Anaheim Ducks forward Rickard Rakell underwent surgery that removed scar tissue following the appendectomy Rakell had in the spring. The surgery will keep him off the ice for at least the next two weeks, putting the start to his 2016-17 season in flux.
He is coming off a breakout season in 2015-16, having found the back of the net for 20 goals and 23 assists while playing in 72 games for Anaheim. The former first-round pick (30th overall) of the 2011 NHL Draft, Rakell had scored only nine career goals entering last season.
A bigger blow in the short-term is that the surgery removed Rakell from Team Sweden’s World Cup roster, having been replaced by Patrik Berglund. In 2012, he was a member of the Swedish National Team that won Gold at the World Junior Championships, having scored two goals and assisted on three others. The following year, he’d assist on six goals as the Sweds took silver in the same event.
Rakell has shown his ability to score in the past while with the Plymouth Whalers of the Ontario Hockey League. He would have three straight 20-goal seasons from 2010-2013, reaching a high-water mark of 62 points in 60 games in 2011-12.
Projected to be the team’s third line center to start the year flanked by Nate Thompson and Jared Boll, Rakell’s status is now up in the air. There’s little room for upward mobility at the center position for the Ducks with Ryan Getzlaf and Ryan Kesler manning the first two lines. Center Chris Wagner currently sits behind him on the team’s projected depth chart.