Quack of Dawn: Ducks Report

The Sporting Tribune's Derek Lee has the latest on the Anaheim Ducks.

It was an unusually long weekend for the Ducks after a 3-2 win Friday night over the Montreal Canadiens. The team practiced Saturday morning and then had an off-day yesterday. They practiced this afternoon before departing for Seattle, where they will play tomorrow night against the Kraken.

Unlike Saturday morning, the team went through actual line rushes, with newly acquired Brock McGinn finding himself on the top line with Trevor Zegras and Ryan Strome. Head coach Dallas Eakins said after practice that McGinn will bring responsibility and grit to the line, just like Jakob Silfverberg—who had been on the top line in the absence of the injured Adam Henrique—did.

Fighting among the forwards

Silfverberg returned to the third line alongside Isac Lundeström and Frank Vatrano, a line that Eakins feels has done well recently. The addition of McGinn has created a logjam up front with 14 forwards now on the active roster, which means two of them will now have to watch from the press box every game.

“I think the competition for the forwards is kind of down between four guys off the top of my head,” said Eakins. “They’ll kind of move in and out of that fourth line—maybe pop in on the third line.”

Mar 1, 2023; Anaheim, California, USA; Anaheim Ducks center Sam Carrick (39) passes during the 2nd period against the Washington Capitals at Honda Center. Mandatory Credit: Jason Parkhurst-USA TODAY Sports

Eakins cited Derek Grant as a staple of the fourth line. Grant has found himself up and down the lineup due to his versatility but now is manning the fourth line with the team nearly at full strength.

“I think it’s important to keep everyone fresh right now, continued Eakins. “I don’t want to have anybody out of the lineup too long but if the other guys are playing very well, it’s hard to take them out. That’s where the competition really lies up front.”

McGinn ready for new opportunity 

It was a hectic week for Brock McGinn, who was placed on waivers by the Penguins last Tuesday and then traded to Anaheim on Friday in the deal that sent Dmitry Kulikov to Pittsburgh.

“Yeah, (it was) definitely a hectic week in Pittsburgh there for the last couple of days,” said McGinn. “But I saw when I was getting traded (to Anaheim), I think it made the week a little better and I’m looking forward to this opportunity.”

Feb 20, 2023; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA; Pittsburgh Penguins left wing Brock McGinn (23) moves the puck against the New York Islanders during the first period at PPG Paints Arena. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

McGinn, at just 29, is one of the older players on a fairly young Ducks team. He brings plenty of playoff experience from his time with the Carolina Hurricanes and Ducks general manager Pat Verbeek mentioned on Ducks Stream’s “The Beeker” that McGinn plays a “hard-working, gritty style that can produce offense.”

“I try to play a good 200-foot game,” said McGinn. “I like to get in those dirty areas in the corner and try and get the pucks back, maybe go to the net too and try and bank some home.”

Harrington carving out bigger role

While McGinn has yet to make his Ducks debut, another new face has. Scott Harrington made his team debut last Wednesday against the Washington Capitals after being claimed off waivers from the New Jersey Devils the day prior. Harrington skated alongside Colton White and logged 13:05 of ice time. On Friday, Harrington skated alongside Cam Fowler, manning the right side.

“He was more than willing to do that, which is smart of him,” said Eakins. “When you’re really trying to establish yourself, it’s just ‘nod your head’. He just moves the puck efficiently, he’s not trying to complicate things. He’s got a firm understanding of what we’re trying to do system-wise (and) seems like a really good character kid.”

Mar 3, 2023; Anaheim, California, USA; Anaheim Ducks defenseman Scott Harrington (17) interacts with Montreal Canadiens center Christian Dvorak (28) during the first period at Honda Center. Mandatory Credit: Kiyoshi Mio-USA TODAY Sports

Eakins said that Harrington will continue to be paired with Fowler for the time being.

Harrington has enjoyed his time in Anaheim thus far and has no qualms about having to play his off-hand.

“(In this league) there’s so many more (left-handed defensemen) that you have to get used to playing on the right side. At some point or another, I think everyone’s played on the right side and I’m comfortable doing that. It doesn’t really make a difference for me.”

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