again on Tuesday at Great Park Ice, going through shooting and puck handling drills with Ducks skating and skills development coach Larry Barron. It remains to be seen what the Ducks’ plan is for their 2021 first-round pick, but keeping him around during training camp at least means they can watch his progress closely.
The Ducks have an enormous glut of forwards to choose from, but we’ve seen previously how young talent can push to the forefront with Zegras. While McTavish’s recovery time is unknown, there seems to be a good chance that he will be fully healthy by the time preseason is over, which means he could get a game or two in. It’s also possible that the Ducks keep him around and give him a nine-game audition during the regular season before reassigning him, much like they did with Max Comtois a couple of seasons ago.
The Ducks have already played two of their seven preseason games and will be back at Honda Center again tonight, facing off against the San Jose Sharks. The Ducks bested the Sharks 6-3 on Sunday but will be looking to bounce back from last night’s 4-1 loss to the Arizona Coyotes. As we inch closer to the start of the regular season, more news will be coming out of the Ducks’ camp as training camp cuts are made and the roster outlook starts to look a bit clearer.
Derek has been a hockey fan for 10 years and a sports fan in general for more than two decades.
He graduated from UCCS in Colorado Springs, CO in May 2020 with a bachelor’s degree in Sports Communication and spent the last several years as part of UCCS’ on-campus student newspaper staff–both as a reporter and editor. He is now creating Ducks-related content from his home in Southern California.