Without a doubt, Ducks coach Dallas Eakins has named Troy Terry as their best player this season.
But Terry is now officially out — week after week with an upper-body injury — forcing Eakins to shuffle the lineup deck for the foreseeable future. His absence from the top line meant Ryan Strome was promoted to play with Trevor Zegras and Adam Henrique beginning Tuesday’s game in Chicago.
The reshuffle gives players like Frank Vatrano and Max Jones a chance at more premium minutes.
The Ducks made a significant commitment to Strome during the offseason when they signed him to a five-year, $25 million contract. His tally so far – 10 goals and 25 points in 53 games – has fallen short of what he achieved with Rangers in New York last season.
On the other hand, Strome spent most of last season playing 5-5 minutes with Artemi Panarin in New York and there just aren’t the same opportunities with the rebuilding Ducks. But unlike pending unrestricted free agent John Klingberg, who could be with the Ducks for less than a season, Strome will be an integral part of the Ducks organization with four more years of contract.
This track could offer a real-time reality check of what Strome can possibly do. To be a good player, sometimes you have to play with other good players.
Regarding replacing Terry, there’s a short answer and a longer one.
“You can’t,” Eakins said. “I believe in ‘the next man up.’ Everyone moves up a little bit and takes on a little more responsibility. But I think it’s hard for any team to replace their best player. Not only is Troy a threat offensively, he’s super responsible.
“And he’s a leader in our dressing room. You can’t replace guys like that. One can only hope that the boys take on a little more responsibility and try to plug the hole as best they can.”
Zegras, the team leader in goals (19) and points (44), acknowledged the difficulty of continuing without Terry.
“You take a guy like that out of the lineup and it definitely hurts,” he said. “That’s what this league is about. Guys step up when guys come off the lineup. We all hope he gets better soon because we all love him and miss him. I definitely miss playing with him out there.”
It looks like there are seven teams in the running: Columbus, Chicago, Anaheim, Chicago, San Jose, Montreal and Vancouver.
Of those seven teams, the Ducks have the best aggregate record in the last 10 games (5-3-2), while Chicago’s turn is 5-4-1 on Saturday. Currently, the Blue Jackets are bottom overall with 34 points, six behind the Ducks and three behind the Blackhawks.
The Ducks recalled goalie Lukas Dostal from AHL San Diego and returned goalie Olle Eriksson Ek to the Gulls on Saturday.
On Friday night, Dostal made 35 saves in San Diego’s 2-1 overtime win over the Coachella Valley Firebirds at Pechanga Arena.
With the Ducks this season, Dostal is 2-3-1 and has a 3.53 goals-against average and a 0.909 percent save rate.
Ducks in Vegas
If: noon Sunday
Where: T-Mobile Arena, Las Vegas
TV: Bally Sports SoCal
https://www.ocregister.com/2023/02/11/ducks-star-troy-terry-isnt-replaceable-but-opportunity-arises/ Ducks star Troy Terry is irreplaceable, but an opportunity arises – Orange County Register