Sam Steele made the most of his chance to play after he was kicked out in the first three games of the season, falling victim to the numbers game in the center position. The Ducks expected him no less during his debut season on Tuesday in a headlong 6-5 defeat to the Edmonton Oilers.
Ducks coach Dallas Eakins put Steele in a left-wing spot when 18-year-old rookie Mason McTavish was placed in the reserve for an unidentified lower-body injury. Steele’s shift from center to wing was almost seamless, aided by his linemates.
Steele scored two goals, with the help of his team-mates, center Isak Luneström and right wing Jakob Silfverberg. Steel had a plus -3 defense rating on a relatively modest 17 shifts at 11:51, giving Ducks the rarest of all recent offensive boosts: performance.
“I’m very proud of this kid,” Eakins said of Style. “He worked his ass. He just happened to be outside. I’m not sure if he could have done much more. Instead of playing the poor me card or making half-hearted efforts for a few days, he comes in and works on his butt every day.
“He didn’t say anything except, ‘I’m going to work. I’ll be ready when you need me. ”
Ryan Getzlaf, a seventeen-year veteran, of course was promoted to head coach during training. Trevor Zegras, a brilliant rookie, finished second. And this is not surprising. Lundestrom finished third while another rookie, Bo Gro, won the training camp battle and overtook Steele.
Eakins stressed that there is no reason to believe that 23-year-old Steele was in his kennel after a season in which Steele seemed to roll on spot as his career progressed, scoring just six goals and adding six assists in 42 games in 2020. year. 21. Last month everyone was given a fresh start at training camp.
“Hopefully it becomes part of our future,” Eakins said. “He has just been isolated by other players. Right now in the middle is Getzlaf and Zee. Lundestrom played very well. Bo Grulks did a great job on the fourth line, so he (Steel) must find his way there. He may also have to play on the flank.
“We are very far from abandoning Sam Steele. He’s just an incredible kid. ”
The disappointment continued on Tuesday for the Ducks’ next contender, the Winnipeg Jets. The Minnesota Wild won 6-5 overtime, leaving the Jets (0-2-1) without a win early in the season. The Ducks hung a 4-1 defeat at the Jets on opening night October 13 at the Honda Center.
Goalkeeper John Gibson is expected to begin Thursday’s rematch in Winnipeg after losing to the Oilers on Tuesday. Gibson suffered a lower-body injury when Jets player Andrew Kopp knocked him down in the third period last week. A day later, Eakins called it “dirty play.”
Gibson leads 2-0-0 with 1.46 goals versus average and 0.961 shooting percent.
Winnipeg has a goalkeeper problem: Connor Hellebike holds a 0-2-1 record, an inflated 4.66 goals versus average and an under-stellar 0.856 shooting percentage. It was unclear whether he would be the Jets’ starting first or whether backup Eric Comrie would be in goal.
In addition, Jets captain Blake Wheeler is expected to miss several games due to COVID-19. On Tuesday, the team said he had “positive symptoms.” He must go through a 10-day quarantine before he can return to the ice. The Jets dressed 11 forwards and seven defenders on Tuesday.
Splitting the first two games of their four-game trip, the Ducks took a day off from Wednesday’s practice in Winnipeg. They kicked off their journey Monday with a 3-2 overtime win over the Calgary Flames, with Gibson making 41 saves. The ride concludes with a Saturday afternoon game against Wild.
Ducks in Winnipeg
When: 17:00 Thursday
Where: Center for Life Canada, Winnipeg
TV / Radio: BSSC / 680 CJOB (Winnipeg)