After coming within two games of reaching the Stanley Cup Final a year ago the Anaheim Ducks find themselves on the outside of the Western Conference playoff picture through the first half of the 2017-18 season. They are still well within striking distance of a playoff spot, but it is still probably not where they expected to find themselves at this point after such a successful performance a year ago. The biggest issue is the fact the Ducks have been hit with a pretty devastating run of injuries that has decimated their core for much of the season. Their overall record and underlying analytics leave a ton to be desired at this point and makes it seem like this is, at best, a mediocre hockey team. But we don’t really know how good this Ducks team is — or how good it can be — because we really haven’t seen it as it was meant to be constructed. The man-games lost numbers through the first half are truly staggering. They spent most of the first half playing without their top-two centers (Ryan Getzlaf and Ryan Kesler) with Getzlaf missing 24 games and Kesler missing, to this point, all but six games. On the wings Corey Perry has missed 11 games while Jakob Silfverberg and Rickard Rakell have each missed five. On the blue line Hampus Lindholm has missed 13 games and Cam Fowler has missed 12. That is 107 man games lost to injury for a group of players that counts for more than $40 million against the salary cap this season. The core of Getzlaf, Perry, Kesler, Silverberg, Fowler and Lindholm has been together for just one games this season (their most recent game), and even on that night Kesler was limited to just eight minutes before leaving with yet another injury.
Don’t count out a healthy Ducks team in second half
Pro Hockey Talk | Jan 9