ANAHEIM — Sami Vatanen has had a choice seat when it comes to watching the Ducks work with that they’ve got and what they don’t.
Who they’re starting to get back is what he feels will make a major difference.
“It’s a good sign that everybody starts to be healthy a little bit at a time so we can just do our things and go win some games,” said Vatanen, who himself is getting close to game duty after a full recovery from off-season shoulder surgery.
The Ducks are starting to look like the team they anticipated having when they gathered in the middle of September. Ryan Getzlaf made his season debut Sunday after missing time due to a lower-body injury and Patrick Eaves joined in for his first Wednesday when the Ducks took on the New York Islanders.
Eaves missed the entire exhibition schedule with a lower-body injury that left him disappointed in being very limited throughout training camp. Having the winger back not only gives the Ducks a complete top line with Getzlaf and Corey Perry but adds a veteran with power-play acumen down low.
“I felt great coming into camp,” Eaves said. “Things happen. It doesn’t go as you planned. Mentally, it was a little frustrating but we’re at the end of it. So it’s good now.”
As far as available personnel, the Ducks are still not all the way there. The forward lineup continues to lack in depth as Nick Ritchie missed a third consecutive game with a lower-body injury while Ondrej Kase sat out Wednesday as he deals with a head injury suffered Monday when checked by Calgary’s Dougie Hamilton.
But the defense corps figures to be at full strength before the end of October. Vatanen said he won’t join the Ducks on their quick one-game jaunt to Colorado but that will give him added days to potentially target home games against Buffalo and Montreal next week.
Lindholm is in a similar position with his recovery and if next week remains a bit soon, it is all but certain that he and Vatanen will return to the blue line for the Ducks’ first…