Ducks News & Rumors: Stolarz, Zegras & More
Though the results this week did not go the way of the Anaheim Ducks, they were in the news for plenty of reasons. Players reached milestones while others went on the shelf with various injuries.
Leason Scores First Goal as a Duck
Brett Leason scored his first goal as a Duck in a 5-4 shootout win against the San Jose Sharks on Nov. 5. Leason was claimed off waivers from the Washington Capitals right before the regular season began and he’s played the role of fourth-liner/13th forward thus far.
Stolarz Sets New Career High
Goaltender Anthony Stolarz set a new career high in saves with 48 in the Ducks’ win against the Sharks last Saturday. It was his second victory of the week against the Sharks, with both coming in the shootout.
Stolarz is 2-1-0 this season with a 3.90 goals-against average (GAA) and a .901 save percentage (SV%). While those aren’t stellar numbers, they look Vezina-esque compared to those of starter John Gibson, who currently sports a 4.47 GAA and .888 SV%.
While the Ducks’ poor defensive displays have been a big reason behind Gibson’s struggles, Stolarz has played well enough to warrant more playing time. He’s in a contract year and it’s possible he gets dealt at the trade deadline to a contender in need of goaltending help. With Lukáš Dostál waiting in the wings down in San Diego, this could be Stolarz’s opportunity to put himself in the shop window.
Drysdale Undergoes Shoulder Surgery
Jamie Drysdale officially underwent surgery on Nov. 4 to repair a torn labrum that he suffered against the Vegas Golden Knights on Oct. 28. His expected recovery time is four to six months. It’s a big blow for the Ducks, who were hoping to see Drysdale take a big leap forward in his development this season. The injury stalls that notion for most if not the remainder of this season.
Regenda Scores First NHL Goal
In his first game back with the Ducks, Pavol Regenda wasted no time, scoring his first NHL goal in Wednesday night’s matchup against the Minnesota Wild. The winger collected a pass from Frank Vatrano as the third man in and ripped it over the left shoulder of Filip Gustavsson. It’s the third point of Regenda’s NHL career after picking up two points in a game earlier this season against the New York Rangers.
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Regenda was reassigned to the American Hockey League (AHL) on Oct. 31 and was on a four-game point streak prior to his recall. He made the Ducks roster out of training camp thanks to a terrific performance during preseason, but couldn’t seem to find a foothold in the lineup once the regular season began, with head coach Dallas Eakins even opting for 11 forwards and seven defensemen on several occasions.
With Adam Henrique away due to the birth of his first child, Regenda was able to step into the lineup and had an immediate impact. Whether Henrique will be back for tonight’s game against the Chicago Blackhawks is unknown, but if he isn’t able to return yet, Regenda will likely slot in once again.
Shattenkirk Suffers Lower-Body Injury
Kevin Shattenkirk suffered a lower-body injury against the Wild and was not able to come out for the third period. His absence means that the Ducks are now without both of their right-handed blueliners that carry significant NHL experience.
The extent of his injury is currently unknown, but another long-term injury would put the Ducks’ blue line in quite a flux. Urho Vaakanainen is still also working his way back from an injury that he suffered during the preseason.
Zegras (Almost) Scores Another Lacrosse Goal
What can’t Trevor Zegras do? The answer is “score a lacrosse goal at home,” apparently. The young phenom was at it again on Wednesday, using his dazzling puck skills to pick up the biscuit behind the Minnesota net and fling it into the net all in one motion. The skill, the score, the salute that followed—on Military Appreciation Night, no less. Everything about it was delightful. Except for the fact that the zone entry was offsides.
The energy of the Honda Center crowd went from razzed to rage when the announcement from the official was that the goal was waved off due to offsides. The video review (thanks to Wild head coach Dean Evason’s challenge) showed that Vatrano was marginally offside at the far side of the blue line upon entry.
It’s certainly a disappointment for not only the fans but Zegras as well, even if he’ll never admit it in public. It would have been his third lacrosse goal as an NHLer after pulling off the feat twice last season.
Grant Placed on IR, Strand Recalled
Derek Grant was placed on injured reserve Friday morning, retroactive to Nov. 3. The veteran had missed the previous four games with an upper-body injury. In his absence, Glenn Gawdin and the aforementioned Regenda have taken turns in the lineup.
Defenseman Austin Strand was also recalled from San Diego with Shattenkirk out and Nathan Beaulieu—who only played six minutes in Wednesday night’s loss to the Wild—possibly injured as well. Strand joined the Ducks organization this past offseason after spending the previous three seasons in the Los Angeles Kings organization. He has appeared in 21 NHL games in his career, sporting a plus-1 and three points (all assists).
Troy Terry had his five-game point streak snapped on Wednesday and will look to start things back up again. The Ducks are still searching for their first win in regulation through 14 games with the next opportunity to do so tonight at home against the Blackhawks.
Derek Lee is a contributor for The Hockey Writers covering the Anaheim Ducks. Derek has spent nearly two decades immersed in the world of sports and has been writing about sports for five years. He graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Sports Communication in May 2020 from UCCS in Colorado Springs, Colo., where he also spent two and a half years on staff with their on-campus student newspaper–both as a sports reporter and editor. In his free time, he enjoys playing FIFA, curating his Spotify playlists and attending concerts & sporting events