8.24.2007

My "Yearbook/Better or Worse?/Outlook/" (for Anaheim)

Everyone does it. Hockey fans just have a sense of needing to rank all 30 teams once they know who will be where. I've got my own, and now I'll start with Anaheim.

The Anaheim Ducks

So, the Ducks finally have a Cup. Now, if NHL teams just randomly died down on their own choice, this would be their time to go, on a high note. But...

According to my sources.......The Ducks are in for a repeat. Sure, it hasn't been done in a decade, but then again, look at the roster. Despite off-season losses, they still have two dynamic duos on offense (Andy McDonald and Chris Kunitz, Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry), the tremendous trio of 'D' (Niedermayer, Pronger, Beauchemin) gets a fourth big name (or a replacement for Niedermayer should he retire) in Matt Schneider, and J.S. Giguere is sticking for another four years. All this, plus the return of THE checking line (Moen, Pahlsson, Rob Niedermayer) and the additions of Todd Bertuzzi and Shane Hnidy makes this Ducks team a repeat for sure. But...

I see it this way..........There's no doubt that the Ducks are going to be atop the league. But with Teemu Selanne being replaced by Todd Bertuzzi, and no sure left winger for Getzlaf and Perry, offense could get shaky, although, if Travis Moen builds on his 12-point playoff performance, which included several goals in the Final, he has the potential to fit on line 2. However, if Moen does end up in Penner's role, it would compromise the chemistry of the checking line. Brad May, who would be first in line for the empty space, plays a whole different game from Moen. Defense is perhaps in the best shape. Even if Scott Niedermayer leaves the team, Schneider can fill his spot, and Shane Hnidy wouldn't stay in the AHL long anyways. Goaltending is also tight, with prospect Jonas Hiller ready should Ilya Bryzgalov be part of a trade.


What is to come...Every team has its potential Sidney Crosby or Erik Johnson in the wings and the Anaheim Ducks are no different. Bobby Ryan, drafted right behind Sid the Kid, has all the symptoms of a super-power forward. Perhaps another year in the AHL would do him well, but he could definitely slip in on the fourth line, or possibly even replace Penner on the youthful second line. Mark Mitera is the most promising blueline prospect, but he is two or three years away.


All in all, the Ducks will once again be a dominant team. A Stanley Cup repeat isn't guaranteed, but definitely within reach.