For a team, such as Anaheim, who is currently sitting 14th in the NHL with a 6-13-4 record, totaling a mere 16 points in 23 games, there are so many different problems that need to be addressed. In all honesty, there aren’t many aspects of the game that Anaheim can really be proud of aside from the play of Teemu Selanne, and the penalty killing units who have bailed the Ducks out of trouble many times.
This list is a sample of 10 different pieces of Anaheim’s game that needs to be fixed if the Ducks have any hope of turning this nightmare of a season around.
Statistics have shown that it isn’t just a gut feeling that the Anaheim Ducks have struggled in the first chunk of each period. In the first nine minutes of each period, they have a combined goal differential of a -24, while the latter 11 minutes of the periods have been much better with that same statistic sitting at an even zero.
Needless to say, Anaheim must find a way to have fire coming out of the gate if they want any hope of turning this dreadful season around.
Statistics say volumes about a team, such as Anaheim, who have seriously struggled through this season. Anaheim has yet to win a game if the opposing team scores the first goal, and if they score first, they only win an average of 54.5 percent of the time.
Anaheim is the only team in the league who has not won any games after falling behind first. So not only can Anaheim not hold onto leads, blowing them time and again, but they also can’t find a way to come back if they forfeit the first goal.
Inconsistency has plagued Anaheim between the pipes this year, and I will outspokenly blame the one and only, Jonas Hiller. Hiller, who was selected to be an All-Star last season, has been mediocre at his finest moments for this entire season.
I understand that a lot of the goals were “un-save-able,” and he has made some impressively acrobatic blocks, but still, the goaltender’s job is to give the team a chance to win, and Hiller has not don’t that this season at all.
Right out of the gate, I suggested that Ryan Getzlaf was too young and too hotheaded to have the “C” on his chest. This whole season, the Anaheim fans have been forced to watch Captain Getz argue with referees and take some personal retaliation penalties.
To keep this short, I strongly believe that the captaincy should be given to long-time Montreal captain Saku Koivu, who has proven his levelheadedness and leadership abilities time and time again.
Anaheim has fallen shorthanded 104 times in just the 23 games played this season. Even though the Ducks have killed 85.6 percent of penalties, they have put a huge weight on the shoulders of their penalty killers.
Anaheim has spent almost 34 more minutes on the penalty kill than on the power play, and so unless the penalty killers manage to start scoring tons of shorthanded goals, this is something that needs to change to help Anaheim in the long run.
This team needs to find a way to stop with the selfish retaliation or anger penalties that they are notorious for taking.
When only two of the eight defenders on the roster have a positive plus/minus rating, you know there is a huge issue that needs to be tackled. Some of Anaheim’s top defenders have some of the worst statistics, such as Cam Fowler who has a -13, Toni Lydman who has a -11 or Lubomir Visnovsky with a -9.
This roster of blue liners aren’t even giving the goaltenders the opportunity to keep the team in the game, and because of that, modifications need to be made now.
In Anaheim, there are so few opportunities that the Ducks are on the happier side of a man-advantage situation, it is nothing short of essential to make the best of each and every power play Anaheim is given.
The Ducks succeed on just 16.3 percent of power play opportunities with 14 power play goals of 133 shots over 86 chances with the extra man. The team has yet to convert on a 5-on-3 chance after four opportunities, and yet they should be punishing teams time and again for undisciplined play by scoring on power plays.
Anaheim currently has a 4-8-0 home record, are stuck in a five-game losing rut and have lost 11 of the past 12 games, seven of which were at home at Honda Center.
The Ducks seem to be a strong testament against the idea of home ice advantage, and instead have made it their goal to prove that theory wrong. The last home with for Anaheim was a 4-3 victory over the Vancouver Canucks back on Nov. 11. Home ice should be where a team can almost always feed off the fans’ energy and pull for two points, not disappoint a home crowd over and over again.
Anaheim is ranked a despicable 29th out of 30 teams in average goals for per game, with an average of 2.13 goals. Just one player on the roster has 10 goals, and that is last season’s Hart and Rocket Richard Trophy winner, Corey Perry.
It is embarrassing to look at the statistics of the top line, who, if you consider Ryan Getzlaf, Bobby Ryan, and Corey Perry the top line, have just 21 goals combined, averaging less than one goal per game, a statistic that is unacceptable for the No. 1 line.
This may seem like a bit of a cop out, however Randy Carlyle has not been on the same wavelength as the rest of the team pretty much all season. For a coach who has proven himself time and again, this season has been insanely uncharacteristic for Carlyle, but he really needs to find a way to fix the system he’s implementing on the guys.
Carlyle clearly hasn’t communicated with this team, and either this has to change or he needs to find a new team to coach.