Ducks' Verbeek quietly effective in his first Anaheim Ducks' offseason
It's not as if Pat Verbeek ever played a quiet game. He's the only player in NHL history to amass more than 500 goals, 2,500 penalty minutes and win a Stanley Cup.
Everyone knew when Verbeek was on the ice. He was a loud player.
He has Hall of Fame-caliber numbers and yet it always feels as if his playing accomplishments never draw as much attention as they should. His GM career is starting the same way. Verbeek is off to a strong start with little fanfare.
His free agents signings Ryan Strome ($5 million per season) and Frank Vatrano ($3.8 million per season) are both good value acquisitions.
The Anaheim Ducks were 24th in scoring last season and he added two players whose offensive ability is underrated. While fans were busy debating whether Strome was a legitimate second line center, Strome was essentially a 50+ points producer for four consecutive New York Rangers ' seasons.
Meanwhile, Vatrano, 28, has only reached 20 or more goals once in his career. But doesn't he look dangerous every time he's on the ice? With the right opportunity, he could be a consistent 20-goal guy.
But the real recruiting win for Verbeek was persuading John Klingberg to come to the team for next season. It's not easy to recruit to the Ducks because Verbeek is essentially retooling this team.
My guess is Verbeek sold Klingberg on the idea that this is a win-win for the team and the player. The marketplace didn't have enough teams with cap space to get Klingberg the long-term, big-ticket deal he really wanted.
By accepting the one year deal at $7 million, he gets his raise for this season and he can test drive the Ducks to see if he likes them as a long-term fit. The Ducks can also decide if they like the relationship.
This Ducks team is intriguing. This team is rebuilding, but the fact that Trevor Zegras and Jamie Drysdale are already playing and Mason McTavish will play next season probably pushes them ahead of schedule.
McTavish may be special. He's a talented player with a beastly presence.
But it's not all rainbows and sunshine. The Ducks also moved Rickard Rakell, Hampus Lindholm and Josh Manson at last year's trade deadline. However, Isac Lundestrom, Troy Terry and Maxime Comtois theoretically will be better this season. They are younger players still moving toward their prime seasons.
Verbeek may not be sure exactly what he has for this season. The addition of Klingberg strengthens their defense, particularly with his slick ability to move the puck to the forwards. If John Gibson has a quality season in net, the Ducks could be more competitive than we think.
But improvement is not the same as making the playoffs.
Verbeek's style will be similar to his good friend Steve Yzerman's managerial style. They are both organized, thorough and patient. They are both decisive. Verbeek has plenty of cap space and he will use that cap space in a variety of ways to strengthen his team, just like Yzerman has.
Verbeek has always gotten job during his NHL career. And he's done that job without drawing much attention to himself. He's a humble, hard-working farm boy. That probably won't change now that he's a general manager.