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A virus swept through the Ducks’ dressing room, leaving team captain Ryan Getzlaf in such rough shape that coach Dallas Eakins kicked him off the ice during Friday’s practice at Prudential Center. Getzlaf’s availability for Saturday’s game against the New York Islanders was uncertain.

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It could create a difficult challenge for the Ducks when they face one of the NHL’s top teams.

Or it could create an opportunity for one of their young players.

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The Ducks didn’t recall Isac Lundestrom from their AHL team in San Diego to sit in the press box munching popcorn while his teammates actually play the games. They summoned Lundestrom, a 20-year-old rookie center, to the NHL to learn, to grow, to contribute and to play a vital role.

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“Lundestrom has been really solid down there,” Eakins said of his play in San Diego, where he’s had nine points (two goals, seven assists) in 21 games. “He’s played well. I thought he was one of our better forwards, if not our two or three best forwards the other night.”

Eakins referred to the Ducks’ 3-1 loss Wednesday to the New Jersey Devils. Lundestrom played 18:37 after playing Tuesday for the Gulls in a shootout loss to Grand Rapids in San Diego, then awaking early to fly cross country to join the Ducks only a few hours before they faced the Devils.

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Lundestrom skated with fellow Swedes Rickard Rakell and Jakob Silfverberg to start Wednesday’s game and was credited with two shots, one that was on target and one that was blocked. Lundestrom won five of nine faceoffs (56 percent).

“His first look this time around has been a very favorable one,” Eakins said. “Again, (Friday) in practice, really, really good. He’s detailed. He’s competitive. He was executing. So, he’s earning everything he’s getting right now. This isn’t just a given.”

No question, Lundestrom and Max Jones, a 21-year-old left wing, might be with Gulls rather than with the Ducks if not for injuries to right wing Troy Terry and center Derek Grant earlier this week. The Ducks needed help and Lundestrom and Jones were recalled from San Diego.

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Terry, 22, is another young player who had earned a significant role with the Ducks. He’s expected to be sidelined for up to 10 weeks after breaking his fibula right below his right kneecap following a knee-to-knee hit from Nicolas Aube-Kubel of the Philadelphia Flyers on Tuesday.

Lundestrom played 15 games with the Ducks last season, after they selected him on the first round of the 2018 draft (23rd overall). He also played 12 games with the Gulls before returning to play with Lulea in his native Sweden, then returning to play seven games in the AHL playoffs.

Eakins certainly was impressed during his limited time with Lundestrom in San Diego. Eakins coached the Gulls for four seasons before the Ducks hired him to be their coach, after Randy Carlyle was fired last February and general manager Bob Murray assumed the coaching duties himself.

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“As much as we would have liked to have had him in San Diego or with the Ducks last year, he did go play in a man’s league,” Eakins said of Lundestrom’s decision to play in Sweden last season. “That Swedish league isn’t some kids’ league. It’s a very, very good league.

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What does Eakins like most about Lundestrom?
“He’s got really good habits,” Eakins said. “Like, real good pro habits. Sometimes it takes guys a while to develop that when they’re that age. He already has them. To me, the good pros are the ones who come in every day and they do everything that’s been required and then do more.

“Take practice, it’s not just, ‘OK, I’m out here practicing,’” Eakins said. “There’s a compete level. There’s an execution level that not only are we looking for, but the player has his own standards, as well. We can ask, we can push, we can pull as a staff, but it always comes down to what are your standards? What are your self-imposed standards?

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“His standards are high.”

The New Jersey Devils are one of the worst teams in the league, both from a standings perspective and a shot metrics perspective. What many believed was the team that won the offseason last summer have now fired their coach they extended last year and have traded their best player, Taylor Hall, to the Arizona Coyotes. It makes sense that, given the good overall play of the Anaheim Ducks in recent weeks, that the Ducks should win this game.

I’m here to tell you that dreams are meaningless and wins in hockey are apparently a myth.

The Ducks dropped the second game of their back-to-back last night by a score of 3-1. While they weren’t as dominant as they were in Philadelphia the night before, they certainly played a better game than the Devils did. Unfortunately, the continuing theme of not being able to finish their chances and isolated defensive and goaltending lapses meant that Anaheim wasn’t able to turn the run of play into a win.

Before the game, fans received news that Troy Terry would be out with a broken bone below the kneecap for 10 weeks, Derek Grant (somehow the Ducks’ 5th leading scorer) would miss 4-6 weeks with a shoulder injury, and Jacob Larsson would be day-to-day with an undisclosed upper body injury. While the loss of these players certainly hurts, they’re not exactly the difference between the lottery and playoffs.

The only Ducks goal of the game came on a perfectly executed 2 on 0 rush from a completely blown breakout by the Devils. Ondrej Kase got in on goaltender McKenzie Blackwood and fed a perfect cross ice pass to Adam Henrique who one-timed it into the open net, giving Anaheim a 1-0 lead in the first period.

That would be it for the offense, however, as the second period saw Michael Del Zotto cause a turnover for Jesper Bratt who delivered it to former first overall pick Nico Hischier streaking towards the net for the goal and the 1-1 tie game.

The Devils took the lead later in the period when former Duck Kyle Palmieri pulled it in and used Fowler as a screen while taking advantage of Miller being off his angle. While Miller didn’t see the puck, that’s a goal he probably wasn’t thrilled about, as a shot from the circles at that distance should be covered by proper positioning.

