Despite suffering a sweep at the hands of the San Jose Sharks, Anaheim Ducks executive vice president and general manager Bob Murray gave a vote of confidence to coach Randy Carlyle today, according to Mike Coppinger of the Los Angeles Times. However, Murray also said he is looking for changes in the team’s style of play.
The team made the playoffs despite being plagued by injuries. Carlyle, who has coached the team for the past two years after serving previously as the Ducks’ coach for seven years from 2005-2012, had no players who played the full 82-game season. First liners Ryan Kesler only played 44 games, while Ryan Getzlaf only played 54 games. Even Corey Perry missed 11 games due to injury. However, with an aging offense, the team needs to increase its speed if it wants to compete in the same division as the Vegas Golden Knights or the San Jose Sharks.
- Kesler admitted he struggled trying to get his way back this season after undergoing hip surgery last offseason. He was forced to re-learn how to skate. “Learning how to basically skate again, and coming back behind the eight ball when everybody is in mid-season form and you’re in training camp mode, is hard. It’s not an excuse. I’m way better off now than I was before the surgery.” Eric Stephens of the Orange County Register adds that Kesler lost 20 pounds in the last month to increase his speed. He intends to play at his new weight next season in hopes of lengthening his career. Kesler, originally listed at 202 pounds, will be needed to return to full form next season if they want to continue with their playoff success. He is locked up for another three years at $8.625MM with a no movement clause.
- Center Adam Henrique, who the team acquired back in November, has said he is interested in signing an extension with the team this offseason. The 28-year-old scored 20 goals in 57 games with the Ducks and 24 total goals. He has one more year at $4MM and is eligible for an extension on July 1.
- Veteran defenseman Kevin Bieksa didn’t leave the team on a positive note, suggesting that despite having a ruptured tendon in his finger, it was “very disappointing” that he didn’t get more playing time in the team’s playoff series. The 36-year-old played in just one game against the Sharks. “It didn’t turn out to be a good-looking decision,” said Bieksa. He will be an unrestricted free agent this offseason.
- Stephens added veteran winger Patrick Eaves, who had surgery on his shoulder in March, will be ready this fall with an October timeline. Eaves, who scored 32 goals between Anaheim and Dallas last year, played in just two games this season.
- Antoine Vermette says he believes he has more hockey left in him. The 35-year-old will be an unrestricted free agent this offseason. He said he will discuss his situation with his family about whether he will return next season. “I’ve never been in this situation. I’ll take my time to kind of see what we want to do here,” said Vermette about his uncertain offseason.
- The Ducks also announced that Hampus Lindholm, Rickard Rakell and Korbinian Holzer will each play for their respective countries in the 2018 IIHF World Championships.