Ducks News & Rumors: Zegras, Coaching Changes & More

It is officially the offseason for the Anaheim Ducks and it’s one that will once again be filled with promise. Another top-10 pick is likely in store for the Ducks, which means adding to their young core as they continue to embark down the path of rebuilding the franchise to its former glory days.

Ducks Will Pick 10th in 2022 NHL Entry Draft

The lottery for the 2022 NHL Entry Draft was held this past Tuesday, May 10, with the Ducks holding the 10th-best odds for the ping-pong balls to fall in their favor and grant them the first-overall pick. In recent years, the draft lottery has not been favorable to the Ducks as they’ve seen their draft position fall lower than projected on multiple occasions. This time around, the organization remained in their projected draft spot.

Now that general manager Pat Verbeek and company know where they will select in the upcoming draft, the shortlist of potential candidates for their first pick becomes just a bit smaller. While there is always the chance that the pick could end up being dealt for proven talent, it is likely the Ducks will add another high-upside player to the young core of recent draft picks.

Zegras Named Finalist for Calder

Speaking of the young core, the one who is currently spearheading it is Trevor Zegras, who was named a finalist for the Calder Memorial Trophy this past week. The Calder is awarded to the player selected as most proficient in his first year of competition in the NHL and Zegras would undoubtedly fit the bill for that criteria.

The 20-year-old was second on the team in both goals scored and total points, behind only Troy Terry, who had a breakout season of his own. Zegras’ 61 points also set a new franchise record for total points in a single season, breaking Bobby Ryan’s previous mark of 57.

Zegras was also all over the NHL’s highlight reel this season, scoring not one but two lacrosse-style goals, providing an otherworldly assist to Sonny Milano in December against the Buffalo Sabres and dazzling at the NHL All-Star Weekend in Las Vegas in February with his silky-smooth attempt in the Breakaway Challenge.

Trevor Zegras Anaheim Ducks
Trevor Zegras, Anaheim Ducks (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

With Ryan Getzlaf announcing his retirement just weeks before the season concluded, the No. 1 center job now looks like it’s certainly Zegras’ for the taking. Along with Isac Lundestrom and potentially Mason McTavish, the Ducks could have a promising trio down the middle next season.

Verbeek Cleans House in San Diego, Ward Leaves Ducks’ Coaching Staff

After adding Rob DiMaio to the front office last week, Verbeek has continued to swirl the winds of change within the Ducks’ organization. This time, the changes came down in the American Hockey League (AHL) with the San Diego Gulls. Gulls head coach Joel Bouchard and assistant coaches Daniel Jacob and Maxime Talbot were relieved of their duties after just one season with the team.

When Verbeek joined the Ducks’ organization during the middle of this past season, it didn’t take long for his influence to be imprinted. Hampus Lindholm, Josh Manson and Nicolas Deslauriers were all shipped out after failing to reach contract extensions prior to the trade deadline and assistant general manager Dave Nonis left prior to the end of this season in order to pursue other opportunities.

Related: Ducks 2022 Offseason Player Reviews: Troy Terry

In other coaching news, Ducks assistant coach Geoff Ward has decided to leave the team for personal reasons. Ward joined the Ducks’ coaching staff this past summer and was a large influence for the team’s power play. Not only will Verbeek need to replace an entire coaching staff in San Diego, but he will also have to find another assistant to aid head coach Dallas Eakins in Anaheim as well now.

It was clear a new era was set to take shape once Verbeek took over and this offseason will be the first step in shaping the organization into his own image. Getzlaf’s retirement closes the book on a yesteryear era of Ducks hockey, one that fans will hope to see again sometime in the future when the Ducks improve enough to become playoff contenders once again.

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