Mikkelson Claimed Off Waivers

As TSN.ca reports, Brandon Mikkelson was claimed off of waivers yesterday by the Calgary Flames. I’m not really sure what to think. With Lilja in on defense now, meaning Sbisa is headed down to Syracuse, we are in a need for a defensemen who can step up. I can’t recall a time where I thought that I was proud that Mikkelson wore the Anaheim sweater so this move really causes no pain for me. What do you think?

Popularity: 26% [?]

The Wait Is Over

The wait is over. The NHL is finally back, and it has been much too long for Ducks fans. After three intense days at training camp, the Ducks returned to the Honda Center for their first preseason game of 2010-2011. Wearing the A’s on Tuesday night were Lubomir Visnovsky, Bobby Ryan, and Ryan Carter.

The forward lines at the start of the game were:

Brandon McMillan – Peter Holland – Devante Smith-Pelly
Kyle Palmieri – Ryan Carter – Dan Sexton
Matt Beleskey – Bobby Ryan – Emerson Etem
Aaron Voros – MacGregor Sharp – Trevor Smith

The defensive lines:

Paul Mara – Mat Clark
Luca Sbisa – Scott Valentine
Cam Fowler – Lubomir Visnovsky

Goalies:

Curtis McElhinney
J.P. Levasseur

Power Play 1:

Sexton – Holland – Smith
Fowler – Visnovsky

Power Play 2:

Palmieri – Ryan – Beleskey
Mara – Clark

Penalty Kill 1:

Beleskey – Sharp
Valentine – Sbisa

Penalty Kill 2:

Carter – Palmieri
Mara – Clark

Quick Period Breakdown

The game started off very tentatively, as one would expect for the first game of the preseason. Both teams had trouble controlling the puck and making crisp passes. Early penalties by Phoenix allowed the Ducks to start taking over the first period, but Anaheim couldn’t capitalize on any of their four power plays of the first period. The Ducks took the momentum into the dressing room having played smart, disciplined hockey.

In the second, it was the Ducks who found themselves shorthanded, and the Coyotes struck quickly on a power play goal by Kyle Turris. Former Duck Andrew Ebbett scored 4 minutes later on a goal from the same location as Turris. Bobby Ryan finally put the Ducks on the board on a power play goal off of some nice passing from Cam Fowler and Lubomir Visnovsky. The power play line on the ice for the goal was a change from the usual power play lines, as coach Randy Carlyle sent out both Emerson Etem and Devante Smith-Pelly to create traffic in front of Phoenix goaltender Jason LaBarbera. The move paid off as Ryan’s one-timer found the top corner while Etem created some chaos in front of LaBarbera. That forward trio had a few even-strength shifts together, but was later broken up again. Goalie J.P. Levasseur replaced Curtis McElhinney halfway through the second as the Ducks coaches wanted to get a look at both goalies in action. Phoenix got another power play goal by Brett MacLean, and an even strength goal by Viktor Tikhonov who deflected a shot from the point.

The third period went scoreless with the Coyotes tightening up to defend their lead and the Ducks not playing with enough desperation to make a comeback. Anaheim was outshot by Phoenix in each period, with the final total being a lopsided 21-40. Phoenix’s power play went 2 for 5, while Anaheim’s was a disappointing 1 for 8. The Ducks had some good maintained pressure in the offensive zone, but struggled to get shots on net and ultimately couldn’t capitalize on their chances.  The final score was Anaheim: 1, Phoenix: 4.

Forwards

Of course, it was great to see Bobby Ryan back in an Anaheim jersey after a long, drawn-out contract negotiation. He pleased the crowd with his power play goal, but his -2 rating was something to forget. Tuesday night was his first game as a center in the NHL, and there were some times in his own zone when it seemed he wasn’t sure where to be. His comfort, confidence, and execution in the defensive zone will come with time, and Carlyle will be sure to take advantage of the preseason to get Ryan that experience he needs to become an NHL centerman.