The Devils put the nail in the coffin in the third period on a goal from none other than Sami Vatanen in a night where all but one of the goal scorers for both sides formerly played for their opponent. Vatanen’s point shot deflected off of Korbinian Holzer and past Miller, essentially icing the game for the Ducks.

Up next: The Ducks continue their road trip against the New York Islanders at 10 AM PST on Saturday.

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The Anaheim Ducks announced today that they three skaters will miss time due to injuries.

Troy Terry will miss approximately 10 weeks after suffering a broken bone below his kneecap. He took a knee-to-knee hit during the Flyers game yesterday in the second period and had to be helped off the ice. Terry had eight points (3G, 5A) in 33 games this season. The 22-year-old suffered a broken leg injury late last season that caused him to miss significant time as well.

The club also announced that Derek Grant would miss 4-6 weeks with sprain to his AC (shoulder) joint. No surgery is required, but the injury will force the Ducks to replace Grant on the 4th line as well as on the penalty kill and on the power play. Grant has had a career season so far with nine goals on the year. It is unclear how he suffered the injury.

Finally, Jacob Larsson was announced as day-to-day with an unspecified upper body injury.

To help fill the roster spots, the Ducks earlier today recalled left winger Max Jones and center Isac Lundestrom with the already present Sam Carrick filling in for Grant on the 4th line.

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First of all, have to give full credit to our friends at Blueshirt Banter for the concept. The best ten trades of the team in a decade. So let’s apply it to the Penguins!

Over the last ten years, the Penguins have made a ton of trades. Between two general managers in Ray Shero and Jim Rutherford, Pittsburgh has had some bold GM’s willing to move all kinds of pieces around to upgrade the team and contend for Stanley Cup championships. It worked since the team made the playoffs each and every year from 2010-19.

Here’s the qualifications, taken straight from BSB with the appropriate Pens’ related notes shoehorned in. By attempting the rankings of the best trades, I considered a few areas of evaluation. They are:
Immediate Face Value Appraisal

Sometimes, you know it’s a win, right from the time you see the Bob McKenzie tweet announcing the trade. (Think of the Kessel from Toronto deal — with salary retained!). Hindsight is always a factor when looking back on these trades, but sometimes right from Jump St. you can just tell that the Pens made a good move. If so, it’s probably appearing in this article and not the next one about the ten WORST trades of the decade.
Hindsight Analysis

But, knowing what we know now matters too. Carolina trading Pittsburgh in the eight overall pick in the 2012 draft seemed great at the time, but didn’t really mean very much now at the end of 2019. Dallas throwing in a seemingly random 2013 third round pick ended up being a very big deal right now. That’s hindsight and unknowable at the time of the trade, but ends up at this point being a big, big factor!
Impact on Team’s Success

Shedding a bad player for a serviceable player (like, say, Daley for Scuderi) means a lot more right now than trading a second round pick for a rental that didn’t add up to much. That kind of makes sense at face value, so let’s stay there.
Butterfly Effect… To a Degree

The Guentzel trade comes into play here. Who would have known at the time? No one, but that was a good move. On the other end, the Pens traded the draft pick that was Ryan Dzingel to Ottawa for Alex Kovalev. That one is probably going to show up in the other article for worst trades of the decade. In a big sense, this is part luck but any trade involving picks and prospects can end up meandering to a way different path eventually then what it looks like at the time of the trade, for better or worse.
#10: Feburary 1, 2019: Pittsburgh trades Riley Sheahan, Derick Brassard, a 2019 second round pick, and two 2019 fourth round picks to Florida in exchange for Jared McCann and Nick Bjugstad

Jim Rutherford made this trade as a part of his patented “correcting a mistake” type of deal, adding a 22-year old former first round pick in McCann in exchange for a disappointment in Brassard and a second round pick. The Pens got a third line center in Bjugstad who may pay off more later on with his size and skill, but the major prize was undoubtedly McCann.

McCann has scored 21 goals and 38 points in his first 66 games with Pittsburgh, living up to his pedigree as a talented young player. And he’s done that on a $1.25 million salary cap hit, a huge boost to a team like Pittsburgh that really needs a boost of youth, fresh legs, energy and at a bargain rate against the cap. This trade isn’t even that old, but it’s already paid off to add what the Pens thought they were going to get from Brassard but actually ended up needing to flip into McCann to make it happen.
9 – December 3, 2018: Pittsburgh trades Daniel Sprong to Anaheim for Marcus Pettersson

Sprong was a polarizing prospect but never found a way to find his way into the good graces with the Pens. Rutherford was boxed into a corner here and found a way to trade this unestablished player to get a needed defenseman. Pettersson was a 13-14 minute a night player in Anaheim just trying to find his way, when he got to the Pens he has become a 18-19 minute important defender for the Pens that has blossomed into a good NHL level player. And that wasn’t something they were going to get out of Sprong.
8- June 22, 2012: Pittsburgh trades Jordan Staal to Carolina for Brandon Sutter, Brian Dumoulin and the No. 8 overall pick in 2012 (used to select Derrick Pouliot)

This is a bittersweet trade, to be sure. It could have been much higher, had the Pens drafted a player like Filip Forsberg or Teuvo Teravainen who were both very much in the range of this pick. But, they didn’t.

Still, former GM Ray Shero was also boxed in a bit back in 2012. Staal rejected a long-term contract with Pittsburgh and would have been entering a “walk year” of his contract with the Pens. So they flipped him and got a replacement (if lesser) NHL center in Brandon Sutter and that high pick.

