Ryan Getzlaf, Corey Perry

It’s Anaheim Ducks day on PHT


Throughout the month of August, PHT will be dedicating a day to all 30 NHL clubs. Today’s team? The Anaheim Ducks.

The Anaheim Ducks fell well short of the playoffs in 2011-12 and one of the big questions going into 2013 was if they would move into a full rebuild mode by trading soon-to-be free agents Corey Perry and Ryan Getzlaf. Instead they spent $135 million retaining the services of those two star forwards and showed that a rebuild might not be necessary.

Anaheim went from last in the Pacific Division to first with a commanding 30-12-6 record. They were aided by an increase in secondary scoring, thanks in part to 22-year-old Kyle Palmieri taking a step forward and Saku Koivu’s surprisingly good start to the season.

They also got major offensive contributions from their blueline with newcomer Sheldon Souray recording 17 points and Francois Beauchemin enjoying one of the best seasons of his career.

On top of that, after relying on Jonas Hiller to start in 73 games in 2011-12, goaltender Viktor Fasth turned out to be one of the most surprising success stories of the 2013 campaign. Fasth, who recently turned 31, hadn’t played in a single NHL game before the lockout, but he managed to win his first eight starts and ended up with a 2.18 GAA and .921 save percentage.

Those numbers were superior to Hiller’s, but they still ended up going with their more experienced goaltender in their first-round series against the seventh seed Red Wings. Detroit ultimately proved to be too much for Hiller and the Ducks, who were eliminated in seven games.

Offseason recap

While the Ducks went to great pains to retain the services of Perry and Getzlaf, they ultimately traded their other top forward: Bobby Ryan. The Ottawa Senators, fresh off the loss of Daniel Alfredsson, shipped two promising young forwards in Stefan Noesen and Jakob Silfverberg to Anaheim, along with a 2014 first round pick, in exchange for Ryan.

Beyond that, Anaheim re-signed Ben Lovejoy and Koivu while luring forward Dustin Penner back to the team that he made his NHL debut on.

That’s put the Ducks near the cap, but they’re still open to re-signing 43-year-old forward Teemu Selanne if he wants to extend his NHL career.


Introducing: PHT’s ‘Team of the Day’ summer series

Report: Sean Avery was arrested last week

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From the Southampton Press:

Sean Avery, the former National Hockey League player, was arrested by Southampton Village Police last week on two criminal charges.

According to authorities, Mr. Avery was arrested September 30 following a routine traffic stop on Jennings Avenue in the village at about 4:09 p.m. He was charged with fourth-degree criminal mischief and two counts of seventh-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance, all misdemeanors.

Police said the criminal mischief charge involved an incident the day before, when Mr. Avery allegedly threw objects at passing vehicles.

As for those counts of possession, according to the newspaper, Avery was found to have “two prescription drugs, acetaminophen with oxycodone and roxicodone.”

He was released on $500 bail and ordered to appear in court at a later date.

Did we mention he’s supposed to get married this weekend?

H/t Gawker

Devils send ’15 first-rounder Zacha back to junior

2015 NHL Draft - Round One

Pavel Zacha was this close to making his NHL debut.

Just days prior to opening their season against the Jets, the Devils returned Zacha — the sixth overall pick at this year’s draft — back to his junior club in OHL Sarnia.

The move comes after Zacha, 18, impressed throughout training camp and the preseason. He appeared in four exhibition games for New Jersey, scoring one point while endearing himself to the organizational brass, coaching staff and players.

“He understands the game. He plays with a maturity. It’s crazy to think an 18-year-old coming out of high school is up here and playing with the maturity and understanding of the game with the new system,” Kyle Palmieri told NJ.com. “I think he’s got a lot of raw talent there as a power forward. He’s got the body for it, the puck-handling skills and the nose for the net.”

At 6-foot-3 and 210 pounds, Zacha has the frame and physical stature to play at the NHL level, and looked the part for long stretches of the exhibition season, getting turns on New Jersey’s top line.

The decision to send him back to junior is probably the right one, however.

Zacha only turned 18 in April and has limited experience even at the OHL level; ’14-15 was his first year with Sarnia, though he did appear in 38 Czech League games (for Liberec) the season prior.