Over the next few days, I will be looking at each team n the NHL and identifying a couple of players in particular that fit into one of two categories based on the once popular kids game, Chutes and Ladders. The players in the “chutes” category will be players who exceeded expectations last season, and will have a difficult time avoiding a slide in the coming season. The “ladder” category will consist of players who are ready to climb a level in their play and step up a notch.
Up first, the Anaheim Ducks:
Chutes: Teemu Selanne – Assuming he returns to the Ducks for yet another season, Selanne at age 43 is still a quality NHL player, but the wheels have to start to slow down at some point. If it wasn’t an Olympic year and Selanne didn’t have a chance to play in the Olympics for the 6th time, I am not sure the Finnish Flash would return.
Ladders: Jakob Silfverberg – The way the roster shakes down, Silfverberg will in all likelihood find himself on a line with either Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry or Saku Koivu and Selanner. Either way, he will be put in a position to succeed, and will find space on the power play to use his lightning quick release. Last season was a transition year for the former Senators winger, his first in the NHL. He got better as the season went along, and he will be ready for a big season in 2013-14.