We’re going to take a look at each NHL team, breaking down every new addition and subtraction, as well as promising prospects.
Today, we take a look at the Anaheim Ducks.
By: Meesh Shanmugam (@HockeyMeesh)
2013 Season: 30-12-6, 66 pts (1st in Pacific Division, 2nd in Western Conference)
Free Agents Signed:
D Mark Fistric from Edmonton
LW Dustin Penner from Los Angeles
RW Zack Stortini
D Nolan Yonkman from Florida
Free Agents Lost:
D Toni Lydman (Retirement)
RW Troy Bodie to Toronto
D Nate Guenin to Colorado
C Kyle Wilson
D Matt Smaby
C Matthew Lombardi
LW Harry Zolnierczyk to Pittsburgh for D Alex Grant
LW Bobby Ryan to Ottawa for RW Jakob Silfverberg, RW Stefan Noesen, 1st round pick in 2014
D Sheldon Souray, Torn Ligament in Wrist, Out until December/January
RW Jakob Silfverberg
RW Emerson Etem
C Peter Holland
D Hampus Lindholm
D Sami Vatanen
G John Gibson
One more year! Teemu Forever! Teemu Teemu Teemu! Last summer, Teemu Selanne decided the office paperwork was too much to handle, so he returned for one more season with the Ducks. This summer, it wasn’t the paperwork that got to him. Selanne’s golf game just isn’t ready yet (though it is a step up from Claude Giroux’s), so he’s back for one FINAL season in the NHL.
Selanne has officially said this will be his final season and all of Anaheim (and secretly the rest of the NHL) is hoping he can go out with one more Stanley Cup Celebration.
The Ducks turned out to be one of the most surprising teams in the NHL last season but were constantly overshadowed by Chicago’s start-to-finish dominance. Anaheim managed to keep pace with the Blackhawks through most of the season, including Chicago’s 24-game point streak, but tailed off towards the end. The Ducks easily finished with the 2nd best record in the conference (6 points ahead of St. Louis), but their late season slump foreshadowed a disappointing playoff run. Anaheim went 8-9-2 in their final 17 games and they were promptly knocked out in the first round by 7th-seeded Detroit in 7 games. The thrilling series featured five games decided by one goal, with four of them going to overtime. Unfortunately for Anaheim, Detroit consistently had the edge in overtime and the Ducks squandered away a 3-2 series lead.
Aside from awaiting the Selanne decision, most expected the Ducks to have a rather quiet offseason in terms of player movement. Corey Perry and Ryan Getzlaf signed long-term extensions during the 2013 season and the team was overachieving to everyone’s delight despite the playoff upset. Alas, when free agency opened on July 5th, the Ducks made a huge splash. The splash wasn’t a signing however. Anaheim sent Bobby Ryan, the subject of infinite trade rumors over the past 2 years, to Ottawa for prospects Jakob Silfverberg, Stefan Noesen, and a 1st round pick in 2014.
The trade and certainly the trading partner were unexpected at the time. After the initial shock wore off though, it was easy to see that Anaheim GM Bob Murray made a calculated and smart move for his franchise. Ryan was due to make $5.1 million for each of the next two years and then he would be an unrestricted free agent. After the Perry and Getzlaf contracts, it was unlikely Ryan would be affordable for Anaheim. Meanwhile, Murray brought in two high-level wing prospects and a 1st round pick, all of whom will be under the control of restricted free agency and low contracts for many years. Take that, salary cap.
Despite trading away a skilled winger in Bobby Ryan, the Ducks will enter the 2013-2014 season as a playoff contender with Stanley Cup aspirations yet again. The team lost very little in free agency with defenseman Toni Lydman (retirement) possibly being the biggest departure. The loss that may affect the Ducks the most might be through injury, since defenseman Sheldon Souray will miss the first half of the season after tearing a ligament in his wrist during offseason workouts.
The Ducks made a corresponding move though and signed defenseman Mark Fistric who should be able to handle the workload and provide depth while Souray is recovering. They also signed LW Dustin Penner from rival Los Angeles. Penner had been streaky and a healthy scratch at times for LA, but the Ducks are hoping he can provide the toughness and grit that they need, especially in the playoffs.
Beyond the NHL roster, the Ducks have one of the strongest prospect pipelines in the league right now. Young forwards Emerson Etem and Peter Holland will be pushing hard for more playing time on a roster that doesn’t have enough playing time available for their talent. Defensemen Hampus Lindholm and Sami Vatanen are not far away either, though again, they might be kept down by the amount of NHL talent ahead of them. Further in the future, the Ducks have a star in the making with prospect John Gibson between the pipes.
What does all of this add up to?
Stanley Cup Contender
Playing for Selanne’s Final Season
Plethora of Young Prospects
All-In at the Trade Deadline to Win for Selanne
The Ducks are a strong team already and they have the means to get even better if they are willing to pay the price. Do it for Teemu.