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The Anaheim Ducks’ Season is Winding Down… So, why am I not sad?
A question was recently asked on our Twitter account. We asked fans if anyone else was kind of sad that, with only seven games remaining, the Anaheim Ducks season is almost over. My answer was no, not really.

Don’t get me wrong, once the season is over I’m going to feel upset waking up each morning and not having a huge reason to consistently be checking Twitter or religiously checking the NHL website to see who is trending up and down.

I may be slightly upset that I won’t find myself staying up until 1:00 AM on a work night to watch the Ducks play, but ultimately this season has been a massive roller-coaster ride and I’m starting to feel the deep-fried fair food stirring in my stomach. So, it might be a good time to hop off.

There are 3 main reasons for that and I’m gonna lay them out for you today so you can understand my thinking, and maybe feel more excited than depressed that hockey season is drawing to a close once again.

Reason 1: The Draft!
The Anaheim Ducks franchise as we know it is quite a successful franchise. The current core of the team was started in 2005, in my eyes. That was the start of the transition from the Paul Kariya led “Mighty Ducks of Anaheim” to the “Anaheim Ducks” with the development of Ryan Getzlaf, Corey Perry, and the soon to be re-arrival of Teemu Selanne and arrival of Scott Niedermayer. The franchise had a new trajectory.

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Since that “Changing of the Guard” the Ducks have only had 3 top 10 picks in the NHL Entry Draft, only two of which were originally theirs. With those picks, the Ducks selected, in chronological order: Bobby Ryan, Hampus Lindholm, and Nick Ritchie. Not a bad crop of players. The most underwhelming of the three being Nick Ritchie. He has been impressive this season, and while he may not be an elite player, he is an NHL player and one who can fill many roles.

The other 2 are highly praised players, Bobby Ryan scoring 30 goals in 4 straight seasons with the Ducks before being traded and Hampus Lindholm seen as the best defenseman on the Ducks and a cornerstone piece of the franchise as they move forward. Acquiring a player of that caliber is always exciting and the prospect of drafting in the top 10 this season is something to salivate over.

There’s a ton of talent in this draft, and while the narrative has been “Hughes vs Kakko” all season, you shouldn’t sleep on the prospect of drafting a Dylan Cozens, Kirby Dach, Peyton Krebs, Cole Caufield, Ryan Suzuki, and Alex Turcotte, among others. The Anaheim Ducks are going to get a blue-chip prospect, which is something they’ve sorely, sorely missed in recent years due to always drafting in the 20-30 range.

That’s not taking into account the second 1st round pick the Ducks acquired, and Bob Murray‘s (with a ton of credit also going to Martin Madden) ability to make players like Rickard Rakell, John Gibson, Sami Vatanen, Brandon Montour, Shea Theodore, Max Jones, Josh Manson, Ondrej Kase, Troy Terry look like the steals of the draft picking them anywhere from the late 1st to 7th round.
As well as the possibility of Murray making some trades at the draft to perform some of the “major surgery” that this team required according to this team by Bob Murray. Needless to say, this will be one of the most exciting drafts in recent years for Ducks fan and I for one am incredibly excited for the Draft Lottery and subsequent draft.

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ANAHEIM – The Ducks have leaned heavily on goalie John Gibson frequently this season, and he came up big late in a 2-1 victory over the Avalanche this afternoon at Honda Center.

With Anaheim clinging to a slim one-goal lead down the stretch, Gibson made a crucial save on Colorado’s Gabriel Landeskog near the left post with just a couple seconds remaining to seal the win and snap a five-game losing streak. It was the second game in a row for Gibson, who had missed significant time with various injuries last month.

After the Ducks went in front 2-0 on by Jakob Silfverberg and Cam Fowler, Colorado got its first score four minutes into the third period to cut the Anaheim lead in half. But the Ducks were able to hold on to the lead the rest of the way, notably when the Avs sent goalie Philipp Grubauer to the bench for an extra attacker.

The Ducks got Ryan Getzlaf back in the lineup after the captain had missed five games with an upper-body injury. He was part of the ceremonial puck drop for CHOC Night at Honda Center, which featured a patient named Carson Shurtz, who overcame inflammatory arthritis as well as pain amplification syndrome through treatment at CHOC Children’s, earning a 4.9 GPA and enrolling at USC.

Of the victory, Getzlaf said, “It was good. I thought we grinded it out tonight. We played a lot of the right [style of] hockey. Throughout the night, we had some other opportunities we could’ve scored on. When push came to shove, we made the right plays and we did the right things.”

After failing to light the lamp two night ago, the Ducks broke the ice just 3:17 into this one, when Silfverberg sent the water bottle flying with a sizzling wrister from the right wing, his 100th as a Duck. Anaheim made it official yesterday morning, signing Silfverberg to a five-year contract extension.

Silfverberg’s short-side snipe
00:54 • 5:00 AM

Meanwhile, the Ducks held Colorado without a shot in the first seven minutes of the game.

Anaheim made it 2-0 halfway through the second courtesy of Fowler’s fourth goal of the season, a point shot that deflected off Colorado winger Matt Calvert’s stick blade and skipped past Grubauer. It was the 57th goal of Fowler’s Ducks career, placing him second all-time among franchise defensemen. (His goal held as the game winner, which placed him in a tie with Scott Niedermayer (13) for the all-time franchise lead among defensemen in GWG.)

Fowler’s power-play goal
00:51 • 5:00 AM

“You can talk a lot about the positive things you’re doing as a team, and continue to stay in that mindset,” Fowler said, “But it’s difficult when you don’t get the end result you want. That’s kind of the way things have been going the last three or four games. It was another good effort by our guys tonight, especially defensively. We come out with the win, which makes it that much better.”

Things got heated later in the period after Ian Cole’s ugly hit on Anaheim’s Devin Shore earned him a five-minute major for kneeing. The Ducks weren’t able to score with the lengthy man advantage, during which Corey Perry was given a double-minor for roughing Patrik Nemeth, who had slashed Perry’s hand. Nemeth also got two minutes for roughing in the scrap.

Colorado got back in the game in the first five minutes of the third, seconds after a Josh Manson hooking penalty, on a one-timer by Derick Brassard. But with the help of Gibson, the Ducks kept the puck out of the net the rest of the way.

Though the Ducks play six of their next seven games at home, they are in Arizona to face the Coyotes on Tuesday night.

“Everyone knows the situation we’re in, where we’re at in the standings,” Fowler said. “The important thing is we come to work every day and play for one another. There was a lot that went on in the beginning part of the season, and we lost our identity for a little bit. We were a little bit lost in general as a team. We’re very focused on simplifying things now. We have a simple message, and it’s work hard for one another and trust one another. When you do that, you tend to have good results.”