And, with hindsight, Brian Dumoulin ended up being the most important piece of this trade for the Pens. Dumoulin wasn’t at the time of the trade, and as we saw with several high defenseman draft picks of that era (Pouliot, Joe Morrow, Scott Harrington, Simon Despres), sometimes via development or injury a prospect doesn’t always pan out. Dumoulin did though, exceeding all reasonable expectations to turn into a rock-steady top pair NHL dman.
8 – February 22, 2016: Pittsburgh trades a third round pick to Edmonton for Justin Schultz

Before Justin Schultz came to Pittsburgh he was a punchline. A perceived terrible defenseman who could defend and had very little appreciable value to an NHL team. This was mostly due to a bad Edmonton team that threw Schultz into deep waters and tough assignments that didn’t fit him. And, to be fair, he performed very poorly there.

But in Pittsburgh, first as a 6/7 type of defender in the 2016 Stanley Cup run, he was insulated and put in favorable situations. Schultz’s confidence grew and by 2016-17 he was a 51 point player (12G+39A) and a key player for the 2017 Stanley Cup run.

It took a little faith, patience and projection but the Pens found a talented player in a bad situation and helped build him up into a vital piece of the puzzle that continues through the end of the decade.
6- July 28, 2015: Pittsburgh trades Brandon Sutter and a third round pick (used to select William Lockwood) to Vancouver for Nick Bonino, Adam Clendening and a second round pick (used to select Filip Gustavsson)

After Sutter stuttered in his role with the Pens, Rutherford used him to flip for Nick Bonino who was cheaper against the salary cap and ended up being an instrumental piece of the 2016 Stanley Cup run in the H-B-K line that gave Pittsburgh a huge advantage in the playoffs against teams like Washington, Tampa and San Jose. Bonino also was a key player in the 2017 Stanley Cup run up until an injury.

The Pens also got a boost in the draft swap that ended up netting them a premier goalie prospect who was used in a future trade. But that trade won’t show up here. This one was all about the boost that Bonino provided compared to Sutter.
5- July 26, 2019: Pittsburgh trades a conditional sixth round pick in 2021 to Edmonton for John Marino

A master stroke in scouting and situational awareness, the Pens plucked Marino out of Edmonton. Marino was not going to sign with the Oilers, so they were willing to deal him for a conditional pick. If the Pens didn’t sign Marino, they wouldn’t have to give up the pick making this a total “no risk, all reward” type of trade. But they did convince him to forego his senior year in Harvard and he’s instantly become a 19 minute-a-game player at the NHL level with excellent instincts, calmness. And he adds a right handed shot on an entry level contract that will pay off into the early years of the next decade.
4- December 14, 2015: Pittsburgh trades Rob Scuderi (retaining $1.1 million of salary) to Chicago for Trevor Daley

Another situationally smart trade, the Pens used Chicago’s salary cap crunch against them in order to steal a serviceable player in Daley for a used up Scuderi by buying the Blackhawks a little over $1 million on the cap for 1.5 seasons. It turned out great for Pittsburgh, since Daley somehow didn’t fit with the scheme/coaching of Chicago, but ended up being a viable second pair player in the 2016 Stanley Cup run, a big upgrade from the slow-footed and bad hands of Scuderi who wasn’t going to be able to fit in with the new Mike Sullivan era.
3- March 24, 2013: Pittsburgh trades Joseph Morrow and a fifth round pick in 2013 (used to select Matej Paulovic) to Dallas for Brendan Morrow and a third round pick in 2013 (used to select Jake Guentzel)

This uses hindsight, but that still counts in the long-run. Dallas dealt their captain in Morrow to the Pens for their 2013 ill-fated playoff run. Morrow gets a bad rap for his time in Pittsburgh, mostly by people who forget he dislocated his kneecap and still played through it.

But this trade ended up having long-term ramifications in the seemingly meaningless swap of draft picks. Ray Shero managed to upgrade a fifth for a third. No big deal on the surface. However that third rounder ended up being Jake Guentzel and has had a monumental impact on the Pens’ future from there on out.
2- Feb 12, 2011: Pittsburgh trades Alex Goligoski to Dallas for James Neal and Matt Niskanen

With an excess of defensemen (including the emerging Kris Letang) the Pens could afford to ship out Goligoski, who was a very good player in his own right. But Pittsburgh got incredible value in that trade by landing a future 40-goal scorer in Neal and a throw-in of Niskanen who ended up being a top-four defender for as long as Goligoski has. If this trade was one-for-one in either direction, it might have been a fair one (or a modest Pittsburgh win). But that Shero pulled two key players out of this one meant a huge win for the Pens.
1- July 1, 2015: Pittsburgh trades Nick Spaling, Scott Harrington, Kasperi Kapanen, 2016 first round pick (eventually used to select Sam Steel) and a 2016 third round pick to Toronto for Phil Kessel ($1.25m retained), Tyler Biggs, Tim Erixon and a 2016 second round pick (used to select Kasper Bjorkqvist)

Simply put, this was the trade that re-started the Pens’ dynasty. After things had grown stale in the middle of the decade, Rutherford swung for the fences and hit an absolute home run by acquiring Phil Kessel. And he got Toronto to retain salary AND take a player in Spaling that was filler to help balance the salaries. AND the Pens were able to make the deal without sending then top youngsters in Derick Pouliot and Olli Maatta to Toronto.

