When Randy Carlyle began his second stint as Anaheim Ducks head coach, many wondered if there would be a big drop-off from Bruce Boudreau.
One season doesn’t make a coach’s run – unless you’re an unfortunate soul like Dallas Eakins – but so far, Carlyle’s been a solid success. The Ducks won the Pacific Division for the fifth season in a row and fell to the Nashville Predators in the 2017 Western Conference Final.
Granted, that’s not to say that it was all good, as the Ducks will surely pour over the way their playoff run ended. There’s also concern that the Ducks’ core could be aging out, at least in all of Corey Perry, Ryan Getzlaf, and Ryan Kesler being 32.
The summer ended up being interesting.
GM Bob Murray let backup Jonathan Bernier walk in favor of Ryan Miller, while Reto Berra provides additional depth behind Miller and John Gibson. They didn’t lose Sami Vatanen or Josh Manson to the expansion draft, but Shea Theodore‘s absence is likely to sting. Simon Despres’ days with the Ducks are now over, too. Murray also brought in veteran and familiar face Francois Beauchemin.
The biggest move on defense likely ends the seemingly endless Cam Fowler trade rumors, instead signing Fowler to an eight-year, $52 million extension that kicks in starting in 2018-19.
They also kept Patrick Eaves around after a successful would-be “rental” at the trade deadline, handing the hugely bearded forward a three-year deal carrying a $3.15M cap hit.
So, the Ducks endured some changes, yet they also haven’t endured the sort of seismic alterations Anaheim experienced last summer. They now stand in an interesting spot, especially when it comes to the Pacific: will they hold off the Edmonton Oilers and other opponents once again? Will they remain legitimate Stanley Cup contenders or slip closer to the wild card?
PHT will break down the Ducks from several angles on Wednesday.