3 Early Season Surprises: Anaheim Ducks Edition
The Ducks starting goalie has ended any bit of goalie controversy there may have been before this season had started. Freddy took over after Johnny Gibson gave up 6 goals in the season opener and has won all 5 games since. Freddy is 5-0 with a .950 save percentage and 1.38 goals against average during that span. Gibson was a guy that was supposed to take the reins and run with it, becoming a franchise goalie for Anaheim, but with Freddy's play it is difficult to put John in for the foreseeable future, Gibson has enjoyed early professional and international success, getting a shutout in his first NHL start and winning gold and bronze for the U.S. in the World juniors and World Mens tournaments respectively. Freddy is not your usual phenom, he is a 25 year old goalie who is only in his second NHL season where as Gibson is the best goaltending prospect in the world at the age of just 21 years. Freddy had however, spent years playing in Denmark and Sweden before finally coming over to America to play North American hockey at the age of 23. Freddy is a feel good story for any late bloomers who still have goals to reach, I love the idea of a total stud prospect taking the league by storm but it's hard not to be rooting for Freddy, also makes it easy considering he's 25-5 so far in his first two NHL seasons, yes he plays for a contending team but when you regularly post 20+ save efforts, you're doing your job well. Here's to future success for Freddy. Also Freddy brought hockey babe Hilary Knight to the Espy's so, guy is a stud off the ice as well.
William "Wild Bill" Karlsson
Will Karlsson is just an absolute stud, literally, guy has bright blonde flow and a typical Swedish mug. If you put Will next to the members of 1 direction, then it would be hard to say that he is a hockey player and not a part of the group himself. Bill does not play the typical European style, he will hit you, he will grind, but he will also put the puck in the net. Karlsson debuted in the Ducks' second game against the Swedish national team, I mean the Red wings, Wild Bill rang a couple off the post but overall impressed his teammates in his first game. Karlsson was even more impressive in his second game which was against Buffalo, Will scored 2 goals and was the best player on the ice that day. Karlsson is a guy that has been compared to fellow countryman Nick Backstrom, so even though he is a bottom 6 guy, he can be put anywhere in the lineup and contribute as such. Other than being a Scandinavian bro, Karlsson is unlike Freddy in that he is only 21 years of age and made the jump to the NHL relatively quick. Bill is a center man so he makes the Ducks that much stronger at that position and I hope he takes draws for Anaheim for the next decade at least, but if he surpasses 3rd line duties that could be tough with All Stars Ryan Getzlaf and Ryan Kesler in front of him. Wild Bill is no doubt pulling broads in So Cal and it wouldn't surprise me if he was hitting up starlets from neighboring Los Angeles. Anaheim plays Buffalo again tonight so don't be surprised if Wild Bill puts some pucks in the net and steals girls post game.
Sami is an offensive d man so him scoring isn't surprising, but how he is doing it and the quantity of points is. Vatty was made the power play QB, setting up and joining the rush in PP opportunities which is surprising because that was Cam Fowler territory in prior seasons and Fowler is growing into a top defenseman in the league. Sami Vatanen is more than likely going to stick with the big club after seasons of being sent up and down frequently on an overflowing D corps in So Cal. With 5 points in 6 games, Vatty has been a pleasant success for the Ducks and will be looking to continue early success as the season goes on, one thing about Vatanen which has prevented him from being looked at as seriously as he deserves, and the reason he was a 4th round draft pick is that he stand at just 5 foot 9 which is pretty small for a defenseman competing at the highest level, he is 23 so he is still a young guy and is developing at a healthy pace. Sami had his first multi goal game against St. Louis a few nights ago which is hard to do for anyone considering the Blues are incredibly strong defensively and might have the top D corps in the league, putting up 2 goals against them is no joke. Let's wish Vatanen continued success as a stud blue liner, he can be a huge reason the ducks go far this season, plus I just added him in fantasy so I'm hoping for points on that front too.