The Anaheim Ducks are coming close to the end of their season. They’ve had some good spells and some very bad spells, especially lately. But the future looks bright and better days should be ahead.
Verbeek Speaks Up for Zegras
Whether you refer to it as “skilling it up” or “hotdogging it up” or whatever other various terms for what moves Trevor Zegras has been able to pull off this season, Ducks general manager Pat Verbeek is all for it.
“For me, this is just another way for him to really show his creativity. And, really at the end of the day, unreal skills. Unreal hands and skills. I’m kind of waiting to really stick up for my player in that sense. And I want other people to kind of come to the realization that you shouldn’t resent that type of goal. You shouldn’t resent it in the sense that you’re getting embarrassed. Because I don’t feel that it is that way.”
from, ‘Ducks GM Pat Verbeek defends Trevor Zegras’ lacrosse-style goals: ‘He respects the game’’, The Athletic, 04/13/22
After an alley-oop assist to Sonny Milano in December and two lacrosse-style goals this calendar year, Zegras has been at the forefront of the NHL media train and was even invited to the Breakaway Challenge at All-Star Weekend in February.
The way Zegras plays will continue to revolutionize the game and it’s almost a given that we’ll see him continue to pull off moves that we never would have imagined players attempting in the past.
Getzlaf and Perry Skate Together One Last Time
For the final time in their NHL careers, Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry skated on the same ice together. Only the pair wasn’t on the same line and certainly weren’t wearing the same team colors.
After 14 seasons as teammates, Perry was bought out by the Ducks and joined up with the Dallas Stars prior to the 2019-20 season. Since then, he made a quick, one-season stop in Montreal before inking a two-year deal with the Tampa Bay Lightning this past offseason.
It’s a shame that Getzlaf and Perry weren’t able to play their entire careers together for the same team after spending almost every moment of their NHL careers together since their draft year in 2003.
Perry was visibly emotional during an interview regarding Getzlaf’s retirement announcement earlier in the week and it was enriching for Ducks fans around the world to see the pair match up for the opening faceoff against one another.
Following the conclusion of the game, Lightning players lined up to shake Getzlaf’s hand and the Ducks captain shared a quick embrace with his dear friend. The two also took a pregame photo together. There is no doubt that both of them will one day have their jersey numbers hanging in the rafters of Honda Center.
Terry Reaches 35-Goal Mark
It’s been quite a month of April for Troy Terry. It started with a busted eye thanks to the Arizona Coyotes’ Jay Beagle but after one game on the sidelines, Terry has returned with a flourish.
With five goals in his last four games, Terry has reached the 35-goal mark––he scored his 35th and 36th goals last night––and is the first Duck to reach that mark since Perry during the 2013-14 season. Only three other players (Teemu Selanne, Bobby Ryan, Paul Kariya) besides those two have ever reached the 35-goal threshold in franchise history.
Five games remain on the Ducks’ schedule before their season concludes and the race to 40 goals for Terry seems plausible at the rate that he’s been scoring recently. It will be difficult, but it’s certainly attainable. It would be the perfect benchmark to conclude what has been a breakout season for the 24-year-old.
Fowler and Grant Set Career-Highs
Cam Fowler, now the elder statesman on the Ducks’ blue line, has quietly been one of the best performers on the team in what has otherwise been a lost season since the All-Star break. His goal on Sunday night against the Columbus Blue Jackets set a new career-high in points with 41. His previous career-high was 40 points, which he set during his rookie season in the league.
Derek Grant also reached a milestone on Sunday night, setting a new career-high in goals with 15 after his empty-net tally. He is in his third stint as a Duck after being dealt at the deadline twice in the past. This most recent return came with a three-year contract (which ends next season).
Related: Ducks Fans Say Goodbye to Dynamic Duo: Getzlaf & Perry
Grant is now taking on more leadership responsibilities following the departures of Hampus Lindholm, Josh Manson and Nicolas Deslauriers at the trade deadline and it’s likely that he will assume more next season once team captain Getzlaf has retired.
Zegras Ties Ducks’ Rookie Points Record
It’s no secret that Zegras has been the straw that stirs the drink when it comes to the Ducks generating offense this season. He’s been at the top of the rookie scoring leaderboard all season and tied Ryan for the Ducks’ rookie points record (57 points) with a goal and an assist on Sunday night.
Zegras has garnered plenty of attention for a myriad of on-ice reasons and it’s completely plausible that he’ll one day be the face of the franchise, especially with Getzlaf retiring after the conclusion of this season.
Drysdale Plays in 100th NHL Game
Not to be outdone by his rookie compatriot, Jamie Drysdale played in his 100th NHL game on Sunday. The 20-year-old defenseman has taken on plenty of responsibility since becoming a regular fixture on the Ducks’ blue line and his workload will only continue to increase as time passes.
With Kevin Shattenkirk on a downward trend and Manson no longer in town, Drysdale is now the premier right-handed shot on the Ducks’ blue line and his skating ability has added an element of speed to a mostly sluggish Anaheim defense.
The Ducks face their crosstown rivals, the Los Angeles Kings, twice this week before preparing to celebrate Getzlaf’s final game next Sunday. As a result, it should be a week full of emotions and plenty of buzz.