Kapanen and the first round pick were decent pieces to surrender, but paled in comparison to the immediate impact that Kessel made as one of the top players in the league for the 2016 and 2017 Stanley Cup runs and then scored 174 points in the 2018 and 2019 seasons that followed.

The 2010’s were such a crazy time for trades for the Pens. There wasn’t a lot of time for inactivity. Trades were the most major way for the team to re-shape itself and eventually become the only team in the salary cap era to win back-to-back Stanley Cups.

Of course, with good trades also comes bad trades. But we’ll save that for not Christmas to look into

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UNIONDALE, N.Y. — The Anaheim Ducks showed their resiliency in a back-and-forth game on the road against the New York Islanders.

Jakob Silfverberg scored in regulation and added the shootout winner in the Ducks’ 6-5 win over the Islanders on Saturday.

Adam Henrique had a goal and an assist, John Gibson made 28 saves as the Ducks snapped a two-game skid. Max Comtois, Sam Carrick and Cam Fowler also scored.

“We made the most of our opportunities,” Fowler said. “We had contributions from everyone up and down the lineup and when you can do that, it helps you win hockey games.”

Anders Lee, Brock Nelson and Mathew Barzal each had a goal and an assist while Semyon Varlamov made 23 saves as the Islanders fell for the second time in three games. Nick Leddy had a goal and two assists, and Jordan Eberle and Derick Brassardd each had two assists.

Ryan Pulock tied the score 5-5 when he blasted a slap shot past Gibson with 6:41 left in the third period. Leddy and Brassard assisted on the Islanders’ second power-play goal of the game.

Fowler scored a go-ahead goal midway through the third when his wrist shot sailed over Varlamov’s glove.

“It just felt like we would have a couple of good plays and then they would get one play and it would be in the back of the net,” Barzal said after the frustrating loss.

Varlamov started his second straight game, which was the first time the Islanders opened with the same goalie in consecutive games this season. It was the ninth longest streak in NHL history of a team alternating goalies.

Henrique scored for the second time in two games when he sneaked in front of Leddy at 5:25 of the middle period to give the Ducks a 3-2 lead. Michael Del Zotto and Korbinian Holzer collected assists on the play.

“We need full team efforts here, up and down the lineup,” Ducks coach Dallas Eakins said. “That’s a damn good hockey team over there. To be able to come into their rink and score five goals against a team that is that stingy, we’ll feel pretty good about that.”

Less than five minutes later, Barzal answered with the most entertaining goal of the high-scoring game at 9:20 of the second. Lee took advantage of Barzal’s speed and floated a perfect lead pass to help his teammate zip past the Ducks’ defenceman to tie the score at 3-3.

Lee ended his three-game goal drought with his 10th of the season to open the scoring. Barzal was able to drag defenceman Erik Gudbranson to his side of the ice before sliding the puck across to Lee at 1:50 of the first period. Eberle also assisted on the play.

Islanders defenceman Scott Mayfield was unable to block out Comtois before he tipped in Isac Lundestrom’s shot at 16:27 of the first period to tie it 1-1.

Carrick gave the Ducks a short-lived one-goal lead when he netted his first of the season at 17:03.

Nelson ended a back-and-forth first period with a power-play goal to even the score 2-2 just 47 seconds after Carrick’s goal. Pulock and Leddy assisted.

Leddy went on to add a goal of his own with 5:45 left in the second to give the Islanders a 4-3 lead. The smooth-skating defenceman slipped behind a Ducks defenceman and Nelson found Leddy all alone in the slot.

Silfverberg responded with a game-tying goal 26 seconds later. Henrique and Hampus Lindholm each recorded their second points of the game with assists.

“We are not thrilled with giving up five but to see five go in should give our guys a little bit of a boost moving forward,” Fowler said. “Then if we can really lock down defensively that’s when things will start to turn for us.”

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WINNIPEG (AP) — Nikolaj Ehlers took on Anaheim captain Ryan Getzlaf in Winnipeg’s victory over the Ducks.

The 6-foot, 172-pound Ehlers, known for his quick feet, clashed with Getzlaf, who is 6x-foot-3 and 225 pounds. Both threw a couple punches in the brief, second-period bout.

“Out of character? This is my third fight now,” joked Ehlers, who’s in his fifth NHL season. “I’m a fighter. (Getzlaf) gave me a cross-check after I passed it and then, yeah, I think it was kind of a mutual thing. That’s the way it goes sometimes.”

Mark Scheifele scored twice, the second on a power play with 4:22 left for his 400th NHL point. He beat goalie John Gibson over the glove for his 13th of the season.

Jets captain Blake Wheeler called Ehlers a “sick man” for taking on Getzlaf.

“What a hell of a job by a little guy,” Wheeler said. “That dude has got some fire in his belly, for sure. That was pretty awesome.”

Jets coach Paul Maurice joked that he sent Ehlers over the boards to take on Getzlaf, then added the Danish player native better keep his gloves on to avoid injury.

“That was foolish, wasn’t it?” Maurice said. “But God bless him, don’t do it again. Ever.”

Adam Lowry also scored, Mathieu Perrault had two assists and Connor Hellebuyck made 31 saves. Winnipeg is 5-1-1 in its past seven games.

Jakob Silfverberg scored his team-leading 11th goal for the Ducks. Devin Shore had his first of the season and John Gibson made 30 saves. Anaheim is 1-3-1 in its last five games.

