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Review: Ducks goose is cooked

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PRESEASON OUTLOOK Coming off a 101 point season the year before and a disappointing early playoff bounce the Ducks hoped to have the same regular season but a better run in the playoffs this year. Hopes were pinned on a mix of veteran players with some good young kids to transition from the Getzlaf/Perry era without the need for a rebuild.


FINAL RECORD 35-37-10 80 points 10 points out of a playoff spot. Dead last in the league in scoring.


HIGH POINT OF THE YEAR The Ducks battled injuries in the first half of the season behind what can only be described as brilliant goaltending from John Gibson who seemed to face 40 plus shots a night with very little offense, after playing at or near .500 for the first month or so they caught absolute fire between November 21st and December 17th winning 11 of 13 to push their record to 19-11-5 looking like a sure fire playoff team and as if they were destined to battle for the division title as well. There were reasons to worry, the offense was still bad but Perry and Rackell were due back and hopes were high in Anaheim.


LOW POINT OF THE YEAR Pretty much everything from that day until the end of theyear to be quite honest. They lost their next 12 in a row at that point scoring more than 2 goals in a game only twice during that stretch as a bad offense became inept, then after winning 2 games they went into another tailspin losing 13 of their next 16. In total during that Bataan death march they went a God awful 5-21-4 wrecking what had started out so promising. Somehow they hung around the fringe of a playoff race into the last few weeks not because they were good but because the bottom of the West was so bad.


WHAT WENT RIGHT John Gibson tailed off towards the middle but he had a brilliant season and if not for his heroics this team could have been biblically bad. Getzlaf led the team with an anemic 48 points the lowest total for a Ducks team leader in  non strike year since...Well hell I am not even going to look it up but it has been forever since it was so low. Silferberg led the team with 24 goals and had a solid season. Henrique had his usual 42 point season. Josh Manson established himself as someone you dont want to run into in a corner fighting for a puck. Is that really it? Yep, that is, Gibby really is the only player who outperformed expectations.


WHAT WENT WRONG Lets see... Cory Perry missed over half the year and did zilch upon returning, he is done. Ryan Getzlaf played all year and scored 8 points, he has nothing left. Not using injuries as an excuse but Henrique is the only player on the team who appeared in over 76 games, on top of lack of offense there was no cohesion as bodies were moved in an out due to injuries, desperate trades and kids being sent down then called right back up again. Rackell missed 13 games and counted on for 35 goals contributed only 18. Josh Ritchie was expected to be a Tom Wilson type, 25 goals and strong rugged two way play, he scored 9 and took a slew of dumb inopportune penalties. Ondrej Kase started great with 11 goals in 30 games but then missed the rest of the year just when they needed him most. Patrick Eaves only managed to play in 7 games giving him 9 total in 2 years since signing his ridiculous three year extention based off a couple of hot months in what seems a lifetime ago. Lots of injuries, lots of bad play. Kids got icetime few stuck out.


FREE AGENTS Well the good news is Ryan Kesler is talking about career ending back surgery which would allow the Ducks to bury his nearly 7 million a year which he is owed for the next three seasons.Not actually a free agent but if he retires it does them a huge favor. Ryan Miller is almost certainly gone unless he wants to come back on the very cheap for one more year, guys like Hotzler, Chad Johnson, Derek Grant wont be coming back.


OFFSEASON QUESTION MARKS? To me the Ducks aren't as bad off as it might appear, especially if Kesler retires and they can use that cap space to build. Health is a concern, if Rackell can stay healthy and approach 30 goals it is a key. Can Getzlaf and Perry still contribute? My opinion is yes (Getzlaf) and no (Perry) but they are on the hook to them for 17 million combined per season over the next three years so they have to hope.

 Lots of kids especially at forward which gives reason to hope. I wouldnt give up on Ritchie yet, the whole offense struggled and he has a high ceiling, kind of a Josh Anderson thing if he catches a break. He along with Kase, Kiefer Sherwood,  Max Jones, Sam Steel and Maxime Comtois should all slot into top nine roles this year giving hope for the future. Gibson is key, they wasted a brilliant season the same as the Oilers wasted one from Mcdavid in Edmonton and they need to add a 1C and another solid defender to the mix and with a few breaks could bounce back to at least respectability. 

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