While the Ducks’ struggles continue even with Bruce Boudreau behind the bench, one Anaheim columnist thinks he has the solution to help fix their problems:
Trade Ryan Getzlaf.
Orange County Register columnist Jeff Francis believes that by trading Getzlaf, the Ducks can get the equally big return and change of chemistry that they need to get things turned around.
“For Getzlaf, a trade might be the best thing right now. Boudreau recently tried separating him from longtime linemate Corey Perry. The coach also changed his top power play unit by removing Getzlaf. The changes yielded nothing.”
Getzlaf has been brutal this year. His points are way down, the chemistry he’s had with Corey Perry has been completely missing and the Ducks have remained miserable in the face of a coaching change this year. There are a lot of problems in Anaheim, but Getzlaf’s unimpressive play as the captain of the team is disturbingly noticeable.
The other side of this, of course, is that the Ducks may not consider making such a drastic move. The organization’s issues lie in the lack of depth they have all over the ice. Outside of their top six, the forwards are unimpressive. Their defense is a mish-mash of hopeful youth and veterans who are questionably good.
The one thing trading Getzlaf could do is help improve their depth by adding more players who are better fits in the NHL. The downside here is, getting rid of a superstar-quality player for depth means getting rid of a huge talent and that kind of risk is one Ducks GM Bob Murray may not want to make.
Pavel Zacha was this close to making his NHL debut.
Just days prior to opening their season against the Jets, the Devils returned Zacha — the sixth overall pick at this year’s draft — back to his junior club in OHL Sarnia.
The move comes after Zacha, 18, impressed throughout training camp and the preseason. He appeared in four exhibition games for New Jersey, scoring one point while endearing himself to the organizational brass, coaching staff and players.
“He understands the game. He plays with a maturity. It’s crazy to think an 18-year-old coming out of high school is up here and playing with the maturity and understanding of the game with the new system,” Kyle Palmieri told NJ.com. “I think he’s got a lot of raw talent there as a power forward. He’s got the body for it, the puck-handling skills and the nose for the net.”
At 6-foot-3 and 210 pounds, Zacha has the frame and physical stature to play at the NHL level, and looked the part for long stretches of the exhibition season, getting turns on New Jersey’s top line.
The decision to send him back to junior is probably the right one, however.
Zacha only turned 18 in April and has limited experience even at the OHL level; ’14-15 was his first year with Sarnia, though he did appear in 38 Czech League games (for Liberec) the season prior.
There’s another Raffl in the NHL.
On Tuesday, the Jets announced that Thomas Raffl — the older brother of Flyers forward Michael Raffl — has signed a one-year, one-way deal worth $575,000.
Raffl, 29, was in Winnipeg’s camp on a PTO after a lengthy career in Europe. He spent time playing in Sweden and his native Austria, most recently with powerhouse EC Red Bull Salzburg — last year, Raffl scored 53 points in 52 games for Salzburg and three in seven games for Austria while serving as team captain at the World Hockey Championships.
“We would like to recognize and express our appreciation to the EC Red Bull Salzburg organization for allowing Thomas and the Winnipeg Jets this opportunity,” Jets GM Kevin Cheveldayoff said in a statement.
With the Jets, Raffl projects to play in the bottom-six forward group, where he can utilize his 6-foot-4, 215-pound frame in a checking-slash-energy role.
For now, though, he’ll start out with the club’s AHL affiliate in Manitoba.