The hits keep coming for the Anaheim Ducks, and the headaches are unsettlingly familiar.
Last season, particularly early on, the Ducks were forced to deal with significant injuries, often needing to put far too many AHL-caliber forwards on the ice. Remarkably, the Ducks mostly kept their heads above water thanks to John Gibson and whoever else was able to suit up.
(You know, when Gibson wasn’t injured.)
Well, the Ducks haven’t even played the first of a looming 82-game grind, and it’s already looking like they’re going to need to stitch things together.
About a week ago, word surfaced that veteran winger Corey Perry would miss five months because of knee surgery. The Ducks announced more bad news today, as speedy winger Ondrej Kase is out indefinitely thanks to a concussion.
Kase, 22, suffered the concussion during the Ducks’ final exhibition game against the Los Angeles Kings on Sept. 29. The team didn’t provide specifics about how Kase was injured, so we’re left to wonder if this violent moment with Drew Doughty might explain it.
Either way, the Ducks are hurting entering the 2018-19 season. Perry and Kase are out, Ryan Kesler‘s entire season is cloudy, and Patrick Eaves is dealing with the sort of health questions that transcend the sport.
Anaheim also still has Nick Ritchie‘s RFA situation unsettled. Yikes.
With Wednesday’s season-opener (airing at 10:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN) nearing, the Ducks’ dire situation may best be seen in projected forward lines. Here are the latest combinations, via Left Wing Lock:
Good grief. Some of those names are so obscure, you’d almost assume they were randomly generated like draft picks in NHL 19’s franchise mode.
Considering the addition of Erik Karlsson, the Sharks stand to make even fully-featured teams look silly at times this season. On paper, this could be an incredibly one-sided matchup to begin the season.
At least the Ducks have experience making things work with such a threadbare roster.