This week’s edition of Anaheim Ducks News & Rumors covers the veterans again (shocker, I know) along with some updates on a pair of Ducks draft picks.
Henrique Discusses Present and Future
The Ducks’ veterans have not been shy about letting their feelings known this offseason. First, it was the end of season interviews. Then, there was the admittedly minuscule uncertainty about whether Ryan Getzlaf would return to the Ducks, and then his subsequent interviews about where he felt the team needed to be and why he decided to stay with the only NHL team he’s ever known. Goaltender John Gibson and defenseman Hampus Lindholm have also voiced their opinions about where they feel that the team needs to be ahead of the 2021-22 season. Now, it’s Adam Henrique’s turn.
The forward captained Team Canada at the IIHF World Championships this summer and helped lead them to a gold medal, after the team started the tournament with an 0-3 record. Henrique said he put a little more pressure on himself to succeed at the World Championships, and that he never doubted the decision to play for Team Canada, even after a tumultuous 2020-21 season during which he was placed on waivers (from, ‘Ducks forward Adam Henrique determined to put the past in the past’, The Orange County Register, 10/04/21).
With the new season comes a fresh start for Henrique. “No. 1, I don’t give a crap how his season went last season,” said Ducks head coach, Dallas Eakins (from, ‘Adam Henrique on his Ducks future and making the most of his present’ The Athletic, 10/01/21). Though Henrique spent most of last season down the middle, the logjam of centers means that the veteran has spent most of training camp at left wing. Eakins insists that Henrique is still a center, but with Getzlaf, Trevor Zegras and Isac Lundestrom all set for full-time center duty (and Bo Groulx lurking as well), it’s difficult to imagine that Henrique will be anywhere but on the wing this season.
Manson Injury Could Affect Roster Decisions
The Ducks will be without one of their mainstay defenseman for the time being. Josh Manson suffered a lower-body injury last week and has been out of the lineup ever since. With just one preseason game remaining before the start of the regular season, that means another spot on the blue line could be available for the taking. After another series of roster cuts on Wednesday morning, 10 defensemen remain. But five of them will most certainly be on the Ducks’ opening night roster in Cam Fowler, Hampus Lindholm, Kevin Shattenkirk, Jamie Drysdale and Manson. That leaves just one regular spot on defense for a myriad different players.
That number will dwindle by one once Olen Zellweger is returned to the Everett Silvertips in the Western Hockey League (WHL), but there is still a logjam at the back-end of the blue line. Jacob Larsson, Greg Pateryn, Josh Mahura, Simon Benoit and the recently added Ben Hutton are all competing for a spot on the Ducks’ third defensive pair. Manson’s condition should be updated this week, but this could be an opportunity for one of the other defensemen to grab their chance.
Galimov Scores Wicked Shorty, Sundsvik on Scoresheet
Though the NHL regular season won’t be underway for another week, the Kontinental Hockey League (KHL) season has been underway for just over a month. Artyom Galimov, who was drafted by the Ducks in the fifth round of the 2020 NHL Entry Draft, has gotten off to a strong start. He has six points in 15 games, including this sweet shorthanded goal.
The first Russian drafted by the Ducks in over a decade, Galimov had a slow regular season performance in 2020-21 before turning it up in the playoffs. His ability to play on the penalty kill is something that won’t go unnoticed and he has the skill and ability to be someone who can move up and down the lineup.
Fellow 2020 Ducks draft pick Albin Sundsvik also scored this week for Skellefteå in the Champions Hockey League tournament. Sundsvik has five points in five games. The Ducks’ 2020 draft class already looks promising, with sixth overall pick Drysdale set for his first full NHL season at age 19 and fellow first-round pick Jacob Perreault close to joining the Ducks within the next couple of seasons.
The start of the 2021-22 NHL season is just around the corner. The Ducks have plenty to do prior to that, but there is plenty to be excited about when it comes to Zegras, Drysdale and many of the Ducks’ young players.
Derek Lee is a contributor for The Hockey Writers covering the Anaheim Ducks. Derek has spent nearly two decades immersed in the world of sports and has been writing about sports for five years. He graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Sports Communication in May 2020 from UCCS in Colorado Springs, Colo., where he also spent two and a half years on staff with their on-campus student newspaper–both as a sports reporter and editor. In his free time, he enjoys playing FIFA, curating his Spotify playlists and attending concerts & sporting events