The forward that always seemed to grab my attention was Emerson Etem, the Ducks’ second first-round draft pick in 2010. Perhaps it’s his distinct stride, but it’s also because he seems to always be where the puck is going. He sees the game extremely well for an 18-year old. When he has the puck, he makes strong plays to deke around a defender with his quick hands, blow past the defender with his startling speed, or simply get the puck deep into the zone. When he doesn’t have possession, he knows where to go to end up with the puck on his stick. Although he was a -2, he had a strong game in all three zones, including rare time on the power play that resulted in the Ducks’ lone goal of the game. One thing to keep an eye on for Etem is the amount of hits that he takes. Although he gets back up from each one no worse for wear, it is something he needs to learn from and adjust to in order to make the jump from junior to a full-time NHL position.

Devante Smith-Pelly seems to be one of the most NHL-ready forwards of Anaheim’s prospects. Not very flashy with the puck, Smith-Pelly plays a very simple game: play hard, shoot hard, and hit hard. Ducks fans will love the crunching body checks along the boards that he throws, as he seems to hit everything in sight. Smith-Pelly has been scoring goals all summer at the rookie conditioning camp, the rookie tournament, and training camp. He gets to the net and uses his strength to fight for prime positioning to get himself excellent scoring chances. He may not be the most skilled of the Ducks prospects, but there’s a reason he was chosen in the second round of the 2010 entry draft.

Peter Holland and Kyle Palmieri are two players that have generated some hype among the Ducks prospects, but I’m not sure if they’re quite ready for spots on the Ducks’ roster. There is no doubt that they are extremely skilled hockey players, but their decision making and execution wasn’t up to par as their play led to errant passes and turnovers. Holland and Palmieri have both done well in the lower hockey levels, but they will need to quickly adapt to the NHL style of play if they are to claim spots on the Ducks’ roster. The preseason will be a great opportunity to see if they can learn from their experiences of playing against seasoned hockey players.

Aaron Voros is known for his physical presence, but it wasn’t felt nearly enough tonight. I expected him to have some energy shifts in the middle of the second and third periods, when the Ducks were struggling to gain momentum. Unfortunately, he did not use his body effectively, and only when he took a dirty hit in the corner did he finally drop the gloves. With a minute remaining in the game, it did little to fire up his team.

Defensemen

The kids are all right. Both Luca Sbisa and Cam Fowler looked comfortable and confident in all areas of the ice. Sbisa looks much bigger than I remember, and he showed a physical side to his game tonight. He seemed to always be in perfect position to break up plays and jump on loose pucks. While Sbisa held down the defensive end, Fowler impressed at the other end of the ice. Anaheim’s first overall draft pick of 2010 had plenty of time on the power play partnered with Lubomir Visnovsky. Visnovsky, who plays a similar smooth-skating offensive game, was a great defensive pairing for Fowler to learn from. Fowler was responsible in the defensive end and confident in the offensive zone. He logged an impressive 24:40 of ice time, second only to Visnovsky’s 24:51.

Speaking of Visnovsky, wow can this guy play. Twice he had the puck at the point and deked his way through multiple Coyotes to bring the puck in on net by himself. Though his 5’10” stature doesn’t lend itself to physical play on the defensive end of things, he’s quick with the stick to break up the play and get the puck moving the other direction. His creative play and hard shot from the point make it no surprise that he was tied for fourth among defensemen in goals scored last season with 15 tallies.

The first thing I ever thought about Mat Clark was, “That guy looks mean.” At 6’3” and 211 pounds, he sure does look intimidating. However, tonight he was a little bit too mean as he took three minor penalties in the second period alone. Clark is positionally sound in all three zones and brings a strong physical presence to the Ducks’ blue line. His hard-edged play led to a fight with Phoenix’s tough guy Paul Bissonnette, who had 19 fighting majors last season according to HockeyFights.com. While Clark looked a bit hesitant to go at it with such an experienced fighter, he took up the challenge and stood up for himself and his team while taking multiple hard rights from his opponent. If Clark can find the right balance between responsible play and the rough stuff, he will be someone to be very excited about.

