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Can the Anaheim Ducks Win Another Stanley Cup with Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry?

Aug 22, 2014
Can the Anaheim Ducks Win Another Stanley Cup with Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry?

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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Coming off a season in which he set a career best in goals (31) and second-best in points (87) Getzlaf has solidified his role as captain and leader of the Ducks' roster.

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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While the one-two punch of Chris Pronger and Scott Niedermayer was difficult for teams to plan for, it was the careful construction of Anaheim's roster and line formations that made them such a powerful team.

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?

The Outlook


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.

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Will Nick Ritchie Make the Anaheim Ducks in 2014?

Aug 18, 2014
Will Nick Ritchie Make the Anaheim Ducks in 2014?
The Anaheim Ducks signed both Patrick Maroon and Nick Ritchie around the same time -- Maroon to a three year extension -- and Ritchie to a three year entry-level contract.

It's a testament to how much Anaheim values size and power in their forwards, with Maroon at 6'3, 230 pounds, and Ritchie coming in just a shade smaller at 6'2, 226lbs.

Will Nick Ritchie Make the Anaheim Ducks in 2014?
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We know that Maroon is going to play, having played 62 games last year and winning the heart of coach Bruce Boudreau who at times promoted him to the first scoring line to play alongside Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry.

But what about Ritchie?

Will he make the team coming out of training camp this year?

If so, who does he replace?

It's not uncommon for the Ducks to bring players in right out of the draft. They've already done it with Cam Fowler and Hampus Lindholm.

Though offensive prospects have been making the climb a little bit slower, with the likes of Kyle Palmieri, Emerson Etem and Devante Smith-Pelly just now getting a shot at significant big-league minutes.

But is there reason to suspect Ritchie will be different?

Ritche's Size Gives Him an Edge


At 226 lbs. Ritche easily meets the size requirement of an NHL player and isn't likely to be pushed off the puck as much as smaller forwards like Etem and Palmieri. Aside from Maroon he's the heaviest player on both Anaheim's active roster and their farm system.

Couple that with the fact that he's a top-ten draft pick and you certainly have the potential for him to make the team and possibly see significant playing time.

Who Would He Have to Beat?


If we consider that Ritchie shoots left, his body of competition is fairly small, as there are only three players listed on Anaheim's active roster that play the left wing.

Those three players are:
  1. Dany Heatley
  2. Patrick Maroon
  3. Matt Beleskey
Now we've seen Boudreau put three right handed shots on his first line, so don't be surprised if he decides to continue that trend.

We should also keep in mind that Maroon is likely to stay put.

Ritchie might have a shot at taking some of Beleskey's minutes away.

We've seen Beleskey play tough hockey, but his offensive upside is clearly limited and at this point in his career it isn't likely to change. Ritchie has an advantage over him in size and could potentially be a better scoring option, or even an additional winger if the Ducks want to have four left-handed shots on their roster.

What has to happen?

Will Nick Ritchie Make the Anaheim Ducks in 2014?
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Though I doubt that Boudreau will give Ritchie a spot based on his handedness alone.

First and foremost, Ritchie needs to display a combination of toughness and raw offensive skill in training camp and the preseason.

What might really help him is an unimpressive showing from Beleskey, or heaven forbid, Heatley.

So it's certainly a plausible scenario that will depend heavily on Ritche's training camp performance.

Personally, I'd love to see him get a chance to play at the NHL level this year.

Your Thoughts


Do you think Ritchie will make the team? Should he? Share your thoughts with me on my Twitter and Bleacher Report writer's profile.

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Jakob Silfverberg Signs a One-Year Contract with the Anaheim Ducks

Aug 15, 2014
Jakob Silfverberg Signs a One-Year Contract with the Anaheim Ducks

Bobby Ryan was the second pick behind Sidney Crosby in the 2005 NHL entry draft.

Jakob Silfverberg and a first-round pick which eventually became Nick Ritchie, were part of the trade package that sent the oft disgruntled Ryan to the Ottawa Senators.

Jakob Silfverberg Signs a One-Year Contract with the Anaheim Ducks
Bobby Ryan
So Silfverberg is the guy that we're hoping turns into something great.

We gave up Ryan, who though disgruntled, scored 30 goals for the Anaheim Ducks for four straight years. You're willing to put up with some sass when that kind of production is happening on the ice. That puts a little pressure on Silfverberg to be good and to at least compensate in part, for Ryan's offense.

And now he has that chance, having signed a one-year contract with the Ducks, reportedly paying him $850,000 through next season.

Eric Stephens is also reporting that Silfverberg will once again be a restricted free agent next summer.


That's cheap for a player with Silfverberg's upside.

