VIEW FROM THE TOP: Anaheim Ducks

As the self-appointed spokesmen/woman of the Stanley Cup Champion Chicago Blackhawks, we are using the idea of "To the victors go the spoils" quite seriously. What we will do between now and the night the Stanley Cup banner is raised in the United Center is point out the shortcomings of all the teams that won't have four crisp new banners in their rafters. We begin this series with the Anaheim Ducks.

Last season the Anaheim Ducks gave the eventual Champions their biggest challenge in the regular season, eventually winning the Pacific Division before getting bounced in the first round by Detroit. They also won the season series with the Hawks, which shows how important that is.

So where do they fall short?

FORWARDS:

They traded goal scorer Bobby Ryan to Ottawa for Jakob Silfverberg, who is younger, cheaper, and...well, he's younger and cheaper. Ryan will probably notch some insane numbers in the East while Silfverberg will try improving on his nice rookie campaign by shooting at the goalies in his new division - Jonathan Quick, Roberto Luongo, Antti Niemi...well, at least he can try going Full Stalberg on Calgary and Phoenix.

Their scoring load (8th in the NHL last year - but again, no more Bobby Ryan) will be carried mainly by the on-again, off-again Ryan Getzlaf, and known dickhole Corey Perry. Neither of whom will be in a contract year again for a very long time. The Ducks look to Getzlaf for leadership as their Captain, but just putting a C on a bald guy doesn't make him Mark Messier.

Along with the three guys mentioned above, they've got Saku Koivu, who will be 39 in November,  and Teemu Selanne, who is so old he farts dust. Selanne ran out of gas during the 48 game season last year, so a full 82 game docket might actually cause him to vaporize. Either that, or he can sign with Detroit for next year. Fortunately they have Emerson Etem and Kyle Palmieri, who are both 21. They have the potential to both be 22 by season's end.

The guy who will pull all the forwards together will be Dustin Penner. Not that he's a "glue guy", but at this point he is so large that he has his own gravitational pull that nobody on the Ducks will be able to avoid. He and coach Bruce Boudreau will be the scourge of all-you-can-eat places all across North America.

DEFENSE:

Francois Beauchemin had a monster season, which ended with him tearing his ACL. So even if he's back for Opening Night, the Ducks will need somebody who isn't on a gimpy knee to carry the heavy ice time load. That somebody is Cam Fowler. Fowler didn't have a huge injury like Beauchemin, but he's pretty much always dinged up. After that they have a bunch of dudes who wouldn't dress for the Blackhawks, including second-pair guy Sheldon Souray. When Sheldon Souray is on your second pair, that ain't good.

GOALTENDING:


The Ducks' early nipping at the Hawks heels was due in no small part to NHL newcomer Viktor Fasth. Fasth was...well, fast - at least when it came to signing a contract extension just as everyone in the Western Conference started to figure him out. This season they'll look to ride Jonas H iller's contract drive, all the while knowing he's calling someplace else home this time next year, as the John Gibson era dawns in Anaheim.

OUTLOOK:

They have a good power play, but don't draw many penalties. Their penalty kill is mediocre. A full season will make their late 2013 regresssion look like a hot streak. Home ice for any round of the playoffs shouldn't be a concern.

ARE THEY BETTER THAN THE CHICAGO BLACKHAWKS?


No fucking way.

 

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