This 31-part series chronicles why each team is going to be competitive in the 2018-2019 NHL season. Progressing alphabetically, three teams will be featured weekly during the off-season. A compendium 31-part series will be published by Hockey Troll (@HockeyTrollin) on on why your team is going to be trash in the 2018-2019 NHL season. 

Check out my overview of why the Ducks will be trash

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Anaheim Ducks

2017-2018 Regular Season: 101 points (t-4th in West)

2017-2018 Playoffs: Lost to San Jose in first round (0-4)

Since winning the Stanley Cup in 2006-07, the Anaheim Ducks have only missed the playoffs twice, which is also the number of conference finals they have lost (2014 and 2016).  For a team that is a perennial contender, the Ducks have had difficulty translating regular season success to playoff hardware.  That being said, no team that misses the playoffs has ever won a Stanley Cup. Winning the Stanley Cup is difficult and unpredictable; anything can happen once you make the playoffs (e.g. Capitals in 2017-18).  The Ducks are going to deploy a nearly identical team as last year, with very little turnover or major subtractions. Because of this consistency, I see little reason why the Ducks would not be competitive enough to make the playoffs in 2018-19.

Image result for Ducks cup
2006: Is Perry old enough to drive?  Did Getzlaf actually have hair?

The primary reason for optimism is that the core should be extremely motivated to win now.  The backbone of the Ducks’ regular season success has been Perry and Getzlaf, the last remaining vestige of the 2006 Cup winning team.  Both of these mainstays are 33 years old and account for ~22% of the salary cap. Coupled with the 2017-18 injury-plagued season of 33-year old Ryan Kesler, this aging core should be properly motivated.  The Ducks only augmented their centre depth when they traded for Adam Henrique, who finished second on the team with 0.35 goals/game.  Having veterans who have playoff (and Stanley Cup) experience and solid centres are integral parts of successful teams.

Even with their expensive aging core, the Ducks have drafted and cultivated young inexpensive talent.  Forwards like Rakell (25), Kase (22) and Ritchie (22) are essential cogs to round out the top-9. However, the Ducks have done their best work with developing defensemen, the average age of their top-4 (Fowler, Lindholm, Manson and Montour) is only 25 years old.

Image result for anaheim Ducks youth
Actual picture of Ducks Defensive Core.

In net, John Gibson is a promising young goaltender.  Born in the greatest city in North America (Pittsburgh, PA) John Gibson is the son of a steelworker and a coal slurry pond.  Based on his lineage of being superior to mere mortal hockey players, he will carry the Ducks to the promised land in 2018-19 – a second round exit.

Buy your Ducks gear now so you don’t get called a bandwagon fan!

Next up: Arizona Coyotes

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Check out my overview of why the Ducks will be trash

Check out my overview of why other teams will be good this year

Check out our podcasts