“I thought he was great,” Shore said about Gibson. “(The Jets) kind of had some pretty serious Grade A’s It’s no secret he’s one of the best in the world.”

NOTES: Gibson missed the past two games with an illness. … Winnipeg is 12-2-2 in one-goal games. … Nick Shore, picked up on waivers from Toronto on Wednesday, made his Winnipeg debut.

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Rangers coach David Quinn isn’t happy with the way referees have treated Brendan Lemieux lately.

At the conclusion of Sunday’s second period, Lemieux was handed a 10-minute misconduct for a scuffle with Ducks forward Carter Rowney. It wasn’t the first tussle Lemieux experienced in the Rangers’ 5-1 win at the Garden, and it certainly wasn’t the first this season.

But Quinn made a point to say he didn’t think referees have been calling physical plays involving Lemieux fairly.

“I would like for him to avoid putting himself in that position,” Quinn said when he was asked about the 10-minute misconduct. “He’s a very important player for us, he plays a hard game, he plays with an edge and we miss him when he’s not out there. I just wish he would’ve avoided that situation.

“With that being said, I know officiating is difficult, but I just wish he’d get treated a little bit differently than he has lately. I just want all of our players to be treated equal. Sometimes it doesn’t seem that way with him.”

It was a physical game, with both teams combining for 17 penalties. Lemieux even turned down a fight in the second period, when Erik Gudbranson dropped his gloves only to have the gritty winger skate away from him. Both teams were still penalized.

The hard-nosed Lemieux, who finished with an assist and three shots on goal, has collected a team-high 95 penalty minutes through 34 games this season.

Quinn said he hadn’t made a decision on who will start in net against the Flyers, but admitted he was tempted to give Lundqvist the nod given how he performed Sunday and his history with back-to-back starts.

The Rangers have gone 16 straight power plays without a goal.

An 0-for-5 performance on the man-advantage Sunday kept that streak alive, dropping the Rangers’ power-play percentage to 18.5 percent. But Chris Kreider didn’t seem too concerned with the drought.

“Power play comes in flows, we did the right things today,” Kreider said. “I thought we did a better job of getting pucks to the net. [We need to] continue to do that, results might not be there but it doesn’t mean that we’ll change what we’re doing.”

The Rangers recalled forward Phillip Di Giuseppe from AHL Hartford following the win.

Di Giuseppe skated in a combined 24 games last season with the Hurricanes and Predators. The Rangers signed Di Giuseppe, who was drafted No. 38 overall by the Hurricanes in 2012, as a free agent this offseason.

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A 3-2 loss during Friday night’s game against the Washington Capitals was not the ideal outcome for the Anaheim Ducks. However, despite dropping the game, they would suffer an even bigger loss with the early exit of Nick Ritchie. After a hip check from Radko Gudas late in the first period, the night would end for the 24-year-old power forward. Unable to put any weight on his left leg, he would head to the locker room, in visible pain.

Classified as a lower-body injury, we can only assume from what we witnessed that Ritchie has sustained an injury to his knee. While Dallas Eakins didn’t give the specifics, according to Eric Stephens of The Athletic, the head coach stated that “it does not look very good.” No further details were provided, but the outcome doesn’t seem to be a positive one.

Ritchie’s absence from the team is yet another big blow to the Anaheim Ducks struggling lineup. Losing Josh Manson for an extended period of time has caused enough problems of its own. While Manson’s impending return seems to be right around the corner, what happens now that one of Anaheim’s best forwards could be out of the lineup for the foreseeable future?

Did I just say Nick Ritchie is one of the Anaheim Ducks best forwards this season? Why yes, I did! At the beginning of the season, it was questionable whether Ritchie’s style of game would fit well under the Dallas Eakins system. He certainly struggled in his first few games, but he found his groove, blossoming into one of the Ducks best play drivers and showing signs he’s maturing into a decent power forward.

While most fans lament at the sight of Ritchie due to his league-leading penalty minutes, his time on ice has been crucial for the Ducks this season. In 27 games, he has been a solid point producer for the team, keeping a solid stat line of 3 goals, 7 assists, and 10 points overall. While 10 points in 27 games aren’t going to earn him any accolades, it’s pretty decent for a power forward playing for a team who is struggling at both ends of the ice.

He is staying true to his style of hockey, with 9 blocks and 34 hits on the season, leading the way for his team with his physicality and big body. His 49 shots on goal also prove that he can generate offensive capabilities for the struggling Ducks. Despite the gruff exterior, the young forward is truly passionate about the game of hockey, and this season, more than ever, it shows.

His presence on the ice will be missed for whatever length of time he is out. While some may not believe Ritchie is a true asset to this team, time will only prove what the evidence clearly manifests. It would be no surprise for the Ducks to recall Max Jones, or even Daniel Sprong, in his absence. However, neither of them will be able to fill the void that will be felt in the absence of Nick Ritchie.

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A few weeks ago, we asked you to send us your burning questions about the Anaheim Ducks. You delivered, sending several quality questions our way, and we really enjoyed taking the time to answer all of them. Our answers are honest, and we hope they were exactly what you were looking for.

Khalid Hart: As goofy as this may sound they really need to shoot more. Time after time we see them try to deke their way into the net only to get stripped of the puck or lose it altogether

Jonathan Morris: I feel like the Ducks need an elite scorer. Honestly, their play isn’t terrible but they have 0 finishers. Rakell is probably the closest and it’s not even close to some teams elite scorers around the league.

