A new year brings plenty of change and for the Anaheim Ducks, it means they’re just a few months closer to the trade deadline. With the team finding themselves in the bottom five in the standings, it’s presumed that many of their players on expiring contracts will find themselves on a different team before the end of this season. As for the current team’s performance, they offset a putrid showing on Dec. 2 with a pair of big wins to close out the week.
Gibson Ties Hebert in Wins, Gets First Shutout of 2022-23
The last few seasons haven’t been as consistent for goaltender John Gibson, but he had a strong performance on Jan. 4, shutting out the Dallas Stars. It was Gibson’s first shutout of the season and his first shutout in over 14 months.
Gibson also tied Guy Hebert for second all-time in franchise history for wins with 173. Only Jean-Sebastien Giguere stands between Anaheim’s current starting goaltender and the top spot for wins in franchise history with 206.
Beaulieu Assigned to Conditioning Loan
Defenseman Nathan Beaulieu was assigned to a conditioning loan in the American Hockey League (AHL) on Jan. 5 and promptly scored a goal in his first game with the San Diego Gulls, helping lead them to a 5-0 win. Beaulieu joined the Ducks during training camp on a professional tryout (PTO) and eventually signed a one-year deal prior to the start of the regular season.
Terry Named All-Star for Second Time in Career
For the second season in a row, Troy Terry is an NHL All-Star. With the help of Troy Aikman, Terry’s father’s favorite Dallas Cowboys player, the announcement was made to the Ducks forward in front of him and all of his teammates. He is the fifth forward in franchise history to be selected multiple times for the All-Star Game after Paul Kariya, Teemu Selanne, Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry.
After making the All-Star Game last season as part of the Last Man In vote, this is the first time that Terry has been selected as one of the initial picks. He currently has 33 points in 40 games and leads the Ducks in points and assists.
Trio of Prospects Win Gold with Team Canada
Team Canada collected another World Juniors gold medal with their overtime victory over Czechia on Dec. 5, courtesy of the Arizona Coyotes’ Dylan Guenther. Three Ducks prospects were part of that team: Olen Zellweger, Tyson Hinds and Nathan Gaucher.
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Zellweger was a staple on Canada’s power-play unit and was part of their top defensive pairing alongside Chicago Blackhawks prospect Ethan Del Mastro. He had six points (all assists) in seven games and almost pulled off one of the goals of the tournament with a nifty spin move in Canada’s game against Team USA.
Gaucher centered Canada’s checking line and spent most of his time playing alongside Vegas Golden Knights prospect Zach Dean and Ottawa Senators prospect Zack Ostapchuk. He was essential in the faceoff circle and it was his hard work and feed that set up Zellweger in the game against Team USA. He had three points (one game) in seven games.
Hinds played the role of the more defensive-minded partner in his pairings, spending time with the more offensively-minded Brandt Clarke (Los Angeles Kings) and Kevin Korchinski (Chicago Blackhawks). He also managed to get on the scoreboard twice during the seven games he played in.
All three prospects have already signed their entry-level contracts (ELCs) with the Ducks, with Hinds having recently signed his just a few months ago. All three will be eligible to play in the AHL next season.
Stolarz Returns from Injury
Goaltender Anthony Stolarz returned from injury last night after missing nearly a month of action and faced the San Jose Sharks for the third time this season. It was a rough start for Stolarz as the Sharks scored just over a minute into the game, but he made some key stops down the stretch to keep the Ducks in the game. Though he did end up allowing four goals, he came away with the win after the Ducks rallied to tie the game multiple times and finished it off in overtime.
Stolarz is an unrestricted free agent at the end of this season and the assumption is that he will be in a different uniform following the March 3 trade deadline. With Lukáš Dostál showing he is NHL-ready and Gibson unlikely to be traded, the most beneficial decision would be for Ducks general manager Pat Verbeek to find a playoff contender looking for goaltending depth and gauge their interest in Stolarz.
McTavish Has First Career Multi-Goal Game
Mason McTavish was elevated to the first line prior to the Dec. 4 matchup against the Stars and it appears that he enjoys the new role quite a bit.
A goal and an assist in his first game centering the top line was topped by the first multi-goal game of his career against the Sharks. His four points in total in the overtime win made him the second-youngest player in franchise history to have a 4-plus point game behind Stanislav Chistov.
McTavish has found success wherever he’s gone to this point—and he’s been almost everywhere already—and it’s beginning to show at the NHL level on a more consistent level now. Along with Trevor Zegras, the Ducks look to have their one-two punch down the middle.
The Ducks have just three games remaining on their franchise-record 10-game homestand, in which they have gone 3-3-1 to this point. Their next game will be Sunday, Dec. 8 against the Boston Bruins, who currently hold the best record in the league by a wide margin. They’ll also welcome back old friend Hampus Lindholm, who was traded to the Bruins last season at the trade deadline.
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