Newly signed Paul Mara didn’t have a very notable first game as a Duck. Mara is a big body that does an excellent job of clearing the front of the net, but at times it seemed like that was the only thing he wanted to do. On Phoenix’s second goal of the game, he was standing in front of McElhinney covering nobody while Ebbett was open for a one-timer. If he becomes more mobile, he might be able to show Anaheim why he was drafted 7th overall in 1997.

Goalies

Curtis McElhinney had a strong outing, stopping 20 of 22 shots. The first goal allowed was a power play goal from an uncontested Kyle Turris from the top of the circles that handcuffed him high to the glove side. The second goal was Ebbett’s one-timer from the same location, this time with Paul Mara’s big frame blocking his view. McElhinney had some timely saves to keep the Ducks in the game while being heavily outshot. One thing I noticed about McElhinney was how he handled the puck. He was very comfortable skating the puck to and from behind the net, directing the puck out of traffic, and passing to his defenders.

J.P. Levasseur had the unfortunate task of coming into the game in the middle of Phoenix’s goal scoring tear. With little time to warm up after sitting half the game on the bench it is hard to blame the young netminder for the quick goals against, but in the NHL you have to be ready the moment you step on the ice. Levasseur had some trouble with mobility while down in the butterfly on the first goal, as he got caught frozen on his knees while Phoenix worked the puck around him. The second goal against was a deflection that found its way through heavy traffic in front. Levassuer rebounded with a strong third period, stopping all nine shots he faced.

Wrap Up

The Ducks’ roster was a young one, and it showed on the scoreboard in a 1-4 loss. However, they came out hard and played smart, patient, and disciplined hockey in the first period. If they can maintain that for a full sixty minutes, they can be the strong team that Ducks fans are hoping for. Tuesday night was the first preseason game of the 2010-2011 year, and the first ever preseason game for many of the Ducks’ prospects. It is up to them to take this experience and learn quickly to impress the coaches, the management, and the fans. If they can do that, the Ducks have a promising future to look forward to.

Popularity: 27% [?]

Reunion of the Dynamic Duo?

I’d like to take a moment to write some of my thoughts on #9. No, not Bobby Ryan. The other #9. Don’t pretend like you don’t know who I’m talking about. Regardless of your feelings on the topic, there is no denying that the Ducks very easily could have failed as a franchise had it not been for Paul Kariya.

Paul Kariya. I can hear the boos raining down on me from the internet for saying his name in a Ducks blog. I cringe every time he touches the puck at the Honda Center and the arena erupts with displeasure. But despite the negative feelings shared by many hurt Ducks fans, I still remember everything he did for the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim.

Paul Kariya was the Ducks’ first son, their very first draft pick going at #4 overall in the 1993 Entry Draft. Being the first pick of a brand new franchise, expectations were high for the young winger. After spending one more season playing college hockey, he joined the Ducks and expectations were quickly met. Over the course of nine seasons with the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim, Kariya scored 300+369=669 points in 606 games, good for second behind Teemu Selanne. Kariya also trails Selanne in points per game by a mere 0.024.

Not only is he among the top in franchise statistics, Kariya is also a leader on the ice. Even at a young age, he set a notable example with his focus and determination, and his heroics in the 2003 Stanley Cup Finals will always be remembered. In just his third season in the NHL, Kariya was given the C to become the franchise’s third captain, serving for seven seasons until he left the team in 2003.

And there it is again. I can feel the hostility surging as I mention Paul Kariya’s unceremonious abandonment of the team he had promised a Stanley Cup. But instead of returning to lead the team he had grown with, that had raised him and cherished him, he chose to play in Colorado. A stacked team just two seasons removed as Stanley Cup champions, many Ducks fans believe that Kariya chose the easy way out. Instead of leading his own team to glory, he chose to join a team already poised to win. The message perceived by fans in Anaheim was, “I don’t believe I can win a Cup with the Ducks, I think I’ll win one in Colorado instead.”

