Ducks Gameday: Big things expected from big-hitting Josh Manson
ANAHEIM — Now that they’ve secured his future with a four-year contract extension, the Ducks will expect big things from Josh Manson with their defense.
Manson has been elevated to a top-pairing role with Cam Fowler while Hampus Lindholm, his defense partner last season, remains out. His 22-plus minutes of work in Thursday’s opener against Arizona reflect his importance on the blue line.
Many see Manson as a potential elite stay-at-home defender due to his combination of big-hitting ability, smooth skating, shot suppression and effectiveness in the moving the puck out of his zone. Ducks coach Randy Carlyle is going to push him to get there.
“We think that he’s got more to give,” Carlyle said Saturday, ahead of the Ducks’ game against the Philadelphia Flyers at Honda Center. “He’s only stepping his toe in the water as to speak. I think there’s a lot more that Josh Manson can bring. He’s a big physical defenseman that can move the puck.
“We’d like to see him skate a little bit more with the puck and join the rush every once in a while. All those things. He can’t lose sight of the fact that if he’s not physical and not moving the puck effectively he lessens his chance and our chance to have success.”
Carlyle said it is too early to gauge how much chemistry has been developed within the three pairings on the back end. Brandon Montour, who has Francois Beauchemin as his partner, had a strong opening game. Korbinian Holzer is expected to stay in alongside Kevin Bieksa.
Holzer is in while Jaycob Megna likely sits out a second straight contest after making the team out of training camp.
“We’re going to have to find some minutes for Megna here eventually,” Carlyle said. “With Montour and Beauch, we’re going to ask them to probably play […]