As the Anaheim Ducks' fan base has long anticipated the sad and inevitable retirement of Teemu Selanne, what has fallen under the radar is the slow road to Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry's 30th birthdays.
Those birthdays will both occur within one week of each other in May of 2015.
So as we celebrate Selanne's career and the end of an incredible era in Ducks hockey, we look ahead to what the future holds for our team and ask the question: Can we win another Stanley Cup with the next in line?
The Unquestionable Talent of Perry and Getzlaf
From a hockey perspective, Perry and Getzlaf are indeed in their prime.
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He's proven that he can be not only an exceptional passer, but a threatening goal-scorer as well, which is something that had been missing from his game in the past.
Meanwhile Perry continues to be one of the NHL's premier right wingers, coming off a 43-goal and 82-point season. Both of which are second best, only to the numbers he put up during his Hart Trophy-winning season of 2010-2011.
But as an organization Anaheim has hung their hats on these two players ever since winning the Stanley Cup in 2007.
Yet they've been unable to push a number of talented rosters past the first round of the playoffs.
Only twice since 2007 have the Ducks advanced past the first round -- in 2009 and again in 2014 -- missing the playoffs entirely in 2010 and 2012.
So while there's no denying the raw talent and offensive ability of Perry and Getzlaf, will the Ducks win another Stanley Cup building around them?
How it Worked in 2007
The 2006-2007 Anaheim roster wasn't just "stacked."
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Samuel Pahlsson, Travis Moen and Rob Niedermayer were set in their roles as the Ducks' shut-down-line, always playing against opposing team's top scorers.
Then you had the top line of Selanne, Andy McDonald and Chris Kunitz, where Kunitz was just a bonus to the productivity of his two line mates.
On that team, Perry and Getzlaf, along with Dustin Penner were secondary scorers.
They were an incredible luxury to have on top of what was already a capable first line.
But do the Ducks have that now? Do they have a strong defense or reliable secondary scoring at a low price tag? What about their goaltending?
There's no question that the Ducks have improved in some of these areas, as they've all been significant question marks for the team (in varying degrees) since 2007.
Smart drafting has given them an entirely revamped defense and a potential superstar goaltender in John Gibson. But Anaheim has still bought a lot of stock in Getzlaf and Perry. And the fact is that they've never reached the Conference Finals with those two players as their core.
So can the Duck win a Stanley Cup with these guys? They can but it's going to take more than just Getzlaf and Perry.
Bringing in Ryan Kesler was a good step, but we'll likely have to see a couple years of development from Gibson and Anaheim's young defensive core before they're truly competitive with team's like Los Angeles, Chicago and Pittsburgh.
If the Ducks can get bigger, bring in some role players and get some solid secondary scoring behind Getzlaf and Perry, they've got a shot to bring the Cup back to Anaheim before our boys turn 35.
It's in your hands Mr. GM of the year.
Make us proud.
Flickr Commons Image Courtesy of BridgetDS