The offseason continues to progress at a grinding crawl for the Anaheim Ducks, with many of their major events set to occur after the conclusion of the Stanley Cup Final. For now, most of their work continues to be done behind the scenes in the scouting department as the organization prepares for the upcoming draft and free agency.
KHS Ice Arena Added to The Rinks Foundation Development Program
Last week, The Rinks Foundation added KHS Ice Arena in Anaheim to its development program. The Rinks oversees several youth hockey organizations including the Anaheim Jr. Ducks and the Anaheim Lady Ducks. Both have produced notable pro hockey alumni in Collin Delia, Cam York and Cayla Barnes.
KHS Ice Arena will be rebranded to The Rinks – KHS ICE and is scheduled to reopen under its new name on Monday, June 27. KHS ICE becomes the ninth hockey and skating facility under The Rinks Development Program, which was launched in 2009. The addition is another step toward furthering the development of youth hockey in the Southern California area.
Former Duck Miller to Have Jersey Retired by Sabres
When goaltender Ryan Miller made his way to Anaheim prior to the 2017-18 season, many expected him to not only fill an important role as the understudy to starter John Gibson, but to also provide veteran leadership in the locker room.
Miller did just that during his four seasons with the Ducks and while he began to show the signs that he was close to hanging up the skates, he remained a true professional to the end. While Miller’s tenure in Anaheim certainly wasn’t enough to warrant having his jersey number hung in the rafters of Honda Center, he will be honored on the opposite side of the coast in Buffalo.
This upcoming season, Miller’s jersey number will be retired by the Buffalo Sabres – with whom Miller spent the first 11 seasons of his career. During his time with the franchise, Miller posted a 284-186-57 record in 540 games with a .916 save percentage (SV%) and 2.60 goals-against average (GAA). He is currently the franchise leader in games played, wins and saves. He also won the Vezina Trophy in 2009-10 and placed fourth in voting for the Hart Trophy.
Miller will be the second goaltender – after Dominik Hasek – in Sabres’ history to have his number retired and it’s certainly a prestigious honor for a player who spent 18 seasons in the NHL.
2022 Stanley Cup Final Features Many Familiar Faces
This season’s Stanley Cup Final will feature more than one familiar face for Ducks fans. After seeing their beloved Corey Perry make it to the Cup Final in consecutive seasons with two different teams, “The Worm” is back once again, this time playing for the team that beat him in both previous Cup Finals, the Tampa Bay Lightning. Current teammate Pat Maroon was also his teammate when the pair played for the Ducks, and they’ll face off against former teammates Andrew Cogliano and Josh Manson, both now members of the Colorado Avalanche.
Cogliano and Manson were both trade deadline acquisitions this season for the Avalanche, joining from the San Jose Sharks and Ducks, respectively. This is the first Stanley Cup Final appearance for both Cogliano and Manson as well as a majority of the Avalanche roster.
For Perry, this will be his fourth Stanley Cup Final appearance and Maroon’s fourth as well. His fourth consecutive, actually, after winning the Cup with the St. Louis Blues in 2019 and then hopping over to the Lightning the following season, where he’s won back-to-back Cups and is now hoping to win his fourth straight.
While it may hurt to see several former Ducks finding success away from Anaheim, the idea of seeing a former fan favorite hoist the Cup – even if it is for another team – can be quite sentimental. Here’s wishing the best of luck to all four players.
Gibson Refutes Trade Request Rumors
On Monday, Sportsnet’s Nick Alberga tweeted that Gibson was open to being dealt and that the belief out of Anaheim was that the club had been informed of his desire to be dealt. However, that information was refuted shortly afterward by NJ.com’s Ryan Novozinsky, who spoke to Kurt Overhardt, Gibson’s agent.
The Athletic’s Eric Stephens doubled down on this information after speaking with Gibson on Tuesday. Stephens reported that Gibson had not communicated any desire to move on from the Ducks and that he is not seeking a move (from ‘Ducks’ John Gibson says he hasn’t asked for a trade: ‘None of that is true’’, The Athletic, 06/14/22). Gibson also has a 10-team no-trade clause in his contract, which has five years remaining with a cap hit of $6.4 million.
While there is the belief that Ducks general manager Pat Verbeek will at least field offers for his star netminder, it would take quite a package to pry Gibson away from the Ducks, despite the rebuilding state of the organization. With Anthony Stolarz and Lukáš Dostál the only other goaltenders on the team with NHL experience, any deal involving Gibson would certainly involve another goalie coming back the other way.
Ducks to Host Development Camp in July
This week, the Ducks announced several offseason dates to keep an eye on. There’s the NHL Awards on June 21 followed by the 2022 NHL Entry Draft on July 7 and 8. The Ducks will then host their annual development camp at Great Park Ice in Irvine, Calif. from July 11-17. The event will be the first exposure for newly drafted prospects to playing alongside potential NHL players and the first opportunity for fans to see some of the organization’s top prospects skate during open practices.
Because of the rescheduled World Juniors tournament, prospects like Mason McTavish, Olen Zellweger, Sasha Pastujov and Ian Moore (all four participated in the original 2022 World Juniors tourney) could potentially be headed to Alberta in August, the tourney’s new date.
The Ducks will have plenty of work to do once July hits, but for now, it’s simply a lot of sitting and waiting. There are certainly many avenues that the Ducks could go down this offseason, but the main goal will be remaining committed to rebuilding the team at a pace that Verbeek sees fit.
Derek has been a hockey fan for over 10 years and a sports fan in general for more than two decades.
Prior to graduating from UCCS in Colorado Springs, CO in May 2020 with a bachelor’s degree in Sports Communication, he spent two and a half years as part of UCCS’ on-campus student newspaper staff–both as a sports reporter and editor. He is now creating Ducks-related content from his home in Southern California.
In his free time he enjoys playing FIFA, watching video essays on YouTube and curating his Spotify playlists.