Last year the Anaheim Ducks missed the playoffs for the first time since 2011-12. If the 2019-20 Anaheim Ducks fail to make the playoffs, it will mark the first time since 1999-2002 season that they have missed consecutive postseasons. This poses the question, do the 2019-20 Anaheim Ducks have what it takes to make the postseason?
2019-20 Anaheim Ducks
Five Year Divisional Run
Starting in 2012-13 running to the 2016-17 season the Ducks were the Pacific Division champions. The 16-17 season, winning it in the very last game of the season against the crosstown rival Los Angeles Kings. That season, the Ducks made it to the conference finals. They ultimately fell to the Nashville Predators in 6 games. The next season the Vegas Golden Knights dethroned the Ducks in their amazing cup run inaugural season. Up until the emergence of the Knights, it seemed the Ducks had a firm handle on the division, but nothing is forever.
In 2017 the NHL introduced the Vegas Golden Knights into the league. They had an amazing first season and took a commanding lead in the Pacific division early on. Vegas took the division away from the Ducks by 8 points. The Ducks still managed to take second from the San Jose Sharks by one point that was earned in the very last game of the season. The Sharks returned the favour by running the Ducks out of the playoffs ins short order.
The Injury-Riddled 2018-19 Season
The Ducks 2018-19 season was the 25th season of play for them. They had a season planned full of fun events for fans including the retirements of two Ducks legends’ numbers in Paul Kariya and Scott Niedermayer.
The fun of the ice didn’t make it onto the ice. Ryan Kesler didn’t start the season with Ducks because of a recurring hip injury that was operated on in the offseason. Korbinian Holzer didn’t start the season with the Ducks either, having an offseason wrist surgery. Ondrej Kase missed most of the season due to having surgery for a torn labrum. These are just some injuries that come to mind. Every team has to deal with the injury bug from time to time but it seemed that the Ducks got hit extra hard. The Ducks finished the season second to last in the division only being better than the Los Angeles Kings.
The Start of the New Season
The 2019-20 Anaheim Ducks started the new NHL season on October 3rd. Throughout the first month of play, Anaheim went 8-6-0. However, this doesn’t give John Gibson nearly enough credit. He stood on his head to keep the Ducks in games at times, stealing points that the Ducks had no business getting. The team as a whole looks good. They have a very young roster, moving players like Max Comtois and Sam Steel onto the Ducks. The 2019-20 Anaheim Ducks have what it takes to make the playoffs, maybe even farther. They have a good mixture of veteran presence and young talent.
— NHL (@NHL) July 8, 2019
With new bench boss, Dallas Eakins looking to make a stand for himself in the NHL after his first run as a head coach for Edmonton didn’t end well. He has proven himself to general manager Bob Murray over the last 4 years of coaching the San Diego Gulls. In his 4 seasons with the Gulls, they only missed the postseason once, in the 2017-18 season. This time in San Diego gives Coach Eakins an amazing insight into his younger players as he has coached many of them in the minors so both parties understand what is expected.
What’s To Come?
The Ducks have the talent to make the postseason. They have the players that are hungry to prove themselves and the leadership to make a push. In John Gibson and Ryan Miller, they have one of the best goaltending tandems in the league. Coach Dallas Eakins is looking to make a splash in his second run as a head coach in the league. Bob Murray has high expectations for this team, as he should. They have no reason not to make the postseason this year.