Today, writers at HockeyBuzz are looking at the biggest need for each NHL team.
With the Anaheim Ducks, I think if there’s one clear area of need, it’s a top-line forward.
We know the Ducks are set in goal with John Gibson. On top of that, the team’s defense group is looking better, with Kevin Shattenkirk rounding out the team’s top-four and Jamie Drysdale likely only a year or two away from making the jump to the NHL.
What the Ducks lack is offense and while the argument could certainly be made that a top-line center should be a priority, I’d probably say the Ducks should aim for a winger instead. Trevor Zegras looks to have a very high ceiling and could turn into a top-line center and as a result, it may be a better idea to see how he develops first. In addition, it would be much easier to add a winger, given how infrequently legitimate top-line centers are traded or hit free agency.
In addition to Zegras, Sam Steel is already a top-nine forward and has the potential to develop into a second-line center. Those are two young centers who could be with the team for a long time to come. On top of that, Adam Henrique is a solid middle-six center as well and while Ryan Getzlaf isn’t the same player as a couple years ago, he’s certainly still effective. Plus, the team still has 2018 first-round pick Isac Lundestrom as a likely option for the bottom-six.
When you look to the wingers, however, the team isn’t as strong and the Ducks don’t have a single legitimate top-line winger on the roster or any projected top-line wingers in the system. Danton Heinen or Sonny Milano could see great results in an increased role with the Ducks this coming season but is either really top-line material? It doesn’t look like it. Rickard Rakell is a legitimate second-line forward but shouldn’t be relied upon for primary offense, while Jakob Silfverberg is more of a middle-six winger. Max Comtois and Troy Terry look to have bright futures as well but I think saying either is a likely first-line winger would be a stretch. Then first-round picks Jacob Perreault and Brayden Tracey are quality prospects but we don’t know what their ceilings are and we shouldn’t bet on either turning into a top-line forward.
It seems as though Bob Murray is looking for the Ducks to be a more competitive team as soon as possible rather than continuing the team's ‘retooling’ process and if that’s the case, a top-line forward is probably the team’s biggest need both right now and for the years to come.
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Here’s today’s poll question (results and discussion will be posted in a future article):
Do you agree that a top-line forward is the Ducks' biggest need?