NHL 2011-12 Season Preview: Anaheim Ducks

Offseason Losses: Andreas Lilja, Andy Sutton, Ray Emery, Todd Marchant, Jarkko Ruutu

Offseason Additions: Andrew Cogliano, Jeff Deslauriers, Kurtis Foster, Matheiu Carle

Last Season Ranking: 4th in the West

Will Corey Perry hold onto the same hardware at the NHL Awards in 2012?

Offense: Anaheim’s top line of Ryan Getzlaf, Bobby Ryan and Corey Perry is still of the deadliest in the league. Perry was the lone 50-goal scorer en route to winning the Hart Trophy as league MVP. ¬†Ducks fans received the best news of all Thursday afternoon when Teemu Selanne announced online he was returning to the team for one more year. Earlier in the day, there was questionable speculation about him because he did not attend a team-sponsored golf outing but a video surfaced on nhl.com and the Ducks website announcing that he will be with the team when they begin the season in his home country of Finland. The Ducks return their second leading scorer as the Finnish Flash scored 31 goals and had 49 helpers last season.

They also return Rocket Richard and Hart Trophy winner in Corey Perry. Perry led the league in goals last season with 50 en route to a 98 point season. Look for power forward Ryan Getzlaf to score over 80 points should he stay healthy. He missed a chunk of the season due to injury and when he was playing he was force on the ice as he scored 76 points in 67 games. It’s pretty good going into training camp knowing what the top three lines will be. The top line will be Getzlaf, Perry and Bobby Ryan. Selanne will anchor the second line with newbie Sakiu Koivi and Jason Blake. Newbie Andew Cogliano could be on the No. 2 line but look for him to start at the third line with Kyle Palmieri and Brandon McMillian. Cogliano could be best suited for the third line because while playing in Edmonton he was getting torn up in the faceoff circle against the opposing second line center.

Defense: Cam Fowler is expected to have a good sophomore year. Top scoring defenseman Lubomir Visnovsky will see a lot of time on the power play with his ability to score. Can’t forget about Toni Lydman’s +32 rating, good for second in the league. That is impressive considering there was several minus players around him. Visnovsky and Lydman will form the top pairing and will see most of the time on special teams. Fowler will be paired on the second line with Francois Beauchemin while Luca Sbisa and newcomer Kurtis Foster are going to become the fifth and sixth defensemen.

Goaltending: It’s Jonas Hiller’s job. He missed the second half of the season due to a wicked case of vertigo and did not play after February 13. They since ran a trio of goalies in Ray Emery, Dan Ellis, and Curtis Elhinney to finish out the season. Elhinney and Emery is out and the fight for backup will come down to Ellis and newcomer Jeff Deslauriers. This is the biggest X-Factor because as much as experienced Ellis and Deslauriers are, they took a big risk in letting Emery go considering how well he played down the stretch.

Playoff Prediction: Every year they have the knock on them that they are too top heavy. They tried to add some depth further down with the addition of Cogliano. Expect them to make the playoffs and even contend for the division title should Getzlaf and Hiller stay healthy. The return of Selanne will prove to be the difference between them barely making the playoffs like last season and contending for the division title.

 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *