The Anaheim Ducks had a horrendous 2019-20 season. General Manager Bob Murray was busy during the off-season to try and improve his franchise. He brought back some very talented players and drafted a very skilled young prospect to hopefully change this team’s direction. Murray also added some more championship experience in veteran defenseman, Kevin Shattenkirk.
As previously mentioned, the team was able to add a couple of solid players to their roster. Anaheim was looking to add some veteran experience to their roster while they are rebuilding. These players will be fantastic mentors for the younger Ducks on the team.
The first of these was Kevin Shattenkirk. The 2020 Stanley Cup champion cashed in by signing a three-year contract with the Ducks. After a disappointing tenure with the New York Rangers, Shattenkirk signed a one-year deal with the eventual Stanley Cup champion Tampa Bay Lightning.
After Shattenkirk had a very successful season and fantastic postseason with Tampa Bay, the Ducks became interested and wanted his services. In Anaheim, he will help improve the horrible power play that they have. He will also add some much needed veteran presence for the rebuilding team. Bringing 10 years of pro hockey and Stanley Cup experience will hopefully help the Ducks be a relevant team this year.
The Ducks also signed center Derek Grant to a three-year contract. This will be his third stint with the team. Last season, Grant split his time between the Ducks and Philadelphia Flyers. During his time with the Ducks, he put up modest numbers as he scored 14 goals and added six assists.
After a mid-season trade to the Flyers, he did not have the same production. He only played seven regular-season games for Philadelphia and 15 playoff games. During the seven regular-season games, Grant scored one goal but had four assists. The playoffs did not bring much production either as he only helped set up two goals. After an unsuccessful time in Philadelphia, he returns to the Ducks on a shiny new contract.
The Ducks had only a few unrestricted free agents during the free agency period. They only had one unrestricted free agent that was very important and that is Ryan Miller. Miller was the backup goalie for the Ducks for the past few seasons. Him not being on the roster leaves an opening at the backup goalie position.
The 40-year-old goalie put up decent stats in the 2019-20 season. In 23 games, he posted a 3.10 goals-against average and a .907 save percentage. Not only will the Ducks miss the veteran presence that Miller brought, but Anaheim will also need to find a new backup goalie for the upcoming season.
Will They Improve?
After a season of development for a young Ducks team and the addition of Kevin Shattenkirk, expect Anaheim to improve upon their lowly finish last season. They will not be contenders for the playoffs this season. But, in upcoming seasons, you can bet the Ducks will be back to competing for the Stanley Cup.
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If you want to read about what we thought the Ducks should have done this off-season, then click here.