Ben Thomasian: Two-part answer: Firstly, the Ducks should look to upgrade their roster. It may seem harsh and some of the players may be fan favorites, but this isn’t a team built to outscore opponents. For years we spoke and complained about the bad players (who were hitting 20 goals) on Getzlaf’s LW, now we watch him with Devin Shore and Troy Terry. No disrespect towards those players, but they are not top-line scoring threats.

Finding players to go on this top line will filter down the depth chart. Secondly, they should implement a number of different playing styles that can be implemented for different situations. At present, the Ducks play one way at all times and it’s become an issue. As an example consider the Wild game recently.

In the first period they dominated playing their way, yet from the second period onwards, the wild slowed the game down and the ducks couldn’t respond. That wild team was lacking in strength and size up the middle after the Staal injury, it would have taken nothing for the Ducks to switch to a heavy forecheck and dumping the puck in deep – not a strategy they maybe should use often, but in that game would have worked well. Long story short, Eakins needs to diversify his playbook.

Ciara Durant: It’s simple… they need scoring, and quite frankly, they may not get it this season. The team as a whole has an issue finishing and there isn’t a player who could be defined as a natural goal scorer. Rickard Rakell might be the closest, but even still, he’s on pace to barely eclipse 20 goals.

I’d say the best and only thing Dallas Eakins can do in situations like this is go with what works. So far, we’ve seen success with the Rickard Rakell-Jakob Silfverberg line. You can really stick any center between them, and they lead the team most games. The Nick Ritchie–Adam Henrique–Ondrej Kase line also works. They may not be racking up the points, but they have chemistry, and as a coach, you have to work with what you’ve got.

TJ Watson: To improve offense, I would give more time to someone like Shore or Steel, and integrate Comtois into the fray. This team is young so there will be some dry spells, but if they can get better on defense, the offense will come.

Khalid Hart: No question about Zegras is the one everyone wants to see. This will be our first in-depth look at him on a national scale so everyone will be watching.

Jonathan Morris: Zegras, I want to see him compete against the best at his age and see how he handles it.

Ben Thomasian: Dostal is having a wonderful year, and he’s still incredibly young to be having the season he is as a netminder. It may be less about excitement and more about curiosity, but I’m looking forward to seeing how he goes against his elite peer group.

Ciara Durant: Hands down, Lukas Dostal. I wholeheartedly believe that he is the heir to the John Gibson throne, and it works out perfectly because Dostal should reach peak development by the time Gibson begins his decline. He played beautifully for “Team Czech Republic” last season, and after having an incredible season so far this year, I’m excited to see him play in the international spotlight. He is by far my favorite prospect currently in the Anaheim Ducks system (nothing against Trevor Zegras) and I think he’s going to be a big factor for his team in the WJC this year.

Khalid Hart: If you’re not saying Cam Fowler you’re going to disappointed. In terms of leadership, it makes sense, in terms of longevity it makes sense. After all, Cam’s been with the team for the longest right after Getzlaf. I think it will come down to a vote between the coaches and the leadership group in the locker room.

Jonathan Morris: I think its Fowler, he has been there, went through the ups and downs and is having a year of growth.

Ben Thomasian: Another two-part answer: First the reality check: It’s Cam Fowler. Always has been, always will be. There is no real debate here. Second, the dream: Brad Lambert. The Ducks are incredibly awful and in with a real chance of drafting #1 overall in the 2022 draft. They take future Finnish superstar Lambert and we all profit. Get on the bandwagon now people!

Ciara Durant: Simple, Cam Fowler is Ryan Getzlaf‘s heir apparent. I was rather shocked when he wasn’t one of the Ducks alternate captains this season, but I have quite enjoyed watching Jakob Silfverberg and Josh Manson in that role. But, regardless, the Anaheim Ducks have been grooming Fowler for this position for years. I wrote about this a few seasons ago, and it still rings true today.

TJ Watson: I think Rakell is the future captain, he has the tenacity, youth and also a guy who can put a team on his back in different ways. I think for this team, it needs to be someone young enough who can help guide the team into the future.

Jonathan Morris: I would gauge interest on both, I would prefer to keep Rakell because I think he can develop further into a scorer, Henrique is a very solid 3C but the results plus the paycheck arent what we need.

Ben Thomasian: Yes. You want me to clarify? The Ducks, we assume, are rebuilding. Henrique is getting on for 30 and we know there is a typical decline in performance moving forward from that age bracket. He’s also signed for a fair dollar value going forward, yet is performing as well as any Duck this season (although his scoring has dropped away of late – 1 point/goal in the past 11 games.)

Trading him now while he still has perceived value would likely get a better return which would help accrue draft assets to accelerate a rebuild. It also provides the Anaheim Ducks cap space which they may be able to weaponize to accrue more draft collateral. It may be hard to deal with, but the hard question should be “is Henrique part of the next Anaheim Ducks cup contending team?” If the answer is yes, they should keep him, if not….

Ciara Durant: To be quite honest, I would not be opposed to trading either of them. The Ducks may not have outrightly said they are rebuilding, but things seem to be going that direction. Take New York for example. The Rangers just went through a rebuild. Was it easy? No. They had to trade players that had been with the team for years. We saw “the King” Henrik Lundqvist cry when Mats Zuccarello was traded to the Dallas Stars.

