The Anaheim Ducks might be hoping that the end to this season comes a lot quicker, given the way they’ve been playing lately. But the remaining games they have left are an audition of sorts for a few players looking to make a good impression ahead of the 2022-23 season.
Getzlaf, Milano Return from Injury
Ducks captain Ryan Getzlaf returned to the lineup on Saturday after a nine-game absence due to an unspecified lower-body injury. He looked noticeably rusty in his first game back, but still managed nearly 17 minutes of ice time. Sonny Milano also returned to the Ducks’ lineup last night after sitting out for a little over a week due to an upper-body injury. He slotted onto the top line in his return and had 17 minutes of ice time.
Mayhew Scores First Ducks Goal
It’s been a little over a week since the Ducks claimed Gerry Mayhew off waivers from the Philadelphia Flyers. The diminutive winger had extensive experience in the American Hockey League (AHL) but very little NHL experience.
However, he was a player that many Flyers fans rued losing and his impact since joining the Ducks has been widespread. After drawing four penalties and saving what appeared to be a sure goal in his Ducks debut, Mayhew tallied his first goal as a Duck in Saturday’s 4-1 loss to the San Jose Sharks.
While Mayhew is likely just a placeholder while the young guns in San Diego continue to develop, he has left his mark already in a very short period of time. It’s possible that he could end up being a valuable depth piece that can be shuttled between the NHL and AHL, much like teammates Vinni Lettieri and Buddy Robinson.
Jones Returns to Practice
Max Jones has played in just two games this season after tearing his pectoral muscle against the Calgary Flames on Oct. 18.
The expected recovery time for Jones was four to six months and the longer end of that recovery period is slowly approaching. He joined the Ducks for an optional skate on Tuesday, donning a yellow non-contact jersey.
“We’re not going to push that. He’s out on the ice. It’s amazing. You put a kid like that on the ice. It’s been a long year, right? It’s been a long year on the bike. It’s been a long year working out. Getting back on the ice, it’s almost like his personality has changed. He’s happier.”Ducks head coach Dallas Eakins (from ‘Ducks want Urho Vaakanainen to ‘go out there and play’’, Orange County Register, 03/29/22)
The end of the regular season for the Ducks is April 29, giving Jones just under a month’s time to try and get back to the point where he would be able to play in an actual game.
Vaakanainen Makes Ducks Debut
Defenseman Urho Vaakanainen made his Ducks debut in last night’s game against the Dallas Stars, his first NHL game since Feb. 19, when he was still with the Boston Bruins. It wasn’t a needle-moving debut by any means, but he did come close to scoring his first-ever NHL goal.
After heading to Anaheim along with fellow defenseman John Moore and a slew of draft picks were dealt to the Ducks in exchange for Hampus Lindholm, Vaakanainen has a chance for a fresh start. The left-handed blueliner has struggled to find consistent ice time during his short NHL career to this point and his development has also been hampered by a series of injuries. He joins a left-sided defense that includes Cam Fowler, Simon Benoit and Josh Mahura. He will likely be battling it out with the latter two for ice time the remainder of the season.
With yet another loss last night against the Stars to extend their losing streak to 10 games, the Ducks are limping into the final month of their season after what appeared to be a bright start during the month of November.
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