Jakob Silfverberg’s first NHL game was a 2012 playoff game against the New York Rangers. On April 23, 2012 he was brought from Sweden to face one of the NHL’s best in the first round of the playoffs. The Senators went on to lose the series, but there was no doubt Silfverberg benefited from the experience. He was traded in July of 2013 to the Anaheim Ducks in exchange for Bobby Ryan. The Ducks also received Stefan Noesen and the Senators 2014 first round draft pick (Nick Ritchie). Since then, Silfverberg has steadily improved each season he’s played in Anaheim.
Injury Riddled 2013-14
Silfverberg broke his hand early in his first campaign with Anaheim which was the 2013-14 season. He sustained the injury, ironically, against the Ottawa Senators. Before that injury he was the third player in Ducks history to score four goals in his first four games in the black and gold (which is now the black and orange). Silfverberg would go on to miss 24 games and it took him some time to get his form back in the regular season.
In the playoffs, however, Silfverberg proved himself to be a valuable asset for the Ducks on the penalty kill against the Kings. His two-way skill earned him more playing time and more trust from coach Bruce Boudreau. While the Ducks fell short, Silfverberg earned more trust in his next season with the Ducks, after signing a one year contract to return.
2014-15 Provides Opportunity with Kesler
In the summer of 2014, the Anaheim Ducks acquired second-line center, Ryan Kesler in a big trade for Anaheim after being soundly defeated by the Kings up the middle with the likes of Anze Kopitar and Jeff Carter. The Ducks had a weapon to use on both sides of the puck and the chance to play with Kesler was one that the young Ducks were all vying for. When I attended training camp, Silfverberg was the right wing that started out with Kesler (and would ultimately end the season on Kesler’s line). But with Boudreau, there is no permanent lines and Silfverberg would rotate up and down the lines.
Silfverberg became known over the season, not for his point production, but for his shootout skills. In the 14-15 season Silfverberg had the most shootout goals in the NHL with nine and had a shooting percentage of 69.2.
During the second half of the season, Silfverberg started to produce more points and his defensive abilities became well-known. Before the beginning of the 2015 playoffs Silfverberg set new highs in goals, assists, points, and games played. He was ready for his second playoff run with the Ducks, which is where the hockey world started to take notice of the young Swede.
Jakob’s Clutch Playoff Performance
Silfverberg rose to the occasion quickly in the 2015 playoffs for the Ducks. In a series where the Jets were favored to upset the higher-seeded Ducks in the first round, Silfverberg was teamed back up with Ryan Kesler. In game two, Silfverberg scored the go-ahead goal with 20 seconds remaining in the third.
Jakob would continue to produce with Ryan Kesler as his center for the remainder of the Ducks run in the playoffs. In the playoffs Silfverberg managed 18 points with 14 assists in 16 games matching team leaders Corey Perry and Ryan Getzlaf. He remained a force in the Ducks penalty kill and also received playing time on the power play. He was one of the Ducks most valuable playoff performers and caught the eye of everyone in the league in the process.
2015-16 Outlook with Kesler and Hagelin
The Ducks were one game away from making the Stanley Cup Final in 2015 and have already improved in the offseason. Acquired from the Rangers, Carl Hagelin comes to Anaheim with speed, scoring, and defensive ability. If Hagelin is put on the second line with Kesler and Silfverberg, the Ducks will have one of the best defensive second lines in the NHL. It also goes without mentioning that each of these players can rack up the points together.
Hagelin and Silfverberg are both restricted free agents who haven’t signed their agreements with the Ducks yet, but also haven’t elected for arbitration. It’s clear from Silfverberg’s playoff performance that Bob Murray will want to keep the winger around the Ducks for years to come. At 24 years old, it’s exciting to think about what else Silfverberg will do in the coming seasons.