Monday, September 19, 2011

NHL 30 in 30: Anaheim Ducks

This team surprised a lot of people by finishing fourth in the West last season, led by Hart Trophy winner Corey Perry. The Ducks resurgence last season meant that the LA hockey had a competitive hockey rivalry that almost ended with the teams playing each other in the postseason. The Ducks want to once again challenge for an open Pacific division title, with their loads of offensive talent, but will they be able to overcome last seasons issues this year?

Strengths: They have an offensive juggernaut going with the likes of Corey Perry, Ryan Getzlaf, and Bobby Ryan, all of whom can score in bunches, and quickly. Offense wasn't a problem a season ago, and it surely won't be an issue this season. They don't have much depth behind the dynamite top line, but they do have Teemu Selanne, who decided to come back for one more season, the Captain Saku Koivu, new acquisition Andrew Cogliano, and they also boast the highest scoring defense corps from a season ago led by Lubomir Visnovsky and young star Cam Fowler. Bob Murray went out this offseason to try and address the depth problems up front, and he did so with some good additions such as Cogliano in order to improve the scoring problems behind the top line. When goalie Jonas Hiller is healthy, he can be one of the best goalies in the NHL, however it is still an open question as to whether he will be able to rebound from his spell with Vertigo last season and not looking so amazing in the postseason.

Weaknesses: The scoring depth is still a problem, and they will need guys like Andrew Cogliano and Luca Sbisa to score more in order to try to mask the depth issues. There are also questions with Jonas Hiller and whether he will be ready to carry the load for the Ducks this season. They did acquire Dan Ellis just in case there is a serious problem with Hiller and his health. The defense can score a lot, but can they be a rock solid defensive unit? There are also some doubts about that as well.

Any Help Coming? The farm system is a an issue, mainly because there is not a ton of depth in it. However, there are some bright spots.RW Emerson Etem could be blossoming into a great, two-way offensive weapon for the Ducks soon, as he did so well in major junior hockey. C Peter Holland is a good power forward prospect, but there are some questions about his hockey sense and some other questions brought up by his interview at the 2009 draft. RW Kyle Palmieri is a great agitator and is a hard worker, but his skills are not amazing, and doesn't have amazing upside.

Outlook: To replicate the success of a season ago, they will need not only Corey Perry to repeat his Hart Trophy winning performance of a season ago, they will also need big years from both Getzlaf and Ryan in order to compete for the Campbell Bowl. They have some issues with scoring depth and on the back end, and the questions about Jonas Hiller are still cropping up. They may have playoff potential, but not much more than that.

No comments:

Post a Comment