A fan event featuring opportunities to meet and interact with Anaheim Ducks players will highlight the team’s training camp, which begins Sept. 21 at Great Park Ice in Irvine, California.
The Ducks, coming off a last-place finish in the NHL overall standings and absent from the Stanley Cup playoffs each of the past five seasons, feature a new coach in Greg Cronin and several new players. Among them is two-time Stanley Cup champion winger Alex Killorn, who arrived via free agency from the Tampa Bay Lightning.
Killorn and fellow newcomers Radko Gudas, Robert Hagg, and Ilya Lyubushkin are among those expected to participate in what the Ducks are calling Fly Together Fan Camp beginning at 8 a.m. Sept. 23. Fans are invited to join the team for warm-ups and interact with players on the east grass area in front of Great Park Ice.
Live music, as well as appearances from team mascot Wild Wing and the on-ice crew known as the Ducks Power Players will also be part of the festivities. Giveaway items, including tickets to select games, are also scheduled.
In addition to all the new faces, the biggest storyline entering training camp is the uncertain status of two of the Ducks’ more promising young players, center Trevor Zegras and defenseman Jamie Drysdale. Both restricted free agents, they are not expected in camp as contract negotiations are reportedly well short of resolution.
Zegras, 22, paced the Ducks with 65 points and shared the team lead with 23 goals last season. Drysdale, 21, appeared in only eight games because of an early season shoulder injury but showed well in each of the two previous campaigns.
Center Isac Lundestrom, meanwhile, is expected to miss much of the season after undergoing surgery to repair an Achilles tendon injury suffered during a summer training session.
Killorn, 34, has excelled in a support role on a superstar-laden Tampa Bay team since breaking into the NHL in 2013. He played in all 82 games for the Lightning last season, totaling 27 goals and 64 points.
Gudas and Hagg, both free-agent additions, and trade acquisition Lyubushkin, all defensemen, are being counted on to help shore up the Ducks’ most glaring weakness. Anaheim surrendered an NHL-worst 335 goals last season.
Mr. Cronin, formerly a coach in the Colorado Avalanche’s minor-league system, succeeds Dallas Eakins, whose contract the Ducks opted not to renew after last season, his fourth behind the team’s bench.
A training camp roster of more than 60 players includes eight chosen by the Ducks in the first rounds of the past five NHL drafts. Swedish center Leo Carlsson, the second overall selection this year, is the latest high-profile addition under Pat Verbeek, who is attempting to orchestrate a challenging rebuild as he begins his second full season as general manager.
The Ducks are scheduled to open an eight-game preseason schedule against the Los Angeles Kings at 5 p.m. Sept. 24 at Honda Center in Anaheim. The regular-season opener, a road game against the Stanley Cup champion Vegas Golden Knights, is set for Oct. 14.