The second half of this week’s Anaheim Ducks News & Rumors piece looks back at a collection of milestones along with Rickard Rakell’s injury and updates about the Ducks’ impending veteran free agents.
Henrique, Benoit Tally Milestones
Adam Henrique scored his 200th career goal on Thursday night against the Buffalo Sabres. The veteran forward whacked at a couple of chances before finally depositing a rebound past Craig Anderson to pull the Ducks within one.
Not wanting to be outdone, rookie defenseman Simon Benoit also notched his first career NHL goal, a shot from above the faceoff dot that handcuffed Craig Anderson and barely squeaked across the goal line, tying the game at three apiece.
The goal on Thursday night was a culmination of accomplishments for Benoit over the past few seasons. An undrafted free agent, he joined the Ducks organization prior to the 2018-19 season on an American Hockey League (AHL) deal and was rewarded with an entry-level deal at the end of that season.
He didn’t make the team out of training camp, but the waiving of Greg Pateryn and the inconsistent play of Josh Mahura gave Benoit an opportunity to play on the third defensive pair with Kevin Shattenkirk. Benoit is still young and there will be growing pains, but he’s making the most of his chances.
Rakell Injured Versus Sabres, Placed on IR
Rakell collided hard into the boards during Thursday’s overtime loss to the Buffalo Sabres and immediately skated to the bench. When it was clear that something didn’t feel right, he headed straight to the locker room after a quick sit on the bench. He was placed on injured reserve on Friday, with Vinni Lettieri being recalled from San Diego as a corresponding move.
It’s a blow offensively for the Ducks, as Rakell had four goals in eight games prior to his injury. He’s already halfway toward his goal total of last season (nine). With Rakell out, players like Troy Terry, Trevor Zegras, and Henrique will be relied on more to create offense.
Ducks Not Close with Veteran UFAs
The Fourth Period’s David Pagniotta reported on Thursday that the Ducks are not close to contract extensions with their trio of veteran unrestricted free agents in Hampus Lindholm, Josh Manson, and the aforementioned Rakell.
These three should draw a lot of trade interest as the season progresses, especially if the Ducks begin to fall in the standings. The status of Rakell’s injury could impact trade talks depending on how severe the injury is, but we should know more soon enough.
Getzlaf Ties Selanne, Groulx Gets First NHL Point
It’s been a week of milestones for the Ducks, with Henrique and Benoit getting their momentous goals. Ryan Getzlaf and Bo Groulx picked up milestones of their own in the Ducks’ shootout loss against the Vegas Golden Knights on Friday. Troy Terry’s nifty backhand goal was assisted by both Groulx and Getzlaf, giving Groulx his first career NHL point and putting Getzlaf in a tie with Teemu Selanne for the Ducks all-time points lead.
It’s been a rough start to Groulx’s NHL career, as he has had to make due playing on the fourth line with Nic Deslauriers and Derek Grant. More often than not, the Ducks’ fourth line has gotten hemmed in and been responsible for a number of goals against.
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Getzlaf will get his next shot at passing Selanne on Sunday when the Ducks come home to face the Montreal Canadiens for a Halloween matinee. The captain will be an unrestricted free agent at the end of this season but he has a full no-movement clause (NMC), which means that the decision to be traded––if it comes to that––is fully up to him.
It was a tough week for the Ducks, as they suffered three consecutive one-goal losses. After mounting furious comeback efforts against both the Sabres and the Golden Knights, the Ducks would fall in overtime and the shootout. The good news is that the team has consistently been in games and have only suffered one blowout thus far. It’s a stark contrast from last season’s team and has made this season’s team far more enjoyable to watch.