2018 Anaheim Ducks Predictions with Futures Odds and Expert Picks
The Ducks have been a stable conference fixture. They have made the playoffs six years in a row and 11 times in the last 13 years. Over that time, they have won a Stanley Cup and played in the Western final three more times - most recently in 2017. They have been a model franchise. But the core of the team has been Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry since the start of this success, and they aren't getting any younger - both of them are 33, and this league is getting younger every year. They are both still productive - Getzlaf was better than a point a game last year, and Perry had 49 points in 71 games. But it can't last forever. Transitions away from core superstars aren't easy for teams, and it often doesn't go well. This will be a challenge for this team - one they surely hope that they don't have to face this year.
Anaheim Ducks Offseason Moves
The team did not rank among the most active this offseason by any measure. In fact, they head into the season with largely the same core as last year. Francois Beauchemin retired this year after his third stint with the Ducks, but he was a 38-year-old defenseman who looked like one last year, so he doesn't leave a giant hole.
The free agency moves this offseason were more shuffling the decks on the chair than anything. They signed seven guys, but the top contract was just $1.3 million a year, and not all of the guys are destined for the NHL roster. Maybe the most interesting addition is Jared Coreau, a journeyman goalie who has looked solid in the AHL but has struggled in 21 NHL games in Detroit. John Gibson is a star goalie who has a habit of getting hurt, and Ryan Miller is a backup so old he remembers when there were only six teams, so the team needs to have a safety net - pardon the pun. Coreau is probably not the answer, but depth is depth, and goalies are always tough to judge.
The team did some important work in the offseason with the players they had, locking up John Gibson for eight years at very reasonable money for a guy of his caliber and locking down Adam Henrique for five years.
Teams as consistent as this one can't rely on the draft for immediate
gratification. This year's top pick, 23rd overall selection Isac
Lundestrom, a center from Sweden, is a couple of years away from being
ready. The young players threatening to make the roster this year will be
the picks from the 2015 and 2016 draft. Of those, the most interesting is
2016 30th pick Sam Steel, who's offensive production will make him a
serious steal if it can translate from junior hockey to the bigs.
Anaheim Ducks NHL Outlook
There are old guys on the decline and young guys on the rise. Last year it was a formula that worked well enough to get 101 points and finish second in the West, but that effort was wasted when they were swept by San Jose in the first round. And it is a formula that could easily be headed to the playoffs again. But the West is absolutely brutal this year, with at least 12 teams primed to be serious playoff contenders. Other teams have improved more than Anaheim, so the margin for error feels much smaller. For years now the range of expectations has felt like anywhere from first to third in the Pacific for this team. Now that range feels more like first to sixth. The upside is still there, but the downside is growing.
Anaheim Ducks Schedule
This team has three road trips of five games, and one of six, and all four come between Nov. 25 and Feb. 9. That's a lot of hotel points in a short time. The last two are particularly brutal - they play five away starting Jan. 13, return home for one game against St. Louis, then they head east for five more. Overall, they play 14 of 18 away in that stretch of games. That feels like a make or break time for the team.
Anaheim Ducks NHL Futures Odds
Anaheim is at +3000 to win the Stanley Cup at Bovada . That has them tied with Dallas and Columbus and behind 13 other teams, including seven in the West. They are viewed as far from a playoff lock, in other words. The season win total sits at 96.5 this year.
2017-18 Anaheim Ducks Predictions
With so many more teams than playoff spots in the West, something has to give, and Anaheim feels like one of the most vulnerable of the teams that were playoff squads last year. They absolutely could make the playoffs again and could win the Pacific without causing any real shock. But if they missed the playoffs it wouldn't a shock, either. These are the teams that I just hate as a bettor. I'd lean to the "under" on that season total if I had to, but there are easier teams to judge and better value to be found.
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