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Ducks’ Josh Manson is on point with production from blue line

By in Press Enterprise on January 5, 2018

By Eric Stephens

EDMONTON, Alberta — Meet Josh Manson, the Ducks’ top point producer on a talented blue line. The fact that he is on a 40-point pace leaves him surprised as well.

“That’d be nice,” Manson said. “I’m not going to say that wouldn’t be nice. I don’t know. Got to get the bounces. You got to get lucky sometimes.”

There is a caveat to Manson leading the defense in scoring. Usual point collectors Cam Fowler and Hampus Lindholm have missed 25 games between them. Sami Vatanen has been traded, and Brandon Montour has slowed after a hot start.

So the odds that the 26-year-old keeps that edge now that Fowler and Lindholm are healthy and Montour remains on the Ducks’ power play are slim. But his continued development into a bedrock defender is why the Ducks were willing to sacrifice Shea Theodore in order to keep from losing him to the expansion Vegas Golden Knights.

Coming into Thursday’s game against Edmonton, Manson raised his point total to 20 after registering a career-high three assists in a 5-0 win over Vancouver. Forty points is quality production from any defensemen, and while there’s no guarantee he gets there he has already racked up more assists (17) than the amount of points he had last season. It appears he could reach the 35 he totaled in his three prior seasons with the Ducks.

“I’ve been happy to this point,” he said. “I’d like to keep it going here in the second (half of the season). Hopefully keep getting those bounces.”

What Ducks coach Randy Carlyle is getting offensively out of his hard-hitting rearguard can be classified as borderline shocking. His rationale is young players that do reach the NHL have had success somewhere. It then becomes an issue of whether they can continue to grow and improve.

“I think with Josh […]    

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