As part of our Ducks Summer Q&A series, we're catching up with several players to see how their offseasons are going, their outlooks for this coming season and more. Next up: Ducks forward Rickard Rakell.
How has your summer been?
It's been good. It's been unusually long, but at the same time I just can't wait to start playing hockey. It's been way too long. I'm so tired of being in the gym and working out. I just want to get things going. [My fiancée Emmeli] and I have been in Northern Sweden for a few weeks building a cottage up there. It's her hometown. It's like being in the outdoors. It's different, but I like it up there.
In terms of training, this summer has been a little different for you. How so?
It's been a longer period of time working out. Usually, especially in the summer of 2018 when we were in the playoffs, obviously we lost in the first round, but then I went back home to play in the World Championships. After a short break, you're already in mid-June to July. You don't have much time to get things going. This year, we didn't make the playoffs and I didn't play in the World Championships. I started working out right away. It doesn't feel as stressful, but at the same time, it gives you that spark to come back and play hockey again. I can't wait to get going again.
What are your initial impressions of new head coach Dallas Eakins?
I only get good vibes from him. I really like the things he's talking about. It's like getting a fresh start with everybody. It feels like we have a whole new team and new opportunities. It's really good to see what we have.
What excites you about the 2019-20 season?
It's going to be a lot of fun with all the new guys coming in. Hopefully we'll have four great lines. We already have great defensemen and great goalies. We have all the players to be a good team, so it'll be fun to start competing within the team and getting better as a team.
You're still only 26, but with a younger group of players hoping to make the jump to the big club, are you looking to take on more of a leadership role within the team?
I don't think I'll change too much in terms of who I am and how I am around the team and inside the locker room. I'll try to be the same - easy going. I'm not going to change too much. I'll try to lead the way I can, whether that's on the ice or things like that.