Zegras ready to help get Ducks' struggling offense back on track
The Anaheim Ducks' firepower could use a shot in the arm, and Trevor Zegras is looking to provide that boost.
"My biggest thing is kind of just competing and working hard," he said last week, per Mike G. Morreale of NHL.com. "At the core, what I do best is compete. I love to win, and that's kind of what drives me. That's kind of how I attack every day and how I get myself going."
Anaheim's offense has been in rough shape over the past three seasons.
Since the 2018-19 campaign, the club sits second-last in goals scored, ahead of only the Detroit Red Wings. No Ducks player has eclipsed the 50-point mark since Rickard Rakell and Ryan Getzlaf registered over 60 points during the 2017-18 season. This past year, Anaheim posted a league-worst 2.21 goals scored per game and finished last in the realigned West Division.
Zegras started his NHL career last season at left wing, a move the Ducks felt would ease the 20-year-old's transition to the pros. Anaheim sent Zegras to the AHL in early April to get him readjusted to playing center, his natural position, before calling him back up to finish the NHL campaign with the Ducks.
He put up 13 points in 24 games in his first NHL season and ended the campaign on a high note, with six of those points coming during his final six contests. Zegras also honed his faceoff skills, winning 46% of his draws during his last six games after winning just 37% in his first 18 matchups.
"Down the stretch I played center and thought I played great," Zegras said. "I definitely worked on my faceoffs, and I just feel really comfortable in the middle of the ice. It just felt normal."
After a unique season altered by the COVID-19 pandemic, Zegras hopes next year will be a bit more ordinary.
"Last year ... I feel like I didn't really get to experience the day-to-day life in the NHL," Zegras said. "I'm pretty excited to just get back to normal, kind of experience your first NHL season. I kind of just want to go there, be the best player I can be, and try and help the team any way I can."
Zegras, drafted ninth overall by the Ducks in 2019, is projected to begin the 2021-22 campaign at center on a line with Max Comtois and Troy Terry. The trio showed offensive promise toward the end of last season, controlling 62% of the expected goals for and high-danger chances at five-on-five.
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