But is this really the message that Kariya meant to send? Nobody knows but him. Sure, the honorable thing would have been to stay with the team and fan base that had invested so much in him, especially after having promised to bring the Cup to Anaheim. There’s no disagreement from me there. But when I found out that he was going to be playing with long-time friend Teemu Selanne again in Colorado, I was happy for them. So much so that I wasn’t mad that he left Anaheim. Extremely sad, but not angry. I was excited that the two players who made magic happen on the ice would be skating together once more. Our game deserves to see that type of chemistry flourish and captivate audiences around the entire NHL. If not in Anaheim, then why not in Colorado?

We should also remember that hockey is both a game and a job, and that the players are human like you and me. For something that takes up so much of everyday life, it’s understandable to want to be in the company of close friends. And for Kariya and Selanne, linemates and friends that mean so much to each other, the prospect of accomplishing the ultimate goal of hockey together would have been a tremendous temptation.

Of course we all know how that season went for Kariya and Selanne and their new team, and the rest, as they say, is history.

But what if it’s not all in the past? There is plenty of talk about a potential reunion of the Dynamic Duo, this time back in Anaheim. Could the magic still be there? Bringing Kariya and Selanne back together to the building in which they amazed the world would be a fairytale ending to two storied careers (whenever that day comes).

Would it be the right fit? It’s no longer the Arrowhead Pond. The colors and crest have changed. The coach and the system are both drastically different. Kariya would be older than all but 4 players on the roster. Not to mention the roster is crowded up front and weak on defense.

But would I welcome Paul Kariya back to Anaheim? The team’s first ever draft pick. The team’s longest-serving captain. 2nd all-time in goals. 2nd all-time in assists. 2nd all-time in points and points per game. 2nd all-time in power play goals. 1st all-time in short-handed goals. 2nd all-time in game-winning goals. 3rd all-time in games played. The face of the franchise for nine seasons and the reason many Californians—myself included—took interest in the game of hockey and the Anaheim Ducks to begin with. So would I welcome Paul Kariya back to Anaheim? Wouldn’t you?

Popularity: 29% [?]

One More Year!

“Ducks Fans – After thinking about it for the last few months, I’ve decided to return to play for the Ducks. I’m excited about the summer additions the team has made. I know this team can win. ” – Teemu Selanne via the Anaheim Ducks Official Site.


Just months ago I was at the Honda Center on Fan Appreciation Night getting swept up in a crowd that serenaded #8 with an emotional chant of, “One more year!”  Yesterday, upon reading Teemu’s statement, that wish was granted.


In 1992, Teemu Selanne broke into the NHL with an incredible NHL-record 76 goals as a rookie.  Now with 17 NHL seasons under his belt, the Finnish Flash has amassed a total of 606 goals, 654 assists, and 1,260 points with the Winnipeg Jets, the San Jose Sharks, the Colorado Avalanche, and of course, the Anaheim Ducks.  When looking at his Ducks-specific stats, his accomplishments appear even more impressive.  Selanne is the franchise leader in games played, goals, assists, points, points per game, plus/minus, power play goals, game-winning goals, game-tying goals, and overtime goals.


And now he’s back for one more year.  Having just turned 40 in July (not to mention two serious injuries last season), this is an impressive feat.  Not many hockey players continue with their careers going into their 40′s, and very few have retained the level of talent that Selanne has.  With the same hunger for goals and wins that he had when he first came to the NHL 18 years ago, Selanne is a feared and respected opponent.  His presence immediately increases the Ducks’ chances of success.


It hasn’t been easy on the Finnish Flash, having seriously contemplated retirement for the past three offseasons.  It hasn’t always been easy on the fans either.  But we continue to wait patiently to see when the day comes that Teemu Selanne decides to hang up the skates for good.  Until then, we will loyally and enthusiastically support the most likable, recognizable, and respected figure in the Anaheim Ducks franchise.


Thank you Teemu, for your dedication to this team and this community, for your amazing talent and perseverance, for your love of the game and the positive attitude you always display.  Here’s to an incredible career.  Here’s to the Ducks team that you’ve stuck with and that you believe in.  Here’s to one more year.

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An Open Letter to Jean-Sebastien Giguere

While most of the details only pertain to me personally, but if you agree with anything on this piece, feel free to sign your name or leave a comment of your favorite Giguere moment.

