As the trade deadline of April 12 quickly approaches, the Anaheim Ducks concluded their eighth and final series matchup against the Colorado Avalanche. No. 1 goaltender Philipp Grubauer got some much needed rest for the Avalanche and the Ducks were unable to solve Jonas Johansson, only scoring one meager goal over the course of the two-game series.
Defenseman Josh Manson is never one to shy away from a hit and his physicality was on full display. A couple of big hits had some of the Avalanche players tentative when engaging in battles around the boards. Manson’s defense partner, Jamie Drysdale, also looked to take the body, and the pair was utilized by head coach Dallas Eakins to match-up against the Avalanche top line of Nathan MacKinnon, Gabriel Landeskog and Mikko Rantanen.
Much like Cam Fowler and Jani Hakanpaa, the combination of Manson and Drysdale has reaped fair rewards to this point. Although both are right-handed shots, the big veteran and the smooth-skating youngster have meshed quickly since being put together. Drysdale is just 11 games into his NHL career, but hasn’t really missed a beat — he scored his second career goal on Sunday — and will only continue to improve as the season goes on.
Aside from a five-goal outburst against the San Jose Sharks last Tuesday, the Ducks haven’t really been able to produce more than two goals per game. It becomes an even bigger issue when you take into account how porous the team has been on defense this season as well. The combination of the two has predictably resulted in wins being far and few throughout the season.
The Ducks are also dead-last in the league in both power-play percentage and power-play goals. Not converting on the man-advantage has been a bit of a dead weight for the Ducks over the last several seasons. The last time that the team did not have a bottom-10 power play was when they made it all the way to the Western Conference Final during the 2016-17 season. It should be no coincidence that they haven’t sniffed the playoffs much since then.
Manson and Jakob Silfverberg accrued 400 and 600 games in the NHL, respectively, this series, with Manson’s 400th coming in the first game and Silfverberg’s 600th coming in the latter end of the two-game series. Manson, who was part of the Ducks’ spectacular 2011 Draft class, has provided excellent value since the start of his NHL career. Paired with Hampus Lindholm, the two made for a formidable defensive duo during the team’s 2017 playoff run.
Silfverberg has been a mark of consistency since being acquired from the Ottawa Senators in the Bobby Ryan trade in 2013. His play with Andrew Cogliano and Ryan Kesler over the span of several seasons resulted in a fearsome checking line that effectively neutralized players like Connor McDavid during the playoffs.
Ryan Getzlaf and Derek Grant also made their returns to the lineup in the second game of the series after missing time due to injury and illness respectively. David Backes and Chase de Leo made way for the pair. Getzlaf leads the team in power-play goals (3) and Grant is an important asset on the penalty kill, so their returns were a welcome sight.
It’s been quite apparent for a while that the Ducks would once again be sellers at the trade deadline. The deadline is today at 3 p.m. EST and no dominos have fallen yet for the Ducks. However, a deal that would send Nicolas Deslauriers to the Pittsburgh Penguins was rumored prior to puck drop on Sunday. Rickard Rakell has also been subject to several trade rumors and it would not be surprising if Sunday marked his final game as a Duck. Manson has also been included in trade talks and looks likely to depart given his impending free agent status next season.
One player who is unlikely to be headed out the door is Ryan Getzlaf. The captain determines his own future and unless he says otherwise, he will be playing out the remainder of the season with the Ducks. The lineup could look extremely different tomorrow night against the San Jose Sharks if some deals are made.