The Ducks are in desperate need of change, and both Rickard Rakell and Adam Henrique could potentially get the Ducks a good return. You can’t be stingy in situations like this. While it may hurt a little bit, especially since they are two fan favorites, but again, you have to be open to all options in rebuilds/retools.

TJ Watson: I won’t consider trading Rakell, because of my answer above. I would consider resigning him for the right price. I’m a maybe on Henrique, he hasn’t been a bust trade, unless you’re looking to get someone like, say TJ from TBL, or someone of better talent.

Khalid Hart: I don’t see why not. He’s working on earning it as we speak but this goes back to the previous question letting him go via trade or letting him walk is a really difficult thing to do unless the return is amazing or we get someone who is just as good if not better. If we do none of that we come out looking like the biggest losers in the end.

Jonathan Morris: Yes, as long as they push to be competitive, if they go full rebuild then they need to trade any asset with value for picks/prospects. We lack elite players and elite prospects. We have potential in both areas but nothing clear cut.

Ben Thomasian: Probably not. I tend to have a dislike of signing guys getting close to their 30’s (he’ll be 28) to long term contracts (which he’ll want). He’s been a good player for us, but it may be time, at that point, to let him walk.

Khalid Hart: If you asked me this during the 2016-17 season when we were still competitive I would’ve said yes please in a heartbeat. Right now it just doesn’t make sense. And knowing Radulov he’s in a win-now mode so he wouldn’t settle for a retooling season or seasons with the Ducks.

Jonathan Morris: No, the Russian Machine is broken. The Anaheim Ducks stay away from Russian players typically and Radulov while Firey and competitive night in and night out is trending down in a league that is getting younger and faster each and every year. Players are going to start being to old for this league at 30, we are seeing it shift there now. So I would stay away from trading for players above that.

Ben Thomasian: Yes and No. He’s old. He’s great, but he’s not going to instantly fix this team by himself. If he’s one of a couple of players the Ducks are bringing in to help them eek out another playoff appearance, then it would be a good move. If he’s the only player coming in, then it feels like it would be just adding a player to reach bubble playoff status and if they’re lucky a one and done postseason appearance. My personal preference in that situation would be to rebuild for the future, and an old dog like that isn’t going to be around when the Ducks are aiming to be cup contenders again.

Ciara Durant: No, and simply because the Ducks aren’t currently in a spot to compete for the cup. Adding Radulov to the mix may increase their chances, but I’d much rather have a high draft pick so the Ducks can build a better foundation for their future when they are Cup contenders once again. As a player, I respect Radulov, but at the age of 33, he’s aiming for the Cup now. Dallas is in a good spot to make a playoff run like they did last season. Trading him to a team that has no chance at the Cup just seems unfair to me.

Ciara Durant: It depends on term and price. While Rakell is probably one of the better forwards on this team, we haven’t seen him have another year similar to his 2017-18 season. He’s going to be older when his current contract expires, and he’s going to want to cash out with his big contract. The Ducks really need to consider all their options and hope Rakell is willing to sign a team-friendly deal. I am not opposed to resigning him, but I’m skeptical.

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NEWARK, N.J. (AP) — The New Jersey Devils’ decision to trade 2018 MVP Taylor Hall to Arizona has put pressure on other players to step up and lead the team.

In their first game since Monday’s trade, Hall’s former linemates Nico Hischier and Kyle Palmieri answered the call.

Hischier and Palmeiri scored second-period goals and the Devils beat the Anaheim Ducks 3-1 on Wednesday night, giving them consecutive wins for only the fourth time this disappointing season.

“I think it’s for the young guys coming up, it’s those close games and finding ways to win or finding ways to close them out,” Palmieri said. “Tonight, finding a way to come from behind and find a lead going into the third and come out there and keep playing on our toes. They had a couple looks but we held the fort.”

Sami Vatanen also scored and Mackenzie Blackwood made 26 saves as the Devils gave interim coach Alain Nasreddine his second straight win.

Adam Henrique scored against his former team for the Ducks, who squandered an early 1-0 lead in losing to New Jersey for the first time in four games. Ryan Miller had 17 saves as Anaheim lost its second straight on a four-game East Coast trip.

“Obviously you get a good start and get a lead and go from there,” Henrique saud. “We have to find a way to get that next one. That’s the key right now. We are having a hard time to get two and three and put out foot on the throat of the other team. That’s an area that has to improve.”

Anaheim defenseman Michael Del Zotto had a hand in the Devils’ goals. He had a giveaway on Hischier’s goal early in the second period and was in the penalty box for interference when Palmieri gave New Jersey a 2-1 lead at 11:29 of the second.

The journeyman defenseman lost a battle with No. 1 overall draft pick Jack Hughes in the corner early in the third period, leading to Vatenen’s goal and a 3-1 lead.

Henrique gave Anaheim the lead, capping a 2-on-none with Ondrej Kase 3:33 after the opening faceoff.

The tide changed early in the second period when Del Zotto misplayed a puck sent around the boards. It deflected toward the net, where Jesper Bratt got the puck and found Hischier for a shot low in the right circle at 1:28.

Bratt is Hall’s replacement at left wing on the line center by Hischier. Palmieri is on the right side.

“I feel comfortable playing with (Bratt),” Hischier said. “I came in with him in this league and have played a lot of games already with him. He’s a great playmaker who can score, so it’s a lot of fun to play with him.”

