As we continue our swing through the Pