Ducks preview: 6 key factors to the season

From afar, it sure looks like a throwaway season for the Ducks.

Buckle up. Ride out the COVID-19 storm. Stay safe, stay healthy. Win a few, lose a few more.

Trade a contract or two at the deadline. Lose a player in the expansion draft.

Get another high draft pick and gear up for 2021-22 and a return to normalcy.

The Ducks don’t see it that way, though.

Goaltender John Gibson said last week their goal was a return to the playoffs after a two-season absence that followed six consecutive appearances. General manager Bob Murray and coach Dallas Eakins each said he is demanding improvement from apple-cheeked young’uns and grizzled veterans alike.

No matter how you view it, it will be a season of evaluation, with another wave of talented players on the way and a group of old hands trying to lead them while also attempting to fend them off as battles for ice time intensify in what looms as a third consecutive transition season.

The bottom line is this will be a season unlike any other.

Here are six things to monitor as the Ducks’ 56-game season begins Thursday in Las Vegas:

IS TREVOR ZEGRAS READY FOR THE NHL?

As it turned out, the Ducks weren’t quite ready for Zegras. He’s a 19-year-old forward who was the leading scorer and the MVP of the World Junior Championship last week in Edmonton while propelling the United States to the…

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