Palmieri got his 13th of the season in the closing seconds of the penalty against Del Zotto. He made a toe-drag move on defenseman Cam Fowler and beat the screened goaltender from the right circle.

Vatanen extended the margin to two goals with a tally against his former team, and Blackwood made the lead standing up, making 11 saves in the final 20 minutes in giving New Jersey its first home win since Nov. 23 against Detroit.

“We were OK in the first,”Miller said. “We were getting the puck deep and I felt that’s how we should play the game. In the second period we didn’t do any of that and fed into what they wanted to be doing. We didn’t have a whole lot of energy until that last little push.”

Blackwood negated the effort.

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ANAHEIM — Josh Manson hammered the puck into the right-hand corner from his station just inside the blue line on Monday morning at Honda Center. He skated purposefully from one end of the ice to the other. He followed along with his Ducks teammates as they went through a number of drills.

When it came time for special teams work that called for more physical contact with his teammates, Manson took a seat on the bench. Manson, a veteran defenseman, wasn’t ready for that level of competition, although his first full-speed, full-contact practice could come later this week.

It’s been nearly six weeks since Manson sprained his knee during the Ducks’ loss to the Stars on Oct. 24 at Dallas. Barring a setback, he’s likely to return to their lineup sooner than later. Certainly, he’s right in the window of their original layoff estimate of between five and 10 weeks.

Manson’s return to the lineup can’t come soon enough, as far as the Ducks are concerned. They were mired in seventh place in the Pacific Division with an 11-12-4 record going into Monday night’s game against the eighth-place Kings (11-14-2).

“We’re getting there because I saw him skating around out there with us,” Ducks coach Dallas Eakins said of anticipating Manson’s return to full-time duty. “When you see those steps that means all that stuff, medically, physically, fitness-wise are progressing well.

“So, him popping out there is a good step. Our fingers are crossed, but there are no guarantees.”

The Ducks have practices scheduled for Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday in preparation for Friday’s game against the Washington Capitals. The Capitals won a Nov. 18 game marred by a spitting incident that resulted in a three-game NHL-imposed suspension to Garnet Hathaway of Washington.

Manson’s return would give the Ducks a physical element that’s been lacking since he was injured while attempting to throw a check against the Stars’ Jason Dickinson. Manson’s injury was met with relief by the Ducks, who feared he had torn a ligament. It turned out to be just a sprain.

“All you have to do is look at our goals-against with him in the lineup and without,” Eakins said, referring to the Ducks’ 2.18 goals-against average before Manson was sidelined and their 3.63 goals-against average while he’s been out. “I think that tells a story right away.”

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Over the past few seasons, the Anaheim Ducks have had horrible luck when it comes to the health of their roster. Most years, the injury bug strikes quite early. However, aside from Josh Manson‘s lengthy stint on the sidelines and a few other short-lived injuries, the roster has remained relatively healthy. That is, until recently.

In the span of just a few games, the Ducks have lost four players to injury, three of them predicted to spend the next 4-10 weeks on the sidelines. The first domino to fall was Nick Ritchie. A hip check from Washington Capitals defenseman Radko Gudas would force Ritchie out of the game with an MCL sprain. His predicted timetable for return is 6-10 weeks.

Troy Terry, Derek Grant, and Jacob Larsson were the next three to fall victim to the second wave of the injury bug during the game against the Philadelphia Flyers. Terry has been placed on injured reserve and is predicted to miss the next 10 weeks with a broken bone below his knee cap. Derek Grant has suffered an AC sprain to his shoulder, the time table for his return is 4-6 weeks. Lastly, Jacob Larsson, who is listed as day to day, suffered an undisclosed upper-body injury.

Larsson and Terry’s absence, while unfortunate, will not necessarily hurt the team as much as Grant and Ritchie’s absence. It seems as though Larsson has taken steps back in his development this season, struggling significantly to grasp the offensive aspects, as well as other areas, of the game. It earned him a ticket to San Diego a few weeks ago, and the decision to call him back up and send Josh Mahura back down the 5 was a puzzling decision.

Troy Terry has struggled to produce as expected this season as well. While some of that may be in part to the hype that has surrounded the 22-year-old 2015 5th round draft pick, he seems like he’s still on the path to finding himself as an NHL player, which, at his age, is still perfectly acceptable. After a broken bone ended his season last year, this injury will prove to be just another setback in his development as an NHL player.

Derek Grant has surprisingly been one of the Anaheim Ducks top 5 goal scorers this season, with 9 goals credited to his name. The team has struggled to produce offense, and losing one of their top goal scorers for the next 4-6 weeks is going to hurt, most likely leaving the Ducks floundering near the bottom of the Pacific Divison and Western Conference.

Finally, Nick Ritchie’s injury is going to cause more struggles than anyone realizes. While a lot of fans detest him and his constant penalties, he has been an important factor for the Ducks this season. He hasn’t shown up on the score sheet as often as we’d like to see, but he drives play and adds a physical flare to the lineup the Ducks don’t necessarily have in spades.

Injuries are never good news. However, if there are any positives we can take from this situation it would be this: having four injured players on the sidelines gives our AHL prospects valuable time in the NHL without the added stress of being playoff contenders. With the position the Anaheim Ducks currently hold in the standings, the playoffs at this point are highly unlikely. Isac Lundestrom, Max Jones, Sam Carrick, and others, now have the opportunity to hone their skills at the next level without being make or break players in the lineup.