Anaheim Ducks: What We Learned from the Training Camp Scrimmage
The Anaheim Ducks have finished their only intra-squad scrimmage, and there was a lot to take away from the hour-long event, which saw the white-clad team triumph over their club-mates in the black sweaters by a score of 6-1.
Here are a few quick observations and thoughts:
Remember the name Andrew Gordon—you might be hearing it a lot more, particularly around the start of the season.
The high-scoring right winger came into camp predicted to put up a serious battle for a spot on the opening-night roster. He definitely made a case for it, scoring two goals in the scrimmage.
Gordon scored an impressive 57 points in 50 games with the Hershey Bears of the AHL last season and looks hungry to take his game to the big dance.
Possibly one of Gordon's biggest contenders for one of these coveted roster spots, Emerson Etem had a much quieter scrimmage until the later stages of the game, when he stole the puck from a bigger and more seasoned Ducks veteran, Sheldon Brookbank. He then fought through a retaliation slash and still managed to bury a goal in spectacular fashion.
Etem, a native of Long Beach, California, looks to already be building a reputation as a fan-favorite and has a knack for scoring some beautiful goals with some very creative stick-handling.
His strength has improved remarkably from last season as well, making him a top candidate to claim a roster spot.
Offseason acquisition Andrew Cogliano appears to be starting to gel with some of his teammates and even scored a goal off a beautiful wrist-shot from the top of the slot.
It looks like he'll be a great fit as a third-line forward, though not necessarily at center, as the Ducks have been experimenting throughout camp with him at both the center and left wing positions.
His speed is apparent on the ice, though, as he's able to work his way into tougher spots purely by being quicker than the defensemen in front of him.
Rickard Rakell may not be ready for the NHL just yet, but the Ducks' first-round pick from the 2011 NHL draft certainly made a name for himself early as he made a beautiful play to set up teammate Jean-Francois Jacques for the first goal of the scrimmage.
Even though he's only 18 years old, Rakell looks to be a smart draft choice already and could be the next forward of the future for Anaheim.
Also drafted in 2011, goaltender John Gibson had a fairly solid scrimmage, stopping Dan Sexton on a breakaway early in the first period.
It's going to be a fairly long road for Gibson to get to the big club (notably with Jonas Hiller backed by Dan Ellis being the current goaltending duo), but Gibson looks to be developing nicely, as he appeared very calm and collected for a teenager—particularly one facing shots from NHL veterans.
Bobby Ryan (groin), Kurtis Foster (knee) and Maxime Macenauer (groin) didn't participate in the scrimmage to rest their injuries. However, none of the injuries were declared serious, and they should be ready to go within a couple of days.
This does hurt Foster, however, as he's been unable to really practice with any of his new teammates and get used to the Ducks' system. Not exactly the best way to start the season for the guy who's being relied upon to replace a failed Andy Sutton.
I don't have confirmation of it, but I don't believe either Toni Lydman or Matt Beleskey participated either, each recovering from similar shoulder surgeries in the offseason and neither being cleared for contact yet.
A lot more about this team will become clear tomorrow night, when the Ducks face the Phoenix Coyotes in their first preseason game at Honda Center. The game will be on online radio only starting at 7:05 p.m. Pacific Time.
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