ANAHEIM, Calif. — Troy Terry is the epitome of the Anaheim Ducks’ rebuilding efforts over the past four years. After slow progress that could often be characterized as one step forward and two steps back, Terry and the Ducks are putting together a breakthrough season.
The right wing already has career highs in goals and points with the season just past the halfway point. Terry is sixth in the league with 24 goals and has 40 points in 41 games played. His performance has led to Terry’s first All-Star Game selection after he was voted in by the fans as part of the Last Men In balloting.
With Terry helping lead the way, the Ducks are second in the Pacific Division with 52 points and a point behind Vegas for the division lead, a promising change after three straight losing seasons.
“It’s been fun to see Troy go from a prospect into a young player and now a key component of our offense,” said coach Dallas Eakins, who first had Terry in San Diego of the AHL.
Terry started to gain some confidence late last season, which served as a springboard to this year. Instead of overanalyzing every play or overthinking during a slump, the 25-year-old started to stress having a more consistent approach to games despite the result.
“I wish I could tell myself three or four years ago what it was going to be like,” said Terry, who is in his fourth NHL season. “It’s taken awhile to figure out that you can’t ride the highs and lows and be so down on yourself.”
The change to an even-keel approach hasn’t been the only adjustment. Terry switched jersey numbers, going from 61 to 19. The Denver native wore 19 during his amateur and minor-league days as a nod to his favorite player, former Avalanche great and current general manager Joe Sakic.
Terry played youth hockey with Sakic’s son, Mitchell, while Joe Sakic helped coach their team during the 2004-05 NHL lockout. Terry also wore No. 19 when he led the University of Denver to the 2017 NCAA championship.
“I was very excited coming into this year. To have that number was a visual thing that it’s actually a fresh start for me,” Terry said. “I felt like I kind of started to find my stride last year. I knew my biggest thing was just gonna be my consistency.”
Terry was known for his stick handling and creativity with Team USA during the 2017 World Junior Championships and 2018 PyeongChang Olympics as well as with the Ducks’ AHL affiliate in San Diego. But it took him a while to rebuild that confidence in the NHL, especially when things weren’t working right away.
Terry said he would go into a shell and then play to avoid getting taken out of the lineup, instead of relying on his skills.
“Last year I felt like when I was getting into these good scoring areas I didn’t have the confidence. I was just happy to have the scoring chance. This year when I get into those areas I’ve got the confidence and I’m excited because I am ready to score,” he said.
Terry didn’t succumb to pressure earlier this season when he was on a 16-game point streak, the third-longest in franchise history. Teammates said he was even-keeled the entire time.
He’s also proven to be clutch when needed. Terry is tied for second in the league with six game-winning goals, with the latest coming Monday night at Boston. It was Terry’s first game back after he missed four due to COVID-19.
After having just eight multiple-point games his first three seasons, Terry already has eight this season, including his first hat trick on Jan. 4 against Philadelphia. He has two goals and three points in three games since coming off the COVID-19 list and six goals, nine points in his last eight games.
Terry and the Ducks are looking to stay in playoff contention the rest of the season. With John Gibson in goal and rookie forward Trevor Zegras making a bid for the Calder Trophy with highlight goals and assists, Anaheim figures to be in the headlines for at least the rest of the season.
“I mean, for me, this is exciting. We’ve been through some tougher years and we’ve worked hard as a team,” Terry said.