Offseason Report: Anaheim Ducks

5 Comments

From July 16-Aug 16, we’ll be profiling all 30 NHL teams by recapping what they did this offseason and previewing their upcoming campaigns.

Last season

34-36-12, 80 points, fifth in the Pacific Division, 13th in the Western Conference.

Additions

Sheldon Souray, Bryan Allen, Daniel Winnik, Brad Staubitz

Departures

JF Jacques, George Parros, Sheldon Brookbank, Dan Ellis (UFA, still unsigned)

2012 Draft

First round, 6th overall — Hampus Lindholm, D (Rogle, Sweden)

Looking back

Ducks GM Bob Murray brought in several new veteran presences, but Anaheim’s offseason revolved around two familiar faces: Teemu Selanne and Bobby Ryan.

Selanne was the feel-good story of the Ducks’ summer as he agreed to return for his 20th NHL season. The 42-year-old Finn — now officially the NHL’s oldest player — led the club in scoring last year with 66 points, so this return isn’t one of those ceremonial swan songs into retirement. Selanne will likely be a big contributor for an Anaheim team looking to get back in the playoffs after a one-year hiatus.

As for Ryan — his situation is anything but good. The summer was marred by trade talks and his particularly harsh critique of the Ducks organization. All’s been quiet recently on the trade front but, given the (seemingly) acrimonious relationship between Ryan and Murray, it wouldn’t be a surprise if it started up again.

Looking forward

The Ducks wanted to get bigger, tougher and more difficult to play against, and they should be next season. Allen (6-foot-5, 226 pounds) and Souray (6-foot-4, 233 pounds) bring a towering presence to the blueline while Staubitz (30 fights over the last two seasons) and Winnik will add sandpaper up front.

Anaheim’s biggest challenge for 2012-13 could be bridging the gap between young and old. In addition to Selanne, the Ducks also have Saku Koivu (37 years old), Souray (36), Toni Lydman (34), Francois Beauchemin (32) and Allen (31) under contract.

The “Big Three” of Ryan, Corey Perry and Ryan Getzlaf aren’t as old — Perry and Getzlaf are the oldest, at 27 — but they’re still veteran presences, having all spent at least six years with the Ducks organization.

Meanwhile, several of the club’s prospects seem ready to make the leap, or at least challenge for spots. Emerson Etem, a first-round pick in 2010, is knocking on the door, as is 2009 first-rounder Peter Holland. Kyle Palmieri looked good in an 18-game cameo last season and Devante Smith-Pelly is a roster lock after playing nearly 50 contests in 2011-12.

Have your say

Vote in our poll and let us know what you think of the Ducks’ 2012-13 outlook in the comments section.

Crosby: Penguins ‘probably deserved better’ vs. Senators in Game 6

3 Comments

If you didn’t know that the Stanley Cup Playoffs can be awfully cruel, then the last week or so of action should make it pretty clear.

The Nashville Predators lost top center Ryan Johansen to a scary ailment few would have seen coming. The Anaheim Ducks fell in both games to the Johansen-less Predators, even after dominating significant chunks of Game 6. At least one Ducks player wondered if the better team won.

Much like in life, “fair” and “deserve” only matter so much. Sports have a scoreboard to serve as the ultimate deciding factor.

The Pittsburgh Penguins have similar thoughts after falling 2-1 to the Ottawa Senators tonight, extending the Eastern Conference Final to a decisive Game 7. You can nitpick questionable penalties and missed chances, but really, how negative can you be after Craig Anderson puts forth a blazing 45-save performance (with no overtime)?

Mike Sullivan and others echoed such thoughts.

” … Obviously, we’re disappointed in the result, but I don’t think we can get discouraged by that,” Sullivan said. “I think we’ve got to take the positives from it, and we’ve got to build on it, and we’ve got to become a more determined team for Game 7.

That’s not the sort of take that’s going to make the Senators angry in Game 7. The tone of the Senators’ discussions was likely very different after they lost Game 5 by a 7-0 score, yet maybe there was similar self belief.

Anderson puzzles Penguins as Senators force Game 7

10 Comments

Who could blame fans for chanting “Andy” tonight?

The Ottawa Senators said they would choose to fight in Game 6, and Craig Anderson truly battled in this one, refusing to allow this unlikely run to an end on Tuesday. They wouldn’t roll over, even after a 7-0 humiliation in Game 5.

The underrated goalie continued his memorable (and emotional) 2016-17 season with a brilliant performance, making 45 saves to help Ottawa manage a gutsy 2-1 win against the Pittsburgh Penguins.

With that, hockey fans get a true treat: the Eastern Conference will go to a Game 7 on Thursday.

The Senators opted for a “bend but don’t break” strategy for much of the contest, possibly to Guy Boucher’s preference. Even so, the Penguins managed to grind their way to a 1-0 win thanks to another hard-work goal from Evgeni Malkin.

Mistakes would come back to haunt the Penguins, however, as Bobby Ryan broke Ottawa’s lengthy power-play drought to tie things up on a 5-on-3.

With their season in question thanks to a 1-1 tie in the third period, Mike Hoffman sent a booming shot by Matt Murray, and that ended up being all the Senators needed to tie the series 3-3.

Anderson was the standout, but Erik Karlsson was a hero in the way his detractors might not expect.

You can watch Game 7 on NBCSN at 8 p.m. ET on Thursday. The game is also available to stream via the NBC Sports App.

Report: Avalanche get permission to speak with Leafs assistant GM Dubas

Getty
1 Comment

Could one of the most hapless possession teams of this more analytics-leaning era nab arguably the most promising analytics-leaning executive in the NHL?

It’s a reasonable question, as Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman reports that the Colorado Avalanche asked for and received permission to speak to Toronto Maple Leafs assistant GM Kyle Dubas.

Current GM Joe Sakic recently got a vote of confidence and also cleaned out some of the coaching staff around Jared Bednar, so this is certainly a time of change for the Avalanche.

It will be interesting to see what kind of role Dubas would receive if he did join the fold in Colorado. Would he still be considered an assistant GM, only with more sway with what would likely be a smaller group of decision-makers? Could we see Sakic move up and give Dubas the full GM title (or eventually transition that role to the young upstart)? Might there be some other factor that would qualify as a more “outside the box” idea?

One thing seems clear: the Avalanche might want to be decisive, as demand could be significant for Dubas if he’s even somewhat on the market.

This could be interesting, especially if you’re a nerd for team-building storylines.

Video: Senators score twice to take 2-1 lead in Game 6

6 Comments

The Ottawa Senators have defied odds during the Stanley Cup Playoffs, and they’ve done so with what’s often been an ice-cold power play.

They finally struck gold on the man advantage on Tuesday, and at a key moment. The Pittsburgh Penguins were dominating much of the game and pressing for an even bigger edge after Evgeni Malkin made it 1-0.

Maybe the Penguins got overzealous, or maybe officials … finally started making some calls. Either way, the Senators ended up with a 5-on-3 advantage for almost a minute-and-a-half. With that opportunity, Bobby Ryan scored a huge goal for Ottawa on a shot that was both oddly and perfectly placed.

Moments later, Kyle Turris narrowly missed a golden opportunity, so the contest remained tied 1-1.

Despite a late push by the Penguins to finish the second, Game 6 will enter the third period with a 1-1 score.

CLICK HERE TO WATCH LIVE COVERAGE FOR GAME 6

Update: Mike Hoffman‘s booming shot gave the Senators a 2-1 lead in the third. We’ll see if Pittsburgh can tie it up.