Another summer is upon us, which means another round of player reviews. AnaheimDucks.com will feature a different Ducks player throughout the summer (in numerical order), highlighting key stats while also keeping an eye on next season. Next up is defenseman Josh Manson.
The ever-dependable and physical blueliner completed his third NHL season with the Ducks in 2016-17, and was one of four players (and the lone defenseman) to appear in all 82 games. The 6-foot-3, 213-pound d-man finished the season with 17 points (5g/12a) with a +14 rating and 82 penalty minutes, with career highs in scoring, assists and plus/minus, and a career-tying mark in goals.
The 25-year-old patrols a blueline stacked with young talent that includes Cam Fowler (25), Hampus Lindholm (23), Brandon Montour (23) and Sami Vatanen (26). He ranked second on the Ducks in hits (227) and second among team defensemen in takeaways (23), and finished the season with 79 blocked shots while averaging 18:37 TOI per game. Skating primarily alongside Lindholm for the second consecutive year, Manson's blend of snarl and defensive stability meshes well with Lindholm's offensive flair. For a big man, Manson is quick on his skates, and if he has the chance to line a guy up, he will. Viewed as a heart-and-soul player, Manson has quickly become a fan favorite since he made his NHL debut on Oct. 31, 2014 at Dallas.
Though he isn't known as much for his offense, Manson had a few gems last season. He nearly went end-to-end for a goal against Cam Talbot of the Edmonton Oilers on March 22, which broke a 2-2 tie in the second period.
Video: EDM@ANA: Manson goes up high to beat Talbot
Then, he showed no hesitation joining the rush on an outnumbered shorthanded opportunity with Ryan Getzlaf and Ryan Kesler on March 26 against the New York Rangers, resulting in his first career shorthanded goal.
Video: NYR@ANA: Manson slips shorthanded goal past Lundqvist
Manson's willingness to stand up for his teammates was on full display on April 4 at Honda Center against the Calgary Flames. Shortly after defenseman Mark Giordano injured Fowler with a questionable hit, Manson challenged the Flames captain behind the net and proceeded to deliver a steady dose of rights, eventually dropping Giordano to his knees with an uppercut. (It should be noted that less than two weeks later, Getzlaf decked Giordano with a stiff shoulder check in Game 1 of the First Round, much to the delight of the home crowd).
Manson went on to appear in all 17 Stanley Cup Playoff games over three rounds for Anaheim, and finished with three points (all assists) and 20 penalty minutes. He led the club in hits (54) and ranked second among team defensemen in shots on goal (27).
Let's not forget, Manson was Anaheim's final selection (6th rd., 160th overall) in its highly-studded 2011 NHL Draft, which also included Rickard Rakell (1st rd., 30th overall), John Gibson (2nd rd., 39th overall), William Karlsson (2nd rd., 53rd overall), Joseph Cramarossa (3rd rd., 65th overall), Andy Welinski (3rd rd., 83rd overall) and Max Friberg (5th rd., 143rd overall). With the exception of Welinski, who is playing with the San Diego Gulls, all of those draft picks have played in at least one NHL game.
Manson has one year left on his contract (restricted free agent; arbitration eligible), so the Ducks will need to extend him beyond the 2017-18 season if they wish to keep him in the fold.