With three straight losses since the All-Star break, the Anaheim Ducks are struggling. They have lost four in a row dating back to their final game prior to the All-Star break, and they were thoroughly bested this week by the Calgary Flames and Edmonton Oilers, two teams they are competing with in the Pacific Division playoff race.
Lundestrom Ties Franchise Record for Shorthanded Goals
Isac Lundestrom has settled in well to the third line center role this season for the Ducks and continues to be a reliable option on the penalty kill. On Thursday, his shorthanded goal was his fourth of the season, tying a Ducks franchise record for shorthanded goals in a season.
Now in his fourth NHL season but second full season, Lundestrom has struggled to adjust to the tempo of the NHL game. But this season has seen the forward anchor the third line center role behind Ryan Getzlaf and Trevor Zegras. Lundestrom is a restricted free agent this summer and should get a nice bump in salary with his next contract.
Lindholm to Test Free Agent Market, Manson Looking to Stay, Rakell Trade?
One of three names that have carried a lot of buzz in the trade market out of Anaheim, Hampus Lindholm looks set to test the free agency market, according to The Fourth Period’s Dennis Bernstein. The Ducks would certainly like to bring back their first-round pick from the 2012 NHL Entry Draft, but the Swede intends to see what kind of offers he can get on the open market first.
Contrarily, fellow defenseman Josh Manson is determined to keep his career in Anaheim beyond this season, says Bernstein. With a 12-team no-trade clause, Manson has made it clear that he will not waive his clause to be traded to the Toronto Maple Leafs or Edmonton Oilers, two teams that have shown interest in the 30-year-old. Manson is currently on injured reserve after suffering a finger injury last month.
Rickard Rakell is the last of the big Ducks trio headed to unrestricted free agency this summer. He has just 22 points in 41 games but has scored in three of the last five games and would provide scoring depth for a playoff team in need.
As the Ducks continue to fall down the standings, it makes sense to return assets for their departing players. Rakell would be the easiest to move because of his team-friendly salary and the ever-present need for scoring wingers.
Getzlaf Day-to-Day with Lower-Body Injury
Getzlaf missed Thursday night’s game against the Edmonton Oilers with a lower-body injury. He is currently day-to-day, and his status for tonight’s game against the Vancouver Canucks is currently unknown.
Losing your captain is always a blow for a team, especially when it’s a player like Getzlaf, who often ends up being the straw that stirs the Ducks’ drink. Sam Steel drew in on the top line in Getzlaf’s absence after being scratched on Wednesday, but the latter presence was greatly missed as the Ducks fell 7-3 to the Oilers.
Will Eakins Be Back Next Season?
Ducks head coach Dallas Eakins is currently in the final season of a three-year contract. Things haven’t exactly been smooth sailing since the former Oilers head coach was promoted to the head coach role after several seasons of success with the San Diego Gulls in the American Hockey League (AHL).
Given the recent addition of general manager Pat Verbeek, the remainder of the season feels like it could be an open audition for Eakins on whether or not Verbeek will decide to retain Eakins’ services beyond this season. Verbeek has been traveling around the continent, taking in the performances of Ducks prospects alongside the performances of the big club. (from, ‘Pat Verbeek hits the road with the Ducks, and gets a clear view of their issues after two bad losses,’ The Athletic, 02/18/22)
Though the Ducks have managed to exceed expectations after finishing second-to-last in the league last season, their hot start this season has reached an ice-cold level of late. They may claim they have the resolve needed to get past yet another speed bump, but it certainly hasn’t shown in their play since returning from the short break.
The Ducks will look to get back on track tonight against the Canucks and then will return home on Tuesday to face the San Jose Sharks. This will be the first of a six-game homestand that extends into the month of March.
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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