1-Man’s Opinion on Sports-Friday “GULLS HOCKEY-BOUNCEBACK SEASON”

Posted by on October 13th, 2023  •  0 Comments  • 





Hockey fans will sign this memo…’Last season was awful’.
Hockey fans in Anaheim, watching a disastrous Ducks season.
Ditto in San Diego, where the Gulls suffered thru a miserable 20-win season.

The NHL club, and their AHL affliliate, both made coaching changes.
More imporrtantly are the roster changes and the ability to stay healthy.
The Ducks imported veteran free agents.
The Gulls appear ready to open the season with a plethora of young, high draft picks.

Greg Cronin takes over as the Ducks head coach, replacing Dallas Eakins.
The Gulls welcome European coach Matt McIlvane.
Both seem cut from the same cloth, smart, younger, strong philosophically.

But injuries are an issue already.  The Ducks having lost hi-price free agent Alex Killorn with a fractured hand, having already lost center Issac Lundestrom for the year with a torn achilles.  The Gulls won’t have captain Chase DeLeo, out 8-weeks with a sprained knee after a hit in a preseason game with the Kings.

The Ducks look a long way off.  The Gulls could bounce back quickly with all the young draft picks they will put on the ice as they open the AHL season.  The San Diego roster is complimented by as many as 6-to-8-NHL-AHL veterans, added on to the young draft picks

Longtime Gulls GM-Bob Ferguson has helped run the Ducks top AHL affiliate for years.  He has seen John Gibson, Troy Terry, Trevor Zegras, Jamie Drysdale, Simon Benoit, Nick Ritchie, Luka Dostal go from Gulls colors to wearing the Ducks crest over the successful run his AHL teams have had in San Diego.  Prior to that he ran the Ducks AHL clubs in Syracuse, Portland and Norfolk.  He knows the role of the AHL and what he sees on the ice now.

The Gulls play Friday and Sunday in Ontario..then open the home schedule a week from Friday starting a 72-game schedule in the AHL.  A year of losing in the rear-view mirror.  They believe winninng starts this weekend:

GM-Bob Ferguson

Last Year…Season started..thought we were contender
Losing Chase DeLeo opening night started a seige of injured players-we would not recover from
Not an excuse-just an explantion
Bringing in players from PTO by end of 2nd week made for an impossible situation
Lost players on waivers
Anything that could go wrong-did go wrong last year
This year is a new piece of paper

AHL-this has to be one of youngest rosters ever had here
We have 7-or-8 first year players on our roster
Will be playing in our first AHL games this weekend with really young roster
Players have to learn level of play in AHL
This league is quick and talented..this is not easy
Don’t respect the level of play in the AHL you will learn quickly how tough this league is now.

Learning process…that is the whole group thing..build develop
Make the Ducks a contender..starts at our level in San Diego

From rookie tournament in Las Vegas..very impressive group of young players
Our kids played impressively
Good look at what the Ducks will be in the future
Skill level and speed encouraging

Leo Carlsson..exceptional vision of ice..play making..smooth skating with 2nd gear…bigger body style of Trevor Zegras..skates..shoots well..leaves people standing still…Drafted 2nd overall-expect to see skill level-his skill screams out

Nathan Gaucher..big body..not a power forward..but skilled forward with power….first man in corner…last man standing in corner..bit of old school..Ryan Kessler type player

Ben King..started slow-as camp got on..gotten better and better…knack for finidng scoring area..must learn to adjust to pace to play at pro level..learned that AHL this is faster-physical…

Nikita Nestorenko…Honest worker..notice his two way game…speed to beat defenders…willing to go to tough area of rinks…Needs to finish…gets to scoring areas…

Sasha Pastjov….Late start in camp..is trying to catch up…has to learn this pace…this is not junior hockey…playing against 18-years old players…Need to be patient with him

Pavol Regenda….Made big team and played with Ducks a bit…very consistent here with Gulls..wore down as year went on….takes a toll on you by way he plays..came from European schedule…AHL schedule was tough…Trained to learn how to play with 85-game schedule…Could put up good numbers in AHL way he plays..Plays tough infront…pay price get his points.

Pavel Mintyukov….Still with Ducks…big body..lots offensie to his style..worry about his defensive play in zone…Smart player…Not out of position…Tough for 19-year old to learn in the NHL…think he is ready..play in his own end has improved.

Jackson Lacombe..College star…we won’t see him down here…bit older because he is college star..poised..best defenseman…thinks game well..very confident..career at Minnesota…Strong in his own zone on defense…Shutdown blueliner

Olin Zellweger…Lefthanded Jamie Drysdale..he so skilled because he has skills to be a winger…such a threat from back end…can cheat game on offense but such a good skater does not get beat coming back…will run power play..we won’t be 32-out of-32 on power play in future…something for a 20-year old…great prospect

Tyson Hinds….Big body..smart…makes quick decisions..can be physical…now needs do it at most consistent basis..going to be an NHL defenseman…Add some ‘dirt’ to his game…Refine his tools…Poster boy of what AHL is all about

Gage Alexander…goalie…sent to Tulsa…play more consistent…make 5-great saves…allowed cheap goals..great size..very young

Callie Clang…Good preseason…very calm in nets…from Sweden….plays like Luca Dostal…does not give up rebounds…plays with great fundamentals..will help cut down on shots allowed…eliminates chaos infront of net…came from Sweden with style……came from Penguins in trade…22-years old

Veterans…6-to-8 AHL-NHL veterans who drive the room…attitude, approach, on ice abilities…guys like Trevor Carrick-solid leader..adds sandpaper at back end…Anthony Agozziono good leader-plays much bigger than his size…gives us snarl to the game…Colton White-Robert Hagg will be mentors to the young players and will be ready to return to Ducks when needed….Hagg been in NHL-10 years with Detroit…White was with Devils…expect veterans to be on Anaheim shuttle…They will settle our kids down…There are some young veterans that need to produce this year.

Chase DeLeo…second straight year of major injuries…Lost him day one last year…now hurt on cheap shot in camp…He rehabs hard…he does not cheat on working out…he will be back

Matt McIlvane….coach prepared for every situation to be AHL-coach…great communicator..having been player and coached at this level…Creative thinker…reminds me alot of what Dallas Eakins was….Have talked about to him about constant roster changes…he is prepared….Biggest positive step Ducks made getting McIlvane in here from Europe….He realizes there is a culture we have developed…Need to get our swagger back..find a way to correct our mistakes…Excited at this opportunity.



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