Dobber's offseason fantasy hockey grades – Anaheim Ducks
For the last 15 years (12 with The Hockey News, last year’s via pinch-hitter Cam Robinson) Dobber has reviewed each team from a fantasy-hockey standpoint and graded them.
The 16th annual review will appear here on DobberHockey throughout the summer. This is not a review of the likely performance on the ice or in the standings, but in the realm of fantasy hockey.
Impact of changes – Anaheim did a solid job of filling out their roster with cheaper, better options. Up front, Rowney and Gibbons can do just as good a job as Grant, Brown and Chimera – and with a good crop of prospects on the way the other spot can be filled easily. But can they fill in for Ryan Kesler if he is indeed out for the season as is rumored? That’s another discussion entirely, but the short answer is obviously – no.
On defense, Bieksa was arguably doing more harm than good and Beauchemin’s best years were behind him. Schenn and Sustr aren’t huge upgrades, but they’re not downgrades either. This is Free Agency 101: let other teams overpay the big-name players and instead use the market to shore up depth on the cheap.
Ready for full-time – This is where the depth signings really come in handy. If Troy Terry or Sam Steel is ready for NHL duty, it’s not a big deal to stick Gibbons or Rowney in the minors. If they’re not ready until midseason or later, then keeping Gibbons and Rowney will work just fine.
Terry already proved that he can compete with experienced players when he was one of Team USA’s better players at the Olympics. What he also has going for him is his talent in shootouts – that alone could convince Coach Randy Carlyle to play him. That being said, Carlyle is very cautious with his youngsters so keep your hopes in check when it comes to Terry and what he will do as a rookie-pro. (Troy Terry profile and prospect info here)
Steel may have the highest upside in Anaheim’s system other than Ryan Getzlaf. He also has a winning pedigree. He’ll get into some NHL games this season but is earmarked mostly for AHL action. If Kesler is out, it’s entirely possible that Steel slots in for him and the team’s offense is better for it. (Sam Steel profile and prospect info here)
Two other prospect forwards who are close to being NHL ready but are on the outside looking in – Kalle Kossila and Anton Rodin. The latter has been ravaged by injuries over the past several years and his development has all but stopped. It would require multiple roster injuries in order for Rodin to get a shot. Kossila is a victim of the numbers game. There are too many forwards ahead of him and just like Rodin he will need help to get into the NHL on a regular basis. (Kalle Kossila profile and prospect info here)
On defense, Marcus Pettersson showed that he belonged in the NHL with a strong late-season performance, although his play dipped in the playoffs (minus-4 in four games). He doesn’t have any fantasy value though. And neither does Jacob Larsson, a stay-at-home defenseman who is probably an NHL player by midseason. (Marcus Pettersson profile and prospect info here)
Anaheim Ducks prospect depth chart and fantasy upsides can be found here (not yet ready for mobile viewing, desktop only right now)
Fantasy Outlook – Ryan Getzlaf may be 33, but he’s still got a couple more superstar years in him yet. But Corey Perry is a third-line player dressed in first-line player’s clothing. Rickard Rakell has down well to replace Perry as that second star forward, but the Ducks are still lacking. And if Ryan Kesler truly is out for the entire 2018-19 season as has been discussed, then there are too many minuses. For the Ducks to improve as a team high in fantasy value players, one of Steel or Terry need to vault into Calder Trophy discussions in 2018-19.
At least they have above-average goaltending and defensemen. Brandon Montour could take that next step and become Anaheim’s only 50-point defenseman next season.
Fantasy Grade: C+ (last year was C+)
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