This week’s edition of Anaheim Ducks News & Rumors covers Ryan Kesler accepting the fact that his NHL career is over, Tobias Rieder signing a professional tryout (PTO) with the Ducks, and the national TV schedule for the Ducks for this upcoming season.
Kesler Accepts NHL Career is Over
Though he hasn’t appeared in an NHL game since the 2018-19 season, Kesler has undergone multiple hip surgeries not only with an eye toward a return to the game of hockey, but to have a better quality of life once his playing career is over. After undergoing his second hip surgery in two years, the former Selke Trophy winner is now focused on only the latter scenario.
“I don’t think I’ll ever get to an NHL level again,” said Kesler in an NHL.com article. “I’m just hoping to get to a level that I’m happy at.” He also said that he began to hate the game of hockey during the final years of his playing career because of how much pain he was in.
Kesler has now accepted the fact that his playing career is effectively over now, but does still skate three times a week to remain in shape. He was also recently named a volunteer assistant coach with the U.S. National Team Development Program (U.S. NTDP) Under-18 team. It’s close to home for him, who grew up and now again lives close by the NTDP’s home arena.
Rieder Signs PTO with Ducks
After two subpar seasons with the Calgary Flames and Buffalo Sabres, Rieder is attempting to latch on with the Ducks. A PTO means that he will have the chance to impress during training camp and––if he does––earn a spot on the opening night roster. A flier like this is similar to the one that the Ducks took on Ben Hutton last season. Hutton signed a PTO shortly before training camp and impressed enough to earn a spot on the team. He remained a fixture on the third defensive pair up until when he was traded at the deadline to the Toronto Maple Leafs for a fifth-round draft pick.
Given the Ducks’ large number of young forwards who are or close to NHL-ready, it may be difficult for Rieder to carve out a spot–but he can play on the penalty kill and has shown flashes of scoring ability in the past. He could become a replacement for Carter Rowney, who signed with the Detroit Red Wings this offseason after becoming an unrestricted free agent.
Ducks to Have 11 Games on ESPN, Hulu & TNT
The Walt Disney Company and Turner Sports announced their broadcast schedules for the upcoming NHL season this week, with the Ducks having 11 games across ESPN and ESPN+, Hulu, and TNT.
The Ducks will have four games on national TV, with three of them being on TNT. Their Freeway Faceoff game against the Los Angeles Kings on April 19 will be on ESPN. They will also have seven additional games on ESPN+/Hulu. Their first national TV game of the season will be at home on October 15 against the Minnesota Wild.
One game in particular from the TNT trio stands out. It will be the Ducks’ first time playing at home against the NHL’s newest team, the Seattle Kraken. Having a game like this on national TV is an excellent way to grow the game of hockey. If the Kraken replicates the early success of the Vegas Golden Knights, this game will draw plenty of viewers.
In other news, the Ducks’ rookies begin play tonight in Arizona as part of the Rookie Faceoff Tournament which includes the Golden Knights, the Kings, the San Jose Sharks, the Colorado Avalanche and of course, the hosts, the Arizona Coyotes. The rookie Ducks’ first game will be at 5 P.M. PT against the Sharks. Stream information is available by clicking here.
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.