When it came to scoring goals last season, there were few teams worse than the Anaheim Ducks. They averaged just 2.45 goals per game, which was worth 23rd place in the NHL.
Part of the problem was the struggles of the trio of Corey Perry, Bobby Ryan, and Ryan Getzlaf. All three should rebound in 2012-13 — although it remains to be seen if Ryan will be traded.
However, the Ducks need more than just a star-studded top line and, of course, Teemu Selanne to be an elite team. They need at least some degree of secondary scoring.
That’s what they really lacked last season. Selanne, Perry, and Ryan were the only players that breached the 15-goal mark and only three other players finished with between 10-14 goals. One of them was Saku Koivu, who will turn 38 in November and, unlike Selanne, is starting to show his age.
Unfortunately, this is one area of their game that they really didn’t address over the summer, so if the team is going to progress in 2012-13, they really need someone other than their big four to step up.
One potential candidate is Kyle Palmieri, who has been a star in the AHL for two seasons now and might get a full-time job with Anaheim next season. Another prospect that might be part of the solution is Peter Holland, who will be competing for a roster spot after getting his first taste of life in the NHL last season. He netted his first NHL goal last November and went on to record 60 points in 71 games as an AHL rookie.
If youngsters like them can emerge as at least complimentary players in 2012-13, then the Anaheim Ducks might be a serious playoff contender. If they don’t, then Anaheim is probably in for another long season.
CHICAGO — Blackhawks forward Boris Katchouk will be sidelined for four to six weeks with a left ankle sprain, the team announced Sunday.
The 24-year-old Katchouk played almost 12 minutes during a 3-0 preseason loss to Detroit on Saturday night. He was acquired in a multiplayer trade with Tampa Bay in March.
The Blackhawks open the season on Oct. 12 at Colorado.
The team also said forward Jujhar Khaira is day to day with a right ankle injury.
ANAHEIM, Calif. — Ducks defenseman Urho Vaakanainen was taken off the Honda Center ice on a stretcher after he crashed into the end boards in the first period of Anaheim’s preseason game against the San Jose Sharks.
The Finnish defenseman was conscious and alert with full movement in his extremities at UCI Medical Center, the Ducks said.
The frightening incident occurred midway through the opening period when Vaakanainen smashed into the boards at a dangerous speed behind the Sharks’ net. Vaakanainen appeared to be concentrating on the pass he had just made to Derek Grant, who scored the Ducks’ opening goal on the assist.
Vaakanainen’s teammates came onto the ice and gathered around him as he was taken away on the stretcher.
The Ducks acquired the 23-year-old Vaakanainen from Boston last March in the deal that sent longtime Ducks defenseman Hampus Lindholm to the Bruins. After recording two assists in 14 games for the Ducks last season, Vaakanainen is attempting to win a top-six role on Anaheim’s defense this fall.
TAMPA, Fla. — The Tampa Bay Lightning and team owner Jeff Vinik are donating $2 million toward Hurricane Ian relief efforts.
The NHL team announced that $1 million each will be donated by the Tampa Bay Lightning Foundation and the Vinik Family Foundation.
“This is a tragic situation for many families and communities across the state of Florida, but especially so in the southwest region of the state,” Vinik said in a statement released by the team. “In times like these the most important thing we can do is support one another, and we hope this donation will help families recover and rebuild in the months to come.”
Ian made landfall Wednesday on Florida’s Gulf Coast, south of the Tampa Bay area. The Lightning postponed two home preseason games and moved the club’s training camp to Nashville, Tennessee, during the storm.
TORONTO — Rasmus Sandin has signed a two-year, $2.8 million contract with the Toronto Maple Leafs, the club announced on Thursday.
The 22-year-old from Sweden was the 29th overall selection in the 2018 draft. Sandin had 16 points in 51 games with Toronto last season. He’s played in 88 career regular-season games, with six goals and 22 assists, and has one goal in five playoff games.
“Got a great set of tools,” fellow defenseman Jake Muzzin said. “With experience, I think they’re only going to get better.”
The signing comes as the Leafs’ blueliners been hit hard by injuries. Muzzin has been dealing with a back issue, and Timothy Liljegren recently had surgery for a hernia.
Toronto then lost Jamie Benn (groin) and Carl Dahlstrom (shoulder) in Wednesday’s 3-0 preseason victory over the Montreal Canadiens, pressing forwards Calle Jarnkrok and Alexander Kerfoot into defensive roles for two periods.