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.
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.