2013-14 NHL Season Preview: Anaheim Ducks

Last season saw the Anaheim Ducks win their first division title since 2007 when the franchise won their only Stanley Cup title. They were expected to make another deep playoff run but those plans were foiled in a 3-2 Game 7 loss to Detroit at home. The Ducks have played the Red Wings six times in the nine occurrences they have made the playoffs. The two times which the Ducks won the series? The two times they played in the Stanley Cup Final in 2003 and 2007.

We can be pretty certain aside from Detroit fans, no one else is happier to see the Red Wings move to the East than Anaheim.


The Ducks return most of their top point production from last season. Ryan Getzlaf was able to silence doubters last season when he led the team in points with 49 and tied with Corey Perry in goals with 15 each. Getzlaf’s three shorthanded goals were tied for the second most in the league. Now it’s Perry’s turn for a bounce back after having declining offensive seasons since winning the Hart and Art Ross Trophies two years ago.

After last season’s collapse, some changes had to be made. GM Bob Murray had to decide which one of their big three had to leave. And it was Bobby Ryan who got traded to Ottawa for a package of players. One of those players is forward Jakub Silfverberg. If he can play up to the potential he has, there’s no reason he can be a solid point producer.

After playing the “Should I return or should I retire” decision game for the past few seasons, Teemu Selanne decided to call it quits after this season. And he’s still got some game left in him. He’s not coming back to be a role player or to sit back and let the young players run the show. He’ll see time on the second line and power play units.

Other forwards who are expected to contribute offensively include Nick Bonnino, Emerson Etem, Dustin Penner and Saku Koivu. The Ducks were one of the best teams on the power play last season, scoring 21.5 percent of the time with the man advantage.

We can be pretty certain aside from Detroit fans, no one else is happier to see the Red Wings move to the Eastern conference than Anaheim.


Last summer Murray shored up the blue line when he brought in Sheldon Souray and Bryan Allen to bring balance with Francois Beauchemin. Beauchemin is the leader of the pack, logging in minutes last year seen by Chris Proger when they won the Stanley Cup. His point production was outstanding compared to what he’s done in the past.

He’ll have additional help on the blue line from the likes of Cam Fowler, Toni Lydman and Luca Sbisa. Losing Lydman in the playoffs was a big blow to Anaheim and it changed the course of their playoff run. Fowler is entering his fourth season, and while his offensive numbers weren’t near the 40 he scored in his rookie season he’s becoming a better player and a more sound defenseman.

Anaheim was 13th on the penalty kill with a success rate of 81.5 percent. What they need to improve on this year was allowing fewer shorthanded goals. The five they allowed last season tied for the third most in the league. Only New Jersey (six) and Buffalo (seven) had more.


One of the most interesting story lines to watch is the goaltending situation. Last season Jonas Hiller and Viktor Fasth nearly split the starts. While the wins were equal Fasth allowed fewer goals, saved more shots and had more shutouts. But it was Hiller who started all seven playoff games. Hiller is entering the final year of his contract, and if the starts are similar with Fasth putting up better numbers it could be possible the lefty could be used in a trade situation.

All things considered, look for Hiller to continue in the No. 1 role, but don’t be surprised if a changing of the guard comes sooner rather than later.


What Anaheim needs is consistency. For the last five years, they have alternated between making the playoffs to missing it. They made the playoffs and was upset last season, but I feel they have what it takes to make the playoffs this year. But fans should cautiously take a wait-and-see approach with them. Aside from Hiller, Selanne, Koivu, Penner, Daniel Winnik and Andrew Cogliano are all pending UFA status at the end of the season. If the Ducks are on the outside of the playoff bubble looking in near the trade deadline expect a yard sale sign hanging on the Honda Center marquee.

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