Potential 2020-21 Anaheim Ducks Bounce-Back or Breakout Players

2020-21 Anaheim Ducks
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Welcome to the latest series here at Last Word on Hockey. Each day, we will take a look at a new team and examine three of their potential breakout or bounce-back players. What are these? These are players that have the chance to make a serious difference with their teams. Whether that’s as someone who finally finds their place in the NHL, or as someone who had previously been good but has struggled as of recently. Each day we will be looking at a different team! However, today we will take a look at the potential 2020-21 Anaheim Ducks key players. 

2020-21 Anaheim Ducks Candidates

Troy Terry

Our first name for the 2020-21 Anaheim Ducks is none other than Troy Terry. He has been hyped as a prospect for a few seasons now, however, at 23-years-old he needs to start showing he can stick in the NHL at a full-time pace. Last year, he had a stint in the AHL and ended up playing 47 games with the big club. In those games, he had four goals and 11 assists for 15 points. Not exactly the most inspiring numbers for a player. In 81 total NHL games, he has eight goals and 20 assists for 28 points. All things considered, that’s still very good output for a guy who was a fifth-round pick in 2015. No one can complain about it at all, but he also has a chance to take the next step on a Ducks team that might not be very good.

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Reasons for Optimism

So, what is there to be optimistic about? For starters, Terry put up some very respectable defensive numbers since entering the NHL. He has a positive xGA/60 and CA/60 while on the ice since entering the league. Yes, it is a small sample. However, considering most of the Ducks teams he has played on have been very poor in their own end, that is at least somewhat encouraging to see.

If he can take on a bigger role and chip in a bit more offensively, Terry could become a very critical part of this team. Defence usually doesn’t get praised, especially not from forwards. However, having a responsible top-six player who is legitimately strong in his own end can be critical for success. As well, it’s possible we see his assist numbers go up if he plays with someone like Jakob Silfverberg, who is a consistent 20-goal scorer. Terry showed lots of flashes of offensive brilliance in College, where he was well over a point per game in his final two seasons. There is still potential he puts it all together, which is why he is leading this list.

John Gibson

Next up is a name that might be surprising if you didn’t pay much attention to the Ducks last season. Goaltender John Gibson is the one the Ducks will be looking towards having the biggest bounce-back season. The only one on this list under that category, Gibson had an uncharacteristically bad season. Some thought he might have been playing through injuries, and playing in front of a bad team doesn’t help at all either. However, nothing about Gibson’s numbers were good. He posted a .904 save percentage and a 3.0 goals-against average. These aren’t flattering but it gets worse when you look at the analytical side of things.

Gibson had a goals saved above average of -8.02 and a goals saved above expected of -9.92. These ranked 41st and 37th respectively out of 50 goalies with 1000 or more minutes played. Based on most statistics, Gibson’s numbers would suggest he was a backup level. However, anyone who has paid attention to the Ducks for the past few years would know this was not the normal Gibson.

Reasons for Optimism

Simply put, Gibson has been one of the best goalies in the league over the past five or so years. Since 2015-16, there have been 44 goalies who have played 5000 or more minutes at 5v5. Gibson ranks third in GSAA and first in GSAx since that season. In GSAx he is way ahead of second place, almost doubling their total. This is despite having a very poor 2019-20 campaign as well.

It really should not be shocking to anyone to see Gibson return back to form next year. Or at least closer to his past self than this one year. He has been one of the best goalies of the past five years and at just 27-years old, you would like to think he isn’t declining already. He also has played some tough minutes in his career, often dealing with some kind of injury. So this rest may actually be one of the few people that it has helped. If he can come back healthy, rested, and ready to go, he should be a massive help in the 2020-21 Anaheim Ducks campaign.

Christian Djoos

Our final candidate for the 2020-21 Anaheim Ducks is defenceman Christian Djoos. Now, this one is a little more out of the box. However, Djoos is someone who has had some mixed results in the past few seasons with a chance to throw it all together. Unless the previously mentioned Gibson can drag this team back in what might be a weak Pacific division, it is very likely that this Ducks team is going to struggle this year. They are in the middle of a re-tooling phase after being one of the best teams in the league for the better part of the last decade.

This may mean that come this deadline, they look to move some players. Now, maybe Djoos is one of those players. However, if the Ducks want to hit a full reset, what is to stop them from trading a Hampus Lindholm or Josh Manson? The price would have to be right, but you can get a fortune for defenceman these days. If that were to happen, it immediately opens up a spot in the top four. That is where Djoos would have his chance.

Reasons for Optimism

As mentioned before, Djoos has had some very different results over the past few seasons. In a limited role three years ago, he was absolutely lights out. Now, he was playing sheltered minutes on a Washington Capitals team that won the cup that year. But his insane impact closer to the bottom of the lineup played a role in that too. The following year he played very poorly and saw his role get shrunk. To the point where last season, he played most of it in the AHL with the Hershey Bears. Between Washington and Anaheim, he played just 11 games. It’s such a small sample size you can’t put much stock into it, but he was pretty good in those 11 games.

The 26-year-old is going to be hungry this year. He had 32 points in 42 games in the AHL last season, which is very solid for a defender. If he can manage to help generate some offence, something this Anaheim team desperately needs, he may work himself into a bigger role than expected. They brought in Kevin Shattenkirk to do the same type of thing. However, too many good players is never an issue. Look for Djoos to be a player that gets a chance on this team, and look for him to have a potential breakout season.

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