The regular season may be in jeopardy at the moment; there’s simply no denying that. But, let’s be positive and pretend that everything is peachy in the world. This means that it’s time to take a look at all 30 teams in the NHL to see how they did in the offseason.
To begin, let’s look at the Anaheim Ducks. They are coming off of a season in which they finished at the bottom of the Pacific Division, but there is reason to be optimistic after bringing in head coach Bruce Boudreau. He aided a dramatically better second half of 2011-2012 and believes that their current group of guys have the potential to make a run.
2011-2012 Record: 34-36-12
Offseason Additions: G Viktor Fasth, D Sheldon Souray, D Bryan Allen, LW Daniel Winnik, RW Brad Staubitz
Offseason Departures: D Lubomir Visnovsky, D Sheldon Brookbank, RW George Parros
Season Opener: Friday, October 12th — vs. San Jose Sharks
Breaking Down the Roster
Goaltending – Last season, the Ducks depended heavily on the services of Jonas Hiller. He started 73 of Anaheim’s 82 games, which certainly provided stability, but didn’t lead to many strong numbers. In fact, for the first time in his career he did not finish with a record above .500, and his goals against average (2.57) and save percentage (.910) were amongst the lowest in his short career. The Ducks will depend on Hiller’s services again in 2012-13, but they hope to provide more opportunity for rest by adding Swedish Elite League goaltender Viktor Fasth. His 2.12 GAA in Sweden was good enough to earn him a second consecutive goalie of the year award last year and the backup job in Anaheim.
Defensemen – While some of the blame for a sub-par defensive season can be blamed on the work between the pipes, the play of the defenders wasn’t great last season. So in an effort to change the course, the Ducks made a couple of swaps at the position. Most notably, they dealt blueliner Lubomir Visnovsky, who led all Anaheim players with a positive seven rating and was second among the defensemen with 27 points. In his place, Sheldon Souray (21 points, +11 rating) and Bryan Allen (14 points, -1 rating) will look to solidify the defense. Also, the Ducks will depend on some of their talented young players such as Cam Fowler (29 points, but a negative 28 rating) to continue improving as their career’s blossom. Overall, I’d say there was a slight improvement made at the position.
Forwards – The Ducks offensive arsenal is intriguing. Leading the charge is 42-year-old Teemu Selanne (66 points last season) and fellow captain — 37-year-old — Saku Koivu. They provide excellent veteran presence and a great deal of scoring ability, but it makes me nervous that two players of that age play such a vital role on a team that was 23rd in scoring last season. However, Anaheim does still possess the talented Corey Perry, who has shown signs of being unstoppable, and respectable options in Ryan Getzlaf and Bobby Ryan. Also, the addition Daniel Winnik provides some depth to the bottom lines, which wasn’t available a year ago. Do I think this will be a dynamic scoring team? Absolutely not. But, there’s potential to improve from the year ago if the core stays healthy.
Projecting the Top Three Lines
1. D Cam Fowler, D Francois Beauchemin, F Corey Perry, F Ryan Getzlaf, F Devante Smith-Pelly
2. D Sheldon Souray, D Bryan Allen, F Bobby Ryan, F Saku Koivu, F Teemu Selanne
3. D Toni Lydman, D Luca Sbisa, F Daniel Winnik, F Nick Bonino, F Andrew Cogliano