Ducks could rely on McTavish, rookies to help struggling offense

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After the NHL Draft, free agency and other offseason moves, NHL.com is examining where each team stands in preparation for the 2021-22 regular season, which starts Oct. 12. Today, the Anaheim Ducks.

2020-21 season: 17-30-9, eighth in Honda West Division; did not qualify for Stanley Cup Playoffs

Key arrivals

Mason McTavish, F: The 18-year-old was selected with the No. 3 pick in the 2021 NHL Draft after he scored 11 points (nine goals, two assists) in 13 regular-season games and seven points (two goals, five assists) in four playoff games for Olten EHC in the Swiss League, the second-highest professional league in Switzerland. He scored 11 points (five goals, six assists) in seven games and filled in as captain for first-place Canada at the 2021 IIHF Under-18 World Junior Championship when Shane Wright missed two games because of injury.

Key departures

Danton Heinen, F: He was not given a qualifying offer and signed a one-year contract with the Pittsburgh Penguins on July 29. He scored 14 points (seven goals, seven assists) in 43 games last season. … Ryan Miller, G: The 41-year-old, who has the most wins by a United States-born goalie in NHL history (391), retired after last season. Miller was 4-8-2 with a 3.51 goals-against average and .882 save percentage in 16 games (14 starts) last season and was the backup to John Gibson the past four seasons. … Haydn Fleury, D: He was selected by the Seattle Kraken in the 2021 NHL Expansion Draft on July 21 after scoring four points (three goals, one assist) in 47 games for the Ducks and Carolina Hurricanes last season. Fleury scored three points (two goals, one assist) in 12 games after he was acquired in a trade with the Hurricanes for defenseman Jani Hakanpaa on April 12.

 

[RELATED: Complete Team Reset coverage]

 

On the cusp

Jacob Perreault, F: The 19-year-old, who was selected in the first round (No. 27) of the 2020 NHL Draft, scored 17 points (three goals, 14 assists) in 27 games with San Diego of the American Hockey League last season, his first as a professional after playing the previous two seasons with Sarnia in the OHL. … Brayden Tracey, F: The 20-year-old, who was a first-round pick (No. 29) in the 2019 NHL Draft, scored 21 points (nine goals, 12 assists) in 22 games with Victoria of the Western Hockey League last season and played 12 games for San Diego. … Benoit-Olivier Groulx, F: The 21-year-old, selected in the second round (No. 54) of the 2018 NHL Draft, was third on San Diego in scoring with 29 points (10 goals, 19 assists) in 42 games last season, his first as a professional. … Alex Limoges, F: The 23-year-old completed his senior season at Penn State University, where he scored 125 points (51 goals, 74 assists) in 128 games. Limoges signed a professional tryout with San Diego on March 25 and scored 21 points (11 goals, 10 assists) in 23 AHL games. … Josh Mahura, D: The 23-year-old led San Diego defensemen with 20 points (six goals, 14 assists) in 28 AHL games last season. Mahura, a third-round pick (No. 85) in the 2016 NHL Draft, has played 41 NHL games the past three seasons, and scored four points (one goal, three assists) in 13 games last season. … Simon Benoit, D: The 22-year-old has continued to improve since being signed as a free agent March 7, 2019. He earned a late-season call-up with the Ducks last season and played six of their final seven games, averaging 17:12 of ice time. … Lukas Dostal, G: The 21-year-old was 10-1-0 with a 1.64 GAA, .941 save percentage and one shutout in 11 games for Ilves in Liiga, Finland’s top professional league, last season. Dostal, who was selected in the third round (No. 85) of the 2018 draft, came to North America and was 15-9-0 with a 2.87 GAA and .916 save percentage in 24 games for San Diego.

What they still need

A playmaker. Gibson is good enough to anchor Anaheim’s defense on most nights, but the Ducks need to find a way to generate offense after ranking last in the NHL in goals per game in two of the past three seasons (2.21 in 2020-21; 2.39 in 2018-19). Trevor Zegras, the No. 9 pick in the 2019 draft, showed some promise as a rookie last season, scoring 13 points (three goals, 10 assists) in 24 games, but Anaheim will need him to take his game to the next level this season. Since 2018-19, the Ducks are one of two teams who have not had a player score at least 50 points in a season (Arizona Coyotes).

Video: ANA@MIN: Zegras wires shot into the corner of the net

They said it

“Obviously by signing a contract it shows my belief. You know, this is a group that, like I said, took good strides last year. We have a little ways to go, we got some things to do, hopefully [Anaheim general manager Bob Murray] can do a little bit more and fill a few more holes for us. But overall … my belief is extremely high going into this year. My expectation is high, and I’d like to take that big step forward this year.” — captain Ryan Getzlaf after signing a one-year contract July 28

Fantasy focus

Zegras and defenseman Jamie Drysdale are among the top seven rookies in NHL.com’s fantasy rankings for this season and each made a fantasy impact last season. Drysdale, the No. 6 pick in the 2020 draft, scored eight points (three goals, five assists) in 24 games. Even during Anaheim’s rebuild, the rookies are worth prioritizing in fantasy, individually or as a stack, anytime outside the top 150 overall and much higher in keeper leagues. — Pete Jensen

Projected lineup

Max Comtois — Trevor Zegras — Troy Terry

Max Jones — Ryan Getzlaf — Jakob Silfverberg

Alexander VolkovSam SteelRickard Rakell

Isac Lundestrom — Adam HenriqueDerek Grant

Cam FowlerJacob Larsson

Hampus LindholmKevin Shattenkirk

Jamie Drysdale — Josh Manson

John Gibson

Anthony Stolarz

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