Last season – 4th in the Western Conference
The Ducks made the post-season last year by having the best defense in the league and win the Pacific division. They return this year knowing that a good regular season isn’t enough when they can’t finish their opponents in the post-season. Look for the Ducks to be among the teams who battle for a playoffs-spot this season, but they might be in more danger than they think, because other teams will have improved.
GM – Bob Murray
Bob Murray will be in his 8th full season this year, but for him to be able to finish the season with the Ducks, I think they will have to start strong. If they have a bad start in a good division and conference, he might find himself on the hot seat after changing the head coach this offseason.
His biggest challenge will be managing to get enough skill into the team while having to trade away a solid defenseman that helped them to be the best defensive core in the league last season.
Head Coach – Randy Carlyle
In a bit of a surprising move, Randy Carlyle is back with the Ducks after a year and a half hiatus from the league. The last time he was with the Ducks, he was fired by Murray after about three season under his regime. The good thing, is that he has had success with the Ducks before, and even though the skill level in this roster won’t be the same, he has a lot of the same player types in this lineup.
Mason Raymond (LW), Jonathan Bernier (G), Antoine Vermette (C), Jared Boll (RW), Korbinian Holzer (D), Nate Guenin (D)
1st round pick 2016, 2nd round pick 2017
Fredrik Andersen (G), Jamie McGinn (LW), David Perron (LW), Anton Khudobin (G), Chris Stewart (RW)
Draft pick 2017 (conditional)
The team have troubles with managing the salary cap and will have to make a trade to stay under the ceiling. They were however able to re-sign Sami Vatanen, and have added Raymond and Vermette as middle six forwards, and seem to believe that the added veteran presence will help them in the post-season.
They have also added Bernier to compete with Gibson between the pipes. Overall, the Ducks don’t really look that much different from last season in terms of skill and how they are composed as a group. If they are able to make a trade in order to re-sign Lindholm and Rakell, their roster will still be solid and competitive this upcoming season.
Goaltending – 8/10
Gibson and Bernier are a solid duo. Bernier hasn’t been able to land a permanent starting job in the league yet. He was behind a solid Quick with the Kings, and struggled a bit with the poor Maple Leafs. He won’t be the starter here, but I believe he will bounce back from behind a better defense and a better structured team.
Gibson won the starting position last season, and will be the number one guy. The Ducks have enough faith in him, that they traded away their other two backup goalies last season. So, he will see the most playing time.
Defense – 9/10
Obviously the Ducks defense won’t look like this. As they want to re-sign the forward Rakell in addition to re-signing Lindholm. That means a player got to go. It will be hard to find any takers for Bieksa given his age. Therefore, it’s either Fowler, Despres or Stoner that has to go.
The obvious interest is in Fowler as he would have more value and interest among the other teams. Their other alternative that haven’t been talked about much, is trying to trade Cogliano instead, but then they lose some versatility among their forwards.
Lindholm – Vatanen
Fowler – Bieksa
Despres – Manson
Holzer – Stoner
Forwards – 8/10
Offensively it obviously looks like the Ducks have a very good center depth either way how you spin it. Which is a very important reason towards why so good defensively last season. Where the Ducks have more issues is among the wingers and that 4th line.
To be among the top contenders, the Ducks just doesn’t score enough. Having a more direct Carlyle behind the bench might help some in that direction, but for now, there is some deficiencies that needs to be sorted out for them to come closer to a Stanley Cup final berth.
Ritchie – Getzlaf – Silfverberg
Raymond – Vermette – Perry
Cogliano – Kesler – Rakell
Garbutt – Wagner – Boll
Team Composition – 8/10
A very good number one goalie and a solid backup. A great defense who doesn’t make things complicated and can push the issue offensively and solid center strength offensively. Some lacks among the wingers, 4th line and questions marks regarding their streakiness when it comes to consistency.
Leadership presence – 8/10
Most of the leadership with this team is among the forwards. But, there aren’t that many in this team that has won anything. Getzlaf, Perry, Vermette, Kesler, Raymond and Bieksa have either won or been close to the promised land, but there have also been a lot of let downs for them.
They have gotten a reputation handed on themselves as buckling under pressure, and until they perform a deep run in the playoffs again, it’s going to hang with them. But, within the roster, it might be a more solid group than we give them credit for, and maybe they should have another point. They won’t get it, but perhaps should have.
Skill Value – 8/10
The defense is young and strong, their forwards is best among the veterans and leadership group. They lack more skill offensively, and clearly a reason toward why they didn’t score as much last year. But, it is solid, just not great.