A good week for the Anaheim Ducks had a sour ending after their Friday night overtime loss to the Arizona Coyotes. A true barnburner with 11 goals scored in total, the Ducks made numerous comeback efforts to even get the game past regulation but ultimately couldn’t put the final nail in the coffin.
Gibson, Comtois Return from Injury
After missing the last two games, John Gibson returned from the lower-body injury that had been ailing him and started on Friday night against the Coyotes. He didn’t look his sharpest, however, allowing five goals and displaying questionable rebound control. If there was ever a team for Gibson to return against and be able to settle in, it would be the Coyotes, who have the second-worst goals-for total in the league––they were dead last prior to last night.
Max Comtois also returned from injury after spending a month on injured reserve. The forward last played on Nov. 11 against the Seattle Kraken. He underwent surgery to repair a broken bone in his right hand the following week and his recovery time was expected to be six weeks. But Comtois was deemed healthy enough to play in less than the expected recovery time and drew in on Friday. He had a couple of grade-A scoring chances, most notably a breakaway attempt against Scott Wedgewood, which the goaltender swept away before Comtois was able to get a shot off.
Comtois also came to the aid of Jamie Drysdale after the latter took a hard hit near the benches, courtesy of Liam O’Brien. Comtois ended up getting a roughing penalty for the act but he’s never been shy about defending his teammates and is doing anything he can to impress the coaching staff with his goal-scoring touch still defying him.
Silfverberg Reaches 300 Points with Ducks
Now in his ninth season with the Ducks, Jakob Silfverberg has been a reliable force since arriving in Anaheim during the summer of 2013 as part of the Bobby Ryan trade. He, along with Ryan Kesler and Andrew Cogliano, created a formidable shutdown line for former head coach Bruce Boudreau to utilize following Kesler’s acquisition in 2014.
Silfverberg has 631 career points, with 300 of those now coming with the Ducks. An assist on Derek Grant’s goal last night helped the Swede reach 300 points with the Ducks and now puts him just 24 points behind Rickard Rakell for seventh all-time on the Ducks points list.
Silfverberg has noticeably struggled since Kesler’s NHL career abruptly came to an end due to a degenerative hip and the former dealt with hip surgery of his own this offseason. He has looked like a much better player this season, playing alongside fellow Swede, Isac Lundestrom.
Sabres’ Ask For Eichel Was Too Much for Ducks
Before Jack Eichel was officially transported to Sin City, becoming a Vegas Golden Knight, the Ducks were one of the teams that were in the mix to acquire the former Buffalo Sabres’ star center. There were a lot of thoughts about what a trade package from the Ducks for Eichel could have looked like and I even wrote back in June about how the Ducks shouldn’t go for Eichel unless it came at the right price.
It seems that the Ducks were right to not go through with a deal for Eichel, given the supposed ask. Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman revealed on The Jeff Marek Show (skip to 20:35) that the Sabres reportedly asked for Drysdale, Trevor Zegras and two first-round picks. That’s one heck of an ask. Credit to Sabres general manager Kevyn Adams for trying but giving up both Zegras and Drysdale––who were reportedly untouchable to begin with––would have been seen as asinine.
Given how well Zegras and Drysdale have settled in during their first full NHL seasons, there’s a good chance that the Ducks would not be doing as well as they currently are if they had a currently-injured Eichel instead of their pair of star prospects. Speaking of injuries, the Ducks were not comfortable with Eichel undergoing artificial disk replacement surgery, which he is currently recovering from. “I think there’s two reasons Eichel was never a Duck and those two reasons were it,” said Friedman.
COVID-19 continues to wreak havoc on professional sports leagues around the world and has altered the Ducks’ schedule for next week. With the Calgary Flames having their games postponed through Christmas due to a COVID breakout, the Ducks will only play two games next week, on Monday against the Edmonton Oilers and Thursday against the Vancouver Canucks.
Still currently in first place in the Pacific Division due to the Flames’ situation and the Oilers’ rough skid this past week, the Ducks have a crucial set of games coming up with five more against divisional opponents to close out 2021.
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.