Ducks News & Rumors: Steel, Milano & More

The second part of this week’s Anaheim Ducks News & Rumors focuses on Sam Steel and Sonny Milano’s season debuts, along with hot starts to the season from Troy Terry and Kevin Shattenkirk.

Steel Shines in Season Debut

With Max Jones and Mason McTavish being placed on injured reserve, an opportunity arose for Steel. A healthy scratch through the first three games of the season, Steel made an impact right away, tallying two goals on Tuesday night against the Edmonton Oilers. The first goal was a hopeful shot on net that slipped under Mike Smith’s pad. The second goal displayed much more skill, as he drove past Tyson Barrie and pulled hard onto the backhand before depositing the puck past Smith.

Steel didn’t show much during the preseason, which was a major reason he was a scratch to begin the season. He’s played on the wing in both games he’s appeared in so far, which may give him more freedom to operate offensively. This is a player who scored 131 points in one season during juniors, so there’s plenty of skill there. Jones and McTavish will be out for at least a week, so Steel will have a few more games to justify sticking in the lineup once both of them return.

Milano Debuts, Comtois Scratched

Also making his season debut this week was Milano, who was a surprise cut from training camp. Milano played in one game with the San Diego Gulls in the AHL this season prior to his call-up, registering an assist. Although he was a minus-2 in his season debut against the Winnipeg Jets, Milano showed great chemistry alongside Terry and Ryan Getzlaf––whom he lined up with during training camp––and had a couple of good takeaways on the forecheck.

Sonny Milano Anaheim Ducks
Sonny Milano, Anaheim Ducks (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

While Milano came in, it was Max Comtois who came out in his place. The Ducks’ leading goalscorer last season, Comtois, has gotten off to quite a slow start this season. He has zero points through four games and sports a minus-5 rating. While plus-minus isn’t exactly indicative of how good or bad a player is performing, he’ is tied for the worst on the team. The forward was also scratched for a game last season due to what head coach Dallas Eakins called “a lack of effort,” but this feels more like a one-off.

Terry, Shattenkirk Performing Well

The Ducks may be 2-3-0 on the season, but they’ve had important contributions from players up and down the lines. Most notably, Terry and Shattenkirk have gotten off to tremendous starts. After being blanked in the season opener, Terry has five points in his last three games. After a poor debut season with the Ducks last year, Shattenkirk has already eclipsed his goals total from last season and has registered a point in every single one of the Ducks’ games this season. His five-game point streak is the longest by a defenseman in franchise history.

Related: Ducks’ Injuries Create Opportunites for Steel & Carrick

Rewarded with a new contract prior to last season, Terry looks poised to be one of the Ducks’ breakout players, much like Comtois was for the team last season. A bounceback season from Shattenkirk is exactly what the Ducks need. With Hampus Lindholm and Josh Manson back healthy and Jamie Drysdale continuing his development as an NHL defenseman, the Ducks could get offensive contributions from nearly all of their blue line.

After a fantastic overtime win against the Calgary Flames on Monday, the Ducks have now suffered losses in consecutive games to the Oilers and the Jets. Their four-game road trip will conclude on Saturday against the Minnesota Wild and the Ducks will be looking to do better than their last game against the Wild, where they conceded the go-ahead goal in the final minute of the third period.

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