1-Man’s Opinion on Sports-Thursday “Ducks Hockey-When Does It Ever End”

Posted by on February 29th, 2024  •  0 Comments  • 


“Ducks Hockey–When Does It Ever End”

The NHL Trading Deadline is March 8th.

It has become a target date for blockbuster trades, the NHL have-nots sending veteran players to teams in the Stanley Cup chase.

It’s also become contract dumps, where teams ship out veteran players on expiring contracts to try to get some assets in return before those players leave as free agents.

And here we have the once proud, Stanley Cup type Anaheim Ducks franchise, which seems to be stuck in the rut of constant rebuild.

And here we sit with its top farmclub, the San Diego Gulls, once an AHL flagship franchise in a town that loves hockey, buried at the bottom of the standings for the 3rd year in a row, its working agreement with the Ducks, not working out.

There is the new GM-Pat Verbeek,continuing to try and rebuild the franchise that once delivered its fans Paul Kariya-Teemu Selanne-Corey Perry-Ryan Getzlaf and so many other quality players.

Stockpiling picks, high draft choices, is great, if those picks-choices turn out to be quality players.

The Ducks were thought to be on the right track, with the likes of Trevor Zegras, Jamie Drysdale, Mason McTavish, Pavel Mintyukov, Jackson LaCombe, Olen Zellweger and others.

But it’s tough to force feed so many young players at one.  Losing begets losing that begets loss of confidence in the organization.

Verbeek dealt away Drysdale to the Flyers.  Now reports Zegras may be headed to Montreal.  Moving cornerstone players that were supposed to be the building blocks with others.  Maybe it’s injuries.  Maybe it’s an unwillingness to pay the going rate for players whose career is on the way up.

Left behind in the transactions are a ton of rookies, few veterans, and little chance of becoming a playoff team, while the career of star goalie John Gibson erodes away.

The Ducks seemed so gifted, as their rebuild was underway with the likes of Cam Fowler, Hampus Lindholm, Jakob Silfverberg and Rikard Rickell, and kids like Shea Theodore and Brandon Montour.

Most of that wave is now gone.

Left behind are veterans Adam Henrique and Alex Killorn, and look where the Ducks are in the standings, and just other guys who are not difference makers..

You can bring in all these young players, but can they play?  Nick Ritchie didn’t do much and was gone.  So did one year wonder Maxim Comtois.  Defenseman Simon Benoit was moved too.  Ditto for people like Jacob Larsson, Ondrej Kase and Sam Steel.  All here with hope, and now departed.

Anyone see much value in Max Jones, Issac Lundestrom and other young prospects still there suiting up but not doing much?

Sure they have Leo Carlsson, last year’s high first round pick phenom, and you still have Troy Terry and Lukas Dostel.

Sure more names are in the pipeline, from newly acquired Flyers pick Cutter Gauthier, Tristan Luneau, Carey Tarrance and Sam Colangelo.  And the Gulls rookie goalie Tomas Suchanek has been a pleasant surprise.  But most of those other names, they are in the college ranks, or in Europe or in junior.  Do you know how far away these guys might be?

As the Ducks play and lose, so does our team in town, the Gulls.  The kids have been overwhelmed.  They seem so far away, even if they can play.  Ben King, Sasha Pastujov, Nikita Nestorenko, Judd Caufield, Jaxson Weibe, Noah Warren.

Last year’s Gulls roster was wretched.  This year’s collection of kids, can’t score goals yet.

Since opening night 2019, the Ducks are (120-182-47), that’s 120-wins over 349-games played.  The last three Gulls seasons have given us a (66-105-18) record, that’s 66-wins in 189-nights they dropped the puck.  And I don’t see it getting better.

You don’t win in Anaheim, you don’t win in San Diego.  The scoreboard does not lie.

And now the trade deadline is next ahead, and you wonder what the Ducks can get to improve their product and the Gulls product.  They seem hopelessly lost in this rinse-wash-spin dry cycle of player personnel acquisitions.

Feel bad for the fans at the Honda Center and the Sports Arena.  Sure seems like Verbeek is spinning his wheels.  These past years don’t give me hope good years are just around the corner either, for the fans who wear Ducks colors or the Gulls crest.

When does this ever end?


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