The Anaheim Ducks are one of the league’s most inconsistent hockey clubs and it has thus far cost them dearly this season.
There are games and stretches where they look unbeatable and then there are other times where they look awful. The team is going through a tough stretch of games here as they have lost four straight games and are now three points out of the second wild card spot.
While the fact that they are only three points out of a playoff spot is good, the way they have been playing lately might end up causing them to miss the playoffs. They have been bad in every area of the game and are clearly looking like a team that needs to make some kind of change.
For starters, this team’s offense is awful. They are currently 30th in the league in goals scored as they have scored just 121 goals in 53 games, which means they are averaging just over two goals per game.
The truth of the matter is that their offense has not been great for a long time. They are slow, not creative with the puck, and do not put enough pucks on net as they are currently averaging just over 28 shots per game.
With the team’s offense being so bad, the club’s power play has been awful. They are currently 29th in the league and with a roster that has some gifted forwards, one would figure it would be a lot better than where they are right now.
It’s also a problem when your team has given up more goals than it has scored. As of this writing, the team has given up 166 goals in 53 games, which means they are allowing just over three goals per game.
While it would be easy to blame the goaltender in any other case, that does not apply to this hockey club. The only reason why the Ducks are even close to a playoff spot is because of the play of John Gibson.
Gibson has easily been the team’s most valuable player. His numbers may not look great anymore (17-18-8 with a 2.93 goals-against average, a .914 save percentage, and two shutouts), but it is certainly not his fault.
He faces a lot of shots on a nightly basis, he makes the big saves when needed to, he does not allow a lot of soft goals, and he keeps his team in games when they have no business being in them in the first place.
What I think needs to happen in order for this team to make some serious changes is that they need to miss the playoffs. Yes, they’ve been a consistent contender for many seasons, but with the way this team is playing and how the roster is composed, they will not be able to win a Cup anytime in the near future.
One thing that could help this is if the team fires head coach Randy Carlyle. There is no doubt that Carlyle is a good coach, but the style of play he preaches to this hockey club no longer works in today’s NHL.
This team needs to figure out what they want to do moving forward. Sure, they can make the playoffs, but I have a funny feeling that they’d get knocked out in the first round.
It’s time for this team to change course and get with the times in order to have success in the future.
*Photo: Winnipeg Free Press