Dear Jean Sebastian (JS) Giguere,

I want to personally thank you for being an Anaheim Duck, in my opinion the model of the Anaheim Ducks for the past several years. I don’t live in Anaheim. I live about 650 miles away. I loved the duo of Kariya and Selanne, what took me away from my love of the Los Angeles Kings, but later got distracted while living in Michigan for a short time. However, your goaltending and your love of the game brought me back to the Anaheim Ducks in 2002. I still loved the Ducks during that short time away, but I didn’t follow the team. I still remember listening to NHL.com’s radio feed of your shutout win of 5-0 over your hero Mario Lemieux in December of 2002.

While going to the Cup Finals in 2003 I was serving my church in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and was only allowed to check my e-mail once a week. My future brother in law taped your shutouts on the VCR and saved the tapes for me. My younger brothers sent me newspaper articles and scores through the mail and internet. Your shutout streak gave me inspiration to achieve difficult goals. Your face of disappointment gave me hope for the team. You taught me an important lesson; you can’t win them all, but you can enjoy the ride along the way.

Derek, just over 2 months old, and I watching Game 5 versus Ottawa in 2007.

Derek, just over 2 months old, and I watching Game 5 versus Ottawa in 2007.

My son was born March 30, 2007, a few weeks within your son’s birth. I remember reading what was happening with Maxime’s eyes and praying for your family, wondering what it would be like for me to go through the same with my newborn son. Following the playoffs this time was much easier than 2003 (and 2006 for that matter). I was so relieved when you got your job back from Bryz to take on Vancouver, to best Detroit and to finish the finals to win the Cup against Ottawa.

The past two years have been hard for me to watch. I’ve cheered you on every day when others doubted, I knew there was a warrior inside you. You deserve to be number one Giggy. I’m so sad to see you leave the franchise, but I am glad you will be able to rise to the top again. A part of me hopes you shut the Ducks out the next time we see you, as long as you don’t ruin anything for us.

Thank you, J.S. You’re the best.

We won’t ever forget what you did for us.

Sincerely,

Bryce Randle

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My Resolution, Not My Resolution

I haven’t blogged about the Ducks in a while. I blame that on my schedule with the new DVD I edited and was also an associate producer on entitled, Growing Up Hockey. Now that we are on to a new year and that project is about over, I hope to give more attention to the Ducks of Anaheim and nurse them back to good health.

A few things I have noticed.

1. Name a starting goaltender.

Let me be more specific. Name J.S. Giguere as a starting goaltender. I don’t see the consistency needed as a starting goaltender in Hiller. He can’t do back to back nights and he just hasn’t convinced me that he can carry the team. Giguere has the track record and is showing a performance much better than last year.

2. Getzlaf is/should be a Power Forward.

Being from out of town, I am unable to make it to games much and I can’t pay the price for Center Ice. Point is I don’t SEE a lot of games. I watch about every episode of Ducks TV, read the OC Ducks Blog, munch on my Ducks twitter feed and  clips on YouTube. However, the one game I have made it to was in the end of October against the Stars. It was an exciting game- if you count just the 3rd period. However, if you take a look at Getzlaf’s goal (below) you can see the commanding presence he has.

That was his first goal of the season. He should be scoring more goals like that. Granted, he is one of the best on the team in points, but we expect higher goal production. Yeah, I know what you are saying, “Stop picking on the injured guy.”

3. Defense.

Get us some more defense! Work on the turnovers. Give our goalies a chance to keep us in the game. Niedermayer can’t do it all alone. Today we saw Whitney’s name not be included on the Team USA roster. He went from a favorable chance to a no chance. Our D needs to be tighter. Keep Boynton out there. Our record speaks for itself when he is on the ice.

Popularity: 47% [?]

Where is Rob Niedermayer?

robniedermayerAmongst the excitement of have Koivu, Boynton, Lupul and others join the Ducks I have not had time to sit back and think about where our favorite players for the past years have gone. Then Todd Marchant was brought back. Ever since that day I have been waiting to hear some sort of news on Rob Niedermayer.

