2011-2012 Preview: The Anaheim Ducks

Posted: August 31, 2011 by cujorulesdtown9 in Anaheim Ducks, Season Preview
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

As a part of Crimespree Hockey’s 2011-2012 season preview, all 30 teams will be previewed, and today, Cujo looks at The Anaheim Ducks.

Review of 2010-2011: 47–30–5, 99 Points, 4th In Western Conference, Lost In Western Conference Quarter-Finals 4-2 Vs. Nashville

Key additions via free agency: Mark Bell, Matt Smaby, Jeff Deslauriers, Brian McGratton, Jean-Francois Jacques

Key additions via trade: Mathieu Carle, Kurtis Foster, Andrew Cogliano

Key Losses: Teemu Selanne? , Ray Emery, Brad Winchester, Jarkko Ruutu, Andreas Lilja, Josh Green, Kyle Chipchura, Mark Mitera, Andy Sutton

Offense:

The big question this offseason is Teemu Selanne, will he come back? Without him, The Ducks would be losing a 80 point player. By the sounds of recent reports, Selanne will be back in Anaheim this year. I think this year will be the year we see some 3rd and 4th line changes. Some will stay, like George Parros (who is usually good for a moustache and 4-5 points a year), but we could see a few switchups on those two lines, there are a few players who need to show a little more on the ice. Easily the strongest position Anaheim holds is at center. with a top 3 of Getzlaf, Koivu, and the newly acquired Cogliano, they should be quite dangerous in the faceoff dot.  Lines 3 and 4 are what make me nervous about Anaheim, they need some guys with a little more experience, other than Brandon McMillan and George Parros (who pretty much have given spots), the lines aren’t really that good. Palmieri, Belesky, and Bonino need to show up and prove they are NHL worthy, or they could see more AHL time than NHL time.

Defense:

Kurtis Foster (Photo: Getty Images)

The Anaheim Ducks should have no trouble scoring from the blue line this year. Newly acquired Kurtis Foster adds his powerplay skills to the league’s 2nd best powerplay. Fancois Beauchemin brings his shot blocking ability in his first full season in Anaheim, having only played 27 games with them since being acquired from Toronto last year. Toni Lydman looks to have another productive season, hoping to get another team leading +/- again this year while putting up 25-30 points. Lucas Sbisa is the only person who should be nervous about his spot on the team. He showed very little last year with the big club, with newly acquired Mathieu Carle hungry to make it to the NHL after an impressing campaign with Hamilton in the AHL last year, Sbisa will need to work hard to keep his spot.  Oh and did I forget to mention the big guns? Cam Fowler and Lubomir Visnovky will be rounding out this solid defensive core, combined they put up 108 points last year, 54 of those on the man advantage. Teams have to be smart, do not take dumb penalties against Anaheim this year, they will make you pay.

Goaltender:

This was another big question mark coming into the season, will Jonas Hiller be ready to play this year after a bout with vertigo? Hiller says he is ready, and we’ll just have to see if he is back to 100%. Anaheim has a backup plan in Dan Ellis, while Ray Emery (who Anaheim let walk this offseason) might have been a better choice, Ellis had a pretty solid outing with The Ducks, going 8-3 with a .917 sv% in his 11 starts after coming over from Tampa Bay. If Hiller can come back at 100%, it should be a good season inbetween the pipes for Anaheim. While Ellis is pretty good, It is hard to see him doing  as good of a job as a healthy Hiller would. But if for some reason Hiller cannot do his duties, im sure Ellis will do a fine enough job.

Prediction: 3rd in Pacific Division, 6th In Western Conference

The Sharks and Kings should finish ahead of Anaheim in their division. While Anaheim has a great setup offensively and defensively, the questions about Hiller will bring them down until he proves he is 100% healthy.

Standout Player:

Cam Fowler (Photo: LA Times)

Cam Fowler should be due for quite a big season, after a 40 point outing in his first NHL season, there is plenty of room for him to grow this season. With his powerplay prowess and great passing ability, there is little room to believe he won’t get into 50 point territory this season. And odds are, he wont have the -25 +/- this year either.

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Comments
  1. Dan MacNeal says:

    Too many question marks with the Ducks. Top line is great and if Selanne comes back (?) they have a solid second line. After that, not much. Defense is good at scoring, but can they defend? Hiller is the biggest ?. Ellis is okay, but he’s not going to lead you deep into the playoffs.

  2. JoeyD says:

    As talented as the first line is the scoring prowess drops like a rock in water after that. Injuries or a stale PP will hurt their playoff chances big time IMO. They are a team that think can be a 6 seed if it goes perfectly and if it goes not so well can be a 10th seed.

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