Dynasty Hockey League

Goals lacking in Anaheim

Just past the halfway point in his inaugural season as general manager of the Anaheim Ducks, Lance Lavelle has a fairly bleak assessment of his franchise’s many woes.

“When I have to stand up here and praise the scoring contributions from Mikhail [Grigorenko], Matt [Beleskey], and Beau [Bennett], that’s sadly indicative of the [string of expletives] scoring we’re getting,” Lavelle said at Friday’s scheduled press conference.  “No disrespect to those gentlemen, but our team should rely on them for their defensive work, not on putting the puck in the net.”

Through 45 games, the Ducks have scored the fifth fewest goals in the league, putting the puck behind opposing netminders only 89 times this season — an average of 1.98 goals per game.

Lavelle continued: “When you can’t even score two goals in a game, how the hell do you expect to win more games than you lose? Thank the hockey gods for Scotty [Darling] and Antti [Raanta].”  Combined, the two goaltenders have allowed only 94 goals, good for the third fewest in the league and an average of 2.09 goals per game.

Mostly due to solid goaltending performances from the aforementioned Darling and Raanta, the Ducks have been able to remain close to the playoff bubble, but the scoring woes have seen the Ducks slowly drift from the fourth seed down to the ninth seed in just the past 15 games.  Indeed, Anaheim has only posted five wins in their last 23 games.

So what will the front office do as the trade deadline approaches?

“Conventional wisdom tells us that we could easily slip down to a top 4 or 5 pick in the upcoming draft — especially given our scoring woes,” Lavelle concedes.  “But our fans don’t want that and I don’t want that.”

“I’m looking to send some of our younger players out in exchange for older players who can help us now,” forewarned the general manager.  “We have a very small core of untouchables in terms of roster players and prospects.  But I want to craft a roster that can legitimately compete for a playoff spot.  The fans deserve that much.”

It is speculated that the “very small core” includes Bo Horvat up front and Seth Jones and Damon Severson on the blueline.  That leaves younger players like Joseph Blandisi, Vladislav Namestnikov, and Sven Baertschi questioning their futures with the organization.

Barring trades to address their scoring depth, the Ducks will maintain the status quo.

“Despite the saying, there really aren’t too many ways to skin a raccoon,” Lavelle mused.  “We need to put the puck in the back of the net.  That’s the only way to score a goal.”

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