Trevor Zegras’ first day at Ducks training camp includes lots of work on defense – Bullscore

Trevor Zegras’ first day at Ducks training camp includes lots of work on defense

Trevor Zegras’ first day at Ducks training camp includes lots of work on defense

Greg Cronin, the new head coach of the Anaheim Ducks, is aware of Trevor Zegras’ offensive potential.

Cronin sent an early and clear message during Zegras’ first day of training camp on Tuesday: he anticipates major defense development from Zegras.

“We were shuffle-around the-dosing. I found it funny that the first thing he did was take my stick and chuck it into the corner. But we’ll definitely figure it out,” Zegras stated following the game.

Zegras and the Ducks reached a $17.25 million, three-year contract extension on Monday. Since Cronin has already put in place the majority of the key components of his system, the 22-year-old center will need to make up for missing the first two weeks of training camp.

But Cronin gave Zegras a head start in his effort to improve as a two-way player.

He has a lot of talent. Being an offensive man, he shines when he possesses the puck like a Christmas tree. Zegras’ defensive tendencies need to be targeted with that intensity, Cronin said.

Last year, Zegras led the squad with 65 points. He equaled his personal best in goals (23) and established a career-high in assists (42). However, he was minus-24 last season while averaging nearly 19 minutes of ice time per game.

Zegras has spoken with other people besides Cronin about defense. Throughout the contract discussions, general manager Pat Verbeek regularly brought it up.

Zegras stated, “There is obviously some catching up to do, but I feel okay. Working on your defensive game in the summer is challenging. I’m attempting to build off of what I already have and move forward from there because being larger, stronger, and quicker typically helps in those areas.

Cronin, who was hired in June after five seasons as the AHL head coach of the Colorado Avalanche, acknowledged that Zegras could still be a work in progress because he is still attempting to make up for all the lost early time. Cronin spoke with Zegras a few times throughout the offseason to establish a connection right away, but something needs to take the place of on-ice practice.

“I discovered straight away that his rapid twitch does assist him in closing gaps and protecting when playing defense without a stick. He has to develop certain technical skills and timing concerns that will help him become a more formidable defender. But it’s a good beginning, said Cronin. “Typically, when you take a man’s stick out of his hands, he feels naked and exposed. He answered fairly well.”

Zegras may take the ice for the team’s last two exhibition games against Arizona this week before the Ducks’ season opening on October 14 in Vegas.

The Ducks have not appeared in the playoffs since 2017–18 and recorded a league-low 58 points last season. Zegras believes that with a new coach in place, the team has a new approach.

“I believe hiring a new coach will revitalize and reenergize many of the players. You want to make a good impression right away, Zegras advised. It goes without saying that (Cronin) has a stellar resume, and this is his first position in the NHL. He obviously brings a lot of fire and energy to our squad, as I am sure.

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