Regular Season: The Ducks’ season was really tremendous, but overshadowed by the amazing numbers put up by the Blackhawks. Anaheim had their best winning percentage in franchise history, en route to the #2 seed in the Western Conference and the third best record in the NHL.
Playoffs: The Ducks got the unfortunate matchup with the very experienced Red Wings in the first round, and despite taking the lead in the series 3 times, they lost game 6 on the road and game 7 at home to bow out in the opening round.
Ready To Make The Jump: G John Gibson
BIG 3 FACTORS
1. Teemu Time Out?: Although not listed above, there are questions as to whether legendary winger Teemu Selanne will return for another season. I fully anticipate the 43-year-old will be back, because he is still a top 6 forward on the Ducks. Still, by waiting this long to make his decision, he had to really be contemplating hanging up the blades.
2. Crowded Crease: John Gibson is now ready for the NHL, but with Jonas Hiller and Viktor Fasth ahead of him on the depth chart, he might have to bide his time in the minors until he gets a shot. Gibson is in much the same situation as Robin Lehner and Jake Allen were in last season.
3. Souray Sidelined: Sheldon Souray will be out, possibly until Christmas with wrist surgery suffered in off-season training. The Ducks will miss his offensive presence, and although they signed Mark Fistric to replace him on the roster, Fistric will not be as productive. This will increase the pressure on Francois Beauchemin to repeat his Norris-worthy season and Cam Fowler to shoulder some more offensive load. Hopefully Souray, who has a history of wrist problems, will return to full strength.
PROGNOSIS: The injury to Souray and the loss of Ryan will have an impact in the competitive Pacific Division. Jakob Silfverberg will develop in to a good player, but probably not to the Ryan level of production combined with physicality. The competition in goal will either hinder or help all three, depending on how they perceive the battle.
PREDICTION: 4th in Pacific Division. The Ducks will be a playoff team, and shouldn’t have to worry too much about losing a spot to the crossover rule.
We have been and will be previewing every NHL team ahead of Training Camp which for most teams will begin on Sept 11th. As a twist, we will be unveiling our teams in reverse order to how I predict they will finish in the standings. Here is the schedule (you can click on a team name to see the preview for that team):
|1||Sept 9||Sept 8||Sept 7||Sept 6|
|2||Sept 5||Sept 4||Sept 3||Sept 2|
|3||Sept 1||Aug 31||Aug 30||Aug 29|
|4||Aug 28||Aug 27||Aug 26||Ducks|