It’s unfair to expect 22-year-old Jakob Silfverberg to immediately replace four-time 30-goal scorer Bobby Ryan on the Ducks’ scoresheet or in the hearts of their fans.
But Silfverberg, who had 10 goals and 19 points in 48 games with Ottawa last season, has enough talent to suggest he will carve out his own niche with the Ducks, who acquired him with winger Stefan Noesen and a 2014 first-round draft pick for Ryan in July.
Switched from his natural right side to the left Thursday, Silfverberg meshed with right wing Teemu Selanne and center Nick Bonino during the first day of practice at Anaheim Ice. To Coach Bruce Boudreau, Silfverberg lived up to his billing.
“Every game that I watched Ottawa play — and I watched quite a few of them — Silfverberg’s name was being brought up in a positive mode,” Boudreau said. “Two-way player. Plays both ends of the ice. Smooth skater. Solid, great shot. And you see those things.”
Silfverberg acknowledged he didn’t expect to be traded, but he’s determined to make the most of the move.
“Since it came to me as a surprise it motivated me to work even harder,” said the 6-foot-2, 196-pounder, who was drafted 39th by Ottawa in 2009. “I got excited to come to a whole new team and play for a new organization.”
Skating alongside Selanne was a bonus. “He’s been around for such a long time and he’s been one of the best players in the league for many, many years,” Silfverberg said. “Playing with him is a great experience. You can learn a lot from him.”
The Ducks hoped to draft Noesen in 2011, but Ottawa — drafting one spot earlier — beat them to him. The Ducks then traded their pick to Toronto for two later picks and used those to claim center Rickard Rakell and goalie John Gibson, both elite prospects.
Noesen, 20, is a native of Plano, Texas. He played the last four seasons in the Ontario Hockey League and is likely to start the season in the minor leagues but wants to make a good impression while he can.
“I’d like to be a top-nine guy,” Noesen said. “I want to push for a spot this year. I think I had some big gains over the summer and I feel good and strong and in shape. I want to prove myself and hopefully push for a spot.”
Back to the future
Dustin Penner, Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry were reunited Thursday for the first time since Penner left as a free agent soon after the Ducks’ 2007 Stanley Cup triumph.
“It was a lot of fun to be out there with those guys again,” Penner said. “It’s déjà vu. I keep noticing things like that over and over again….It’s pretty interesting as you get older to look back and see how far you’ve come.”
Perry said all three have the size and skill to be effective down low. “I think we’re going to be fighting over who’s going to be in front of the net more,” he said.
Boudreau praised the line of Andrew Cogliano, Saku Koivu and Emerson Etem. “I know it’s the first day and not all the guys are against NHL guys, but I’ve got to believe the speed of those guys is going to create a little bit of havoc with anybody they play against, because they play with enthusiasm all the time as well,” Boudreau said.