Where did he go? What is he doing? It’s nearly a month until the preseason starts and he hasn’t signed with any team. Will we see his face in Anaheim again? Will it be soon? I remember when Rob Niedermayer was first a Duck. I thought he added a new kind of face to the team. Then came Adam Oates, Giggy started to become the solid goaltender he is and our team made it to the finals.

This season Rob was a healthy scratch a few times. Could it be because of those scratches we won’t see him in an Anaheim uniform again? We have a lot of people competing for top spots, but I think Rob Niedermayer, our once alternate captain, could be in the mix for the Ducks still. I wouldn’t be surprised if he is on the ice during the season, at some point, but I’m not holding my breath either.

Popularity: 87% [?]

Come to us Koivu!

Koivu is a great signing by GM Bob Murray. At $3.5 million a year (let me remind you that is .5 million cheaper than we got Todd Bertuzzi for) we should be thanking Murray for the steal he just got away with. That should enhance our offense enough to be able to get past Detroit, Chicago and the other Western powerhouses. However, there still remains a void in our defense. Do we try for what D is out there? A Zubov, Bergeron or someone else that can be a top 4 defenseman?

Popularity: 88% [?]

Updated NHL News

nhlUpdated Hockey news and moves:

Anaheim Ducks: as of today the Ducks have traded Chris Pronger in return for Lupul and Scbisa, or something like that. Anyhow, sad to see Prongs go, but I think he’s not fitting into what the Ducks need now. When the Ducks won the cup, brutal force was the way to go; teams adjusted and now can defend against that so its back to the drawing board which has scoring and speed written on it. Also, late today the Ducks re-signed Erik (Spell) Christiansen to a one year deal along with Troy Bodie.
Updated: Scott and Teemu both returning to Ducks for 1 more year. Also, Teemu has notified the Ducks he will retire after that making this upcoming season his retirement tour!

Flames: Jay Bouwmeester was the biggest name being tossed around draft day as the hot property everyone wanted (before the Pronger trade happened out of no where). So now Calgary has “THE” man of the hour and maybe a renewed sense of being.

Rangers/Kings: The Rangers got the rights to Brian Boyle, a good hard nosed player that I thought worked well for the Kings, but I think they have other plans.
The Kings made a splash by not only signing Defense man Rob Scuderi and now Ryan Smith. Look for L.A. to break its playoffs drought this season.

Penguins: In the first feel good story of the off season, Bill Guerin took a hometown discount to remain with the Penguins, making Hossa look like scum, and letting his team know he’s ready to repeat!

Jaws 2: Rob Blake is going to give it one more try and see if San Jose knows the way to the cup. He signed for 1 year.

Devils: Johnny Oduya re-signed with NJ. Why is this significant? Someone somewhere had him listed as a potential Ducks deal, but low and behold, no dice. Ducks won’t be doing Oduya.

The other Jonas: GUSTAVSSON that is, won’t pick a team until…after July 1st. Why? Make a bigger splash! He’s the most sought after rookie goalie, and as of now everyone and their mother think he’s headed to Toronto.

Le Big Mac: In one of today’s biggest stories, the NY Rangers made a 6 player trade with Montreal that sent Scott Gomez packing to the Canadians! There were 5 other players involved but only care to notice Scott so there.

The biggest Non-Trade today: Heatley was traded, then not traded, then might be traded tomorrow to the Edmonton Oilers! In a deal that supposedly will send Dustin “It’s my fault contracts are so expensive” Penner and a few other bums to Ottawa in return for Heatley and some souvenirs! This deal was apparently finalized tonight around 5 p.m. PST, but then something happened and Heatley hasn’t officially agreed to being traded, so the world is holding its collective breath tonight for some sort of conclusion tomorrow…stay tuned. FYI: Heatley still in limbo.

Possible deals: I’m hearing that Havlat and Gaborik are going to be L.A. Kings tomorrow which I think will definitely spice things up for L.A. and make them a playoff contender this upcoming season. Updated: Gaborik signed with Montreal, and Havlat signed with Minny-sota!

