The Anaheim Ducks had a slow start to the 2015-16 regular season, before finally finding stride and claiming first place in the Pacific Division.
But thoughts of a long playoff run, perhaps even a Stanley Cup, were suddenly dashed in the first round, as the Nashville Predators provided an upset with a seven-game series win. Another season ended in disappointment for the Ducks. And that ushered in major change for that franchise, particularly behind the bench.
Bruce Boudreau was fired (and soon hired in Minnesota), while core players were sent a stern message from general manager Bob Murray following the shake-up. Boudreau’s replacement in Anaheim? Randy Carlyle, who won a Stanley Cup with the Ducks in 2007 but had so many struggles in Toronto before he eventually lost his job there.
That wasn’t the only major change.
Faced with a goaltending situation that needed to be resolved, Anaheim traded Frederik Andersen to the Toronto Maple Leafs in exchange for a first-round pick — the 30th overall pick — in this year’s draft and a second-round pick next year.
That move clearly paved the way for John Gibson to take over the true No. 1 goaltending duties in Anaheim going forward.
It then became a priority to bring an experienced back-up goalie into the mix, and so the Ducks acquired Jonathan Bernier from Toronto.
The Anaheim Ducks have been a formidable team in the regular season, but since 2007, they haven’t been able to take that next step toward a championship. With a different coach and Gibson as their No. 1 goalie, can the Ducks change that next season?