The brevity and low-cost of the contract suggests that he's going to be playing for a more long-term and lucrative deal in the near future. It's a win-win for the Ducks who have a player that's capable of a 20-25 goal season who is costing them a fraction of what it would have required to have Ryan on their roster.

If Silfverberg finds his offensive edge and can avoid a major injury like the broken hand that limited him to 52 games last year, he's easily capable of a 20-goal season.

It's good to be a fan of Anaheim hockey right now.

The future of our team is as bright as ever. Good to have you on board for another year Silf.

Thoughts?


Wanna chat about Ducks hockey? Get in touch with me via Twitter or my Bleacher Report writer profile.
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Why Corey Perry Will Score 50 Goals during the 2014-2015 Season

Aug 13, 2014
Why Corey Perry Will Score 50 Goals this Season



It's hard to believe that Corey Perry has been playing in an Anaheim Ducks uniform for the better part of a decade.

In that decade he's scored 50 goals only once; in 2011 when he won the Hart Trophy as the league MVP.

That same year he added 48 assists and reached 98 points; also a career high.

At that point in his career he had improved on his point totals from the year prior every single season; though he would regress to 60 points in 2012.

Since, Perry has once again steadily increased his production.

Can we expect him to break through the 50-goal mark again and make a run at another Hart Trophy?

Here's why the 2014-2015 season is Perry's best chance at repeating his 2011 performance.

The Exodus of Anaheim's Offense


Why Corey Perry Will Score 50 Goals this Season
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Perhaps overshadowed by the gutsy Ryan Kesler trade is the fact that the Ducks have lost a lot of their offensive roster. Nick Bonino, Teemu Selanne, Saku Koivu, Daniel Winnik, Dustin Penner and Mathieu Perreault are all gone.

Folks, that's half of Anaheim;s regular offensive lineup off the roster.

While I understand the managerial reasoning, it means that Anaheim is going to have to procure scoring from somewhere else.

Thus we can assume two things:
  1. The Ducks are going to lean far more heavily on their first two lines to score goals.
  2. Anaheim's powerplay will become more crucial, and will likely improve as a result of a stacked top-six.
Both of these implications mean more goals and points for Perry.

If Perry doesn't have a good offensive year, that's going to be big trouble for Anaheim. Though in a year where he amassed 82 points and 43 goals while Bruce Boudreau routinely rolled three scoring lines, it's hard to imagine that the changes in Anaheim's offense won't allow him to improve on those numbers.

Having an Offensive Cushion in Ryan Kesler


It has been a long time since Anaheim has been able to ease some of the pressure on Perry and Ryan Getzlaf to produce offense.

With the acquisition of Kesler, Perry can relax a bit, play his game and worry less about having to score goals.

Kesler, arguably the best second line center in the league behind Evgeni Malkin can be counted on for steady offensive production and will provide a strong presence up the middle on Anaheim's second powerplay unit.

If he consistently produces offense, expect that to benefit both Perry and Getzlaf in their first line roles.

Young Talent


Perry used to be the "young talent" on the Ducks roster - where his play benefited the likes of Andy McDonald, Selanne and Chris Kunitz - who comprised Anaheim's top scoring line from 2006 to 2008.

In the same way, the emergence of Kyle Palmieri, Patrick Maroon and Emerson Etem, who are all expected to get increased roles this season, will benefit Perry's production.

It's also likely that one of these players will fill the spot across from Perry at left wing on the first line.

Projecting Perry's Totals


If were a betting man, I would put money on Perry continuing the trend of posting more goals than assists. So think Rocket Richard as opposed to Art Ross.

53 Goals | 31 Assists | 84 Points | 14 PPG

If I'm wrong and Perry doesn't produce this kind of offense, don't expect the Ducks to have a great season.

Why?

Because they aren't really a depth team anymore.

They were last year and it took them to their best regular season in team history and almost to the Western Conference finals. But now they're top-heavy, and if that top group doesn't perform, there's no backup plan.

Talking Ducks Hockey


Want to share your two cents? Get in touch with me over at Twitter or via my Bleacher Report writer profile.

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Why Corey Perry Will Score 50 Goals this Season
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Predicting the Anaheim Ducks Defensive Pairings in 2014

Aug 6, 2014
Predicting the Anaheim Ducks Defensive Pairings in 2014


The Anaheim Ducks have struggled to reestablish a defensive identity since the retirement of Scott Neidermayer and the trade that sent Chris Pronger to the Philadelphia Flyers (and ultimately out of the NHL).

But what the Ducks had once accomplished via the free agency and some shrewd trading by then General Manager Brian Burke, has been replicated by current GM Bob Murray through some excellent drafting.

Between 2010 and 2013 Anaheim spent three out of four first round draft picks on defense, procuring the services of Cam Fowler, Hampus Lindholm and Shea Theodore.