Koivu: This is the rumor that won’t die. Apparently the Canadians have declined to offer Koivu and offer which would make him available tomorrow, which for some reason means he’ll come to Anaheim. Hey, I’ll take him, but first let’s see if this rumor is true. Updated: As more time goes by, the reality of Koivu coming to Anaheim seems more likely.

Sedins: This is another story that will be huge once it’s finalized. Vancouver made the Sedins an offer, which apparently they did not accept. The other rumored teams involved trying to sign the twins? Montreal and Toronto. Is it just me, or are all the Canadian teams stock piling players? Is this the year Canada gets the cup? Updated: The twins stay in Vancouver!

Hossa: According to what I’ve read, he turned down a multi year deal with Detroit, and may be headed to Edmonton. Updated: Hossa has cursed the Chicago Black hawks for the next 12 years! Hope it wasn’t a NTC!

Beaucheman: This guy is still without a team! I can not, for the life of me, understand why anybody has not swept this guy off his feet yet. The last thing I read, was that the Kings and Frankie were a year apart on terms.

Finally there is suppose to be a major three way deal on Monday involving the Hawks, Sharks and Maple Leafs, and the only clues that were given were that two goalies were involved and also a NTC. (WTF?)

Again, these are the deals that are of interest to me, so don’t message me saying I left so and so out. I’m aware of that. More updates as they happen.

 

Popularity: 100% [?]

Drafting, Dealing, Signing

With the draft and July 1 out of the way, we can almost look back and evaluate how GM Bob Murray did. I like Bob Murray’s move a lot. I was very afraid that when Burke left we would fall apart one trade at a time, but this is not the case.

I still see some holes in the organization, but I expect those to be filled in good time. Let’s take a look at some of the movements so far.

The Draft: I’m not talking about the players traded because we will get to that. We selected 2 in the first round and another five in day two of the draft. We won’t see the immediate effects of the draft take place because the Ducks players tend to stay in development a little longer than other teams bring up their drafted players. Example, Jack Johnson, Anze Kopitar and Sidney Crosby all drafted the same year as Bobby Ryan. Bobby Ryan has developed wonderfully because of the patience he and Brian Burke went through to spend time raising fitness, skill and maturity in the minors as well as other leagues. I don’t think we will see an immediate effect on the franchise, but I like who we drafted and the positions they play.

The Pronger trade: While we will miss Pronger on the blue line very much, I don’t think we will miss the reputation that goes along with him. While sending Prongs out to Philly, we received fan favorite Joffrey Lupul as well as Luca Sbisa and a couple of 1st round draft picks, one for this year and one for next. Lupul was great for the franchise and its been so bittersweet to watch him play for other teams and not do as well as he did with the Ducks. My most fond memory of Lupul was the Playoff game in Colorado in 2005 when the score was Avalanche 3- Lupul 4. He will bring some secondary scoring that we need badly. I can’t say much about Sbisa because I don’t know too much about him. Lupul likes him and he was a first round pick, so I am good. Pronger has done so well for us as fans and as a team (Stanley Cup anyone?) so I know he will be missed.

Selanne and Scott Niedermayer: Aren’t we glad to have these two back for sure. And before the season started, even by the draft! So with those two under contract, we will have the veteran leadership and skill needed to prepare our other teammates for following seasons.

Projected Lines:

Offense

Getzlaf – Ryan – Perry

Lupul – Selanne – (to sign)/Christensen

Ebbett – Carter – Christensen/ Nokelainen

Parros – Brown – (to sign)/Bodie

Defense

S. Niedermayer – Brookbank

Whitney -Wisniewski

Sbisa – Festerling.

Goalies

1A Hiller

1B Giguere

I think the other good thing about the Pronger trade was that it doesn’t force us to trade Giguere away right away. Apparently he has given Murray a short list of teams of he wouldn’t mind being traded too. I suggest we hold on to him until at least pre season. We let him come into training camp, compete for the spot and if Hiller does fine we can get more for him, but I think that having those two in net dramatically increase our changes for winning a cup again.

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