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yave1964

Ducks offseasonprimer

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FINAL RECORD 44-25-13 101 points,2nd in Pacific, lost badly in first round to Sharks.

 

I honestly thought the Ducks were the best in the West entering last year, really. I liked their mix of youth and vets, of skill among both forwards and defense, of Gibson with veteran Miller backing him up. 101 points is nothing to sneeze at but truly looking back I am not sure what I saw that made me pick them.

  Getzlaf and Perry have been slowing down for years and last year they became down right glacial, Perry with 17 goals is a shadow of his former self, Getzlaf missed 26 games and managed only 11. To be fair to the Ducks no team in the league was so beset with injuries as Anaheim at one point they were down like 7 of their 12 forwards, Getzlaf, Kesler both fought the bug all year, Eaves after resigning played 2 games before missing the season. A trade for Adam Henrique at best was a mixed bag. Gibson was in and out Fowler and Lindholm missed a combinded 28 games, Bieksa missed 23. Vermette missed 18, Beauchimin missed 15 and retired due to injuries at years end.

  An aside, snarkily I have always referred to Henrique as 'Houdini Henrique' as he tends to disappear for long stretches. Just sayin.

Obviously when your team nets 101 points it is not all bad, Gibson/Miller were a fine combo, Rackell may be the most underrated player in the game. Kids such as Kase and Ritchie established themselves nicely among the forwards out of need, both Manson and Montour established themselves as solid top four blueliners. And the system is primed for the next wave.

 

FREE AGENTS

lots of boring vets are free agents and not likely to return. Vermette, Bieksa, JT Brown, Chimera, Derek Grant and Chris Kelly are all likely gone most wont find another gig and are likely bound for the golf course or announcers booth. They have little cap room for this year, 9 million with a bunch of young RFA to sign so little is expected from them this offseason as far as moves.

  Perry and Getzlaf have 17 million remaining between them for three more years but truthfully they aren't in bad cap room moving forward with Henrique and Silferberg UFA after this year and Gibson needing his deal addressed being the only concerns for the following year.

 

TOP PROSPECTS

This is a strength, Aneheim has done a marvelous job of drafting in spite of being 20th or worse about every year. Rackell is  already a near star, Manson, Kase and Ritchie are established, and the next wave is on its way.

 Sam Steel and Max Jones will be middle six fixtures for years, both are 21 at the start of the year and will likely begin at San Diego but both will be given shots at winning jobs and keeping them if they prodice. Jacob Larsson has not had his offense grow as expected but he is an excellent defender and will replace Bieksa full time this year and still has plus upside. Kalle Kossila is 24 and slow in coming but looks like he has found his offense and will likely land full time on the third line. Nic Kerdiles, his linemate in the AHL is talented and quick and will likely stick as well.Andy Welinski will take Beachemin's spot on the third defensive pair and can move the puck and isn't afraid to use the body. Keifer Sherwood (Go Miami RedHawks!!) looks like Vermette's replacement as a responsible faceoff machine. He may be a year away but again, there is an opening and he could stick.

  Very few if any teams are as loaded with prospects as the Ducks. The one negative is none are blue chip, all come with risks, but there are so many that some are bound to stick and be key contributors.

 

OFFSEASON QUESTION MARKS

ARE PERRY AND GETZLAF DONE? Perry is, 17 goals in 71 games continuing a downward spiral. This shows the danger of long term deals to players of a certain age. Getzlaf is becoming brittle but still productive when in the lineup. He needs protection to allow him to play less in non critical situations. Last year Vermette and Kesler let him down.

 

SPEAKING OF KESLER..... Long a favorite of mine, he managed a sad 8 goals and 14 points in 44 games after returning midseason from hip surgery. He was a shell of his former self and Elliott Friedman says he will miss the entire season. Stick a fork in him. 

  This could be a blessing in disguise. If the Ducks are able to LTIR him it frees up nearly 7 million a year that is remaining on his four years left on his deal, allowing them to add to the team as needed if the kids prove they are not ready.

 

GIBSON AND MILLER, GOOD ENOUGH TO WIN A CUP OR JUST AVERAGE? I love the Ducks defense, Lindholm, Fowler, Manson and Montour are as good a top four as there is, throw in Larsson and Welinski and they are deep young and fast, to me they make any goalie or goalie combo better. 

  Gibson was kept, Andersson dispatched as the Ducks decided to hang there hat on the kid. Truthfully 31 wins, 2.43 goals against and a .922 save pct aren't bad but I think that at this point if I were the Ducks I would have doubts, and start wondering if this is all there is. Lots of teams have won with worse but I am beginning to think Gibson is not the type to steal a series like Jones did against them last year.

 

IS RANDY CARLYLE ON THIN ICE? AGAIN?

 He has to be wouldn't you think? Trent yawney, an assistant and supposed pal of Carlyle was replaced by management at years end, if the Ducks start slow do not be surprised if they look younger and hire an outside the box coach. 

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