All three players have a tremendous amount of potential and offensive upside.

Fowler and Lindholm have already solidified their spots on the Ducks' roster and Theodore is thought to have similar potential.

That's not even considering the rise of Sami Vatanen who is likely to get full-time hours this year at the NHL level.

Those four players give Anaheim what might be the single most enviable young core of defenders in the NHL. And while Theodore isn't likely to play this year, the Ducks are already building around the other three pieces.

The veteran presence of Francois Beauchemin and Ben Lovejoy add the finishing touches.

Props to Mr. GM of the Year.

Since Anaheim has all these piece, how will Bruce Boudreau use them? As the preseason fast approaches, we can begin to speculate about defensive pairings.

Here's my two sense.

First Pairing


I like Fowler on the first line, but I don't think that's where he'll be to start the season, since Boudreau typically rolls a 1A, 1B and 2A defensive lineup.

My guess is that you'll see Lindholm with Beauchemin, at least initially.

Predicting the Anaheim Ducks Defensive Pairings in 2014
Francois Beauchemin
Predicting the Anaheim Ducks Defensive Pairings in 2014
Hampus Lindholm

Second Pairing

By separating Lindholm and Fowler, Boudreau would achieve an even distribution of his blue line offense while pairing them up with guys who are more suited to the stay-at-home-defenseman role.

You also get a right-handed shot in Ben Lovejoy to balance Fowler's left.

Predicting the Anaheim Ducks Defensive Pairings in 2014
Cam Fowler
Predicting the Anaheim Ducks Defensive Pairings in 2014
Ben Lovejoy

Third Pairing


You've got to love having the luxury of a guy like Vatanen on your third defensive pairing.

His line mate is tougher to predict, since we've got somewhat of a logjam with Bryan Allen, Clayton Stoner and the possibility of Sheldon Souray playing again.

If Souray comes back, that spot would likely be his. But assuming he doesn't, I'll go ahead and give it to Bryan Allen, once again pairing a left and right-handed shot.

Predicting the Anaheim Ducks Defensive Pairings in 2014
Bryan Allen
Predicting the Anaheim Ducks Defensive Pairings in 2014
Sami Vatanen

What could change?


It's hard to imagine that Stoner won't get some significant time, so that left spot on the third pairing is where you could see some significant turnover. Otherwise, I don't think you're going to see the Ducks defense change a lot.

You'll see Fowler shift to the first line and with Getzlaf playing point on the power play you'll see some shake ups there as well.

But at this point, it looks like Anaheim's top-four is pretty much set in stone.

That's a good thing for Ducks fans.

Your Thoughts


Disagree or have other predictions?

Let me know over at Twitter.

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Why Frederik Anderson is the Anaheim Ducks Starter over John Gibson in 2014

Aug 1, 2014
Why Frederik Anderson is the Ducks Starter over John Gibson



The Anaheim Ducks have what some might call an embarrassment of riches at the goaltending position.

Even after letting go of Jonas Hiller and Viktor Fasth, the Ducks still have two potential 1A starters in Frederik Anderson and John Gibson. Both Anderson and Gibson are young at 24 and 21 years old respectively, and both performed incredibly well in 2013, posting solid numbers and eventually squeezing Hiller out of a starting job.

And though Gibson is thought to be the more promising of the two prospects, Anderson looks to be the front-runner to hold the starting job for at least the beginning of the 2014 season.

Despite Gibson's potential and his run at the Los Angeles Kings in the seven game series that Anaheim eventually lost, Anderson is still your starter in Orange County for a few reasons.

1. Gibson's Lacking Sample-Size


Gibson started three games during the 2013-2014 regular season. During those games he let in a total of four goals, while winning all three games, posting .954 save percentage and adding one shutout.

Those are incredibly good numbers for a goalie his age. Yet the small sample-size is a problem when assessing his NHL-level potential.

His playoff series against the Kings was far more treacherous, where he allowed nine goals in four games and dropped his save percentage to .919.

Thus it's preferable for Gibson to be eased into the role of a starting goaltender.

If necessary, he's a capable number-one (Anderson was actually injured during that playoff series) but the ideal situation for someone with so much potential is to work him into the rotation incrementally.

2. Plenty of Rest to Go Around


As an organization the Ducks have been quick to rest their goaltenders and avoid putting too heavy of a load on their starter. From 2003 to 2008 Jean-Sebastian Giguere was the clear number one and played the bulk of Anaheim's games during that time span. But since then they've been more likely to rotate their goaltenders, even when Hiller was their stated number one (with the exception of a 73 game sprint during the 2011-2012 season).

So the Ducks coaching staff know that they can put Anderson first on the depth chart and still get Gibson opportunities to play.

It's likely a situation that they prefer to be in.

Anderson isn't far beyond in terms of potential.


Gibson has been the goaltending prospect in Anaheim for awhile before Anderson flew in under the radar and played really well for the Ducks in 2013.

Anderson finished the 2013-2014 season with a 20-5 record, 2.29 GAA and a .923 save percentage.

What's more, he's only three years older then Gibson.

So at this point, we have little reason to believe that Anderson can't be just as good or better than Gibson. Again, there haven't been enough games played between the two of them to know for sure. And while it's true that Gibson has had the more decorated junior career, that's not going to gift him an NHL starting job.

The job will continue to be open ended.


With so much talent at one position, the Ducks can start Anderson and know that if he flags or needs a break, Gibson will be waiting in the wings.

This coming season will be a bit of a trial run for both goaltenders to see exactly what kind of role they're capable of filling. That means both players will have the chance to prove themselves, regardless of who initially gets the starting job.

From a fan's perspective, it's a good problem to have and we can all be thankful that, barring an injury to Anderson or Gibson, Jason LaBarbera isn't likely to suit up.

No offense to Jason.

If you want to talk Ducks hockey with me it can happen over on Twitter.

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Why the Anaheim Ducks Should Take Matt Beleskey off the Top Line in 2014

Jul 30, 2014
Why the Anaheim Ducks Should Take Matt Beleskey off the Top Line in 2014



It's not really that there's a problem with Matt Beleskey's game.

But as a long time Anaheim Ducks fan I've found it strange to see him on the top line so often.

Even going back to the Randy Carlyle era, you would see Beleskey make frequent appearances, playing on the left wing with Corey Perry and Ryan Getzlaf.

But why?

What's the incentive for keeping him there, and what's the reasoning from a coach's perspective that he's a good fit in that spot?

It's easier to make a case for him not being there, based on a few reasons.

The Ducks can play three right handed shots.


Is it really such a big problem for the Ducks to play three right handed shots on their first line?

Bobby Ryan was a right handed shot and spent plenty of time on the top line.

Though a player of his caliber is tough to put anywhere else.
So it's a matter of handedness. That's just a small element of strategy that doesn't always matter to coaches.

They're going to deploy their lines based on skill first, which is what makes Beleskey's placement such a head scratcher.

He's already in his wheelhouse.


Beleskey is a gritty, hard skating winger who brings a lot of energy and effort to the ice, but there's little about his game that makes me think he hasn't already hit his skill ceiling.

In roughly five NHL seasons with the Ducks, he's hovered around the 20 point mark pretty consistently. And while it's true that he set career numbers last season in points (24) that jump isn't terribly significant when you consider he's also posted 18, 15 and 13 point seasons.

In other words, Beleskey is in his wheelhouse.

Sure, he's only 26 and it's possible that he could make a jump. But he's gotten plenty of opportunities to play with skilled players like Getzlaf and Perry.

Seeing as how he hasn't been able to convert that into more than 11 goals one year or 15 assists another (not to mention unremarkable plus/minus ratings), it's not likely that we'll see him make a more significant jump at this point in his career.

There are better top line options.


This might not be everyone's favorite solution, but Dany Heatley is in fact, a left-handed shot and has played left wing for most of his career.

I would be surprised if we don't see him in that first line spot to start the season.

Otherwise you're looking for a younger Ducks player to make the jump and get an opportunity to play on the top line. Someone like Kyle Palmieri,  Emerson Etem or Devante Smith-Pelly could be better fits on Anaheim's scoring line.

Even Andrew Cogliano (who again, shoots left) has played the wing for the Ducks on a number of occasions.

He's proved to be a valuable offensive weapon because of his speed and ability to cycle in the corners. And since the Ducks have somewhat of an embarrassment of riches at center, they could afford to move Cogliano to the wing and put Beleskey back on the third or fourth line.

He's better suited for a depth role.


Like I've already mentioned, Beleskey is a gritty, high energy winger without the scoring touch required to play on the first line.

He's a depth player.

That means he's better suited for the third or fourth line. Even if Bruce Boudreau does decide to keep Beleskey in a more offensive role, he's used three scoring lines in the past and has the personnel to continue that trend in 2014.

That's really where Beleskey would be able to play his game most effectively, without the pressure of first line responsibilities.

What will actually happen?


Whether or not the Ducks will play Heatley on the top line, keep Beleskey there or move someone else into that spot is unknown.

We can count on Perry and Getzlaf being there with Ryan Kesler centering the second line. But beyond that, we're still in the speculation stage until we get closer to the NHL preseason.

If I were a betting man, I wouldn't put money on Beleskey keeping a scoring line spot.

What do you think? Who is going to be Getzlaf's "other" wing man?

Let me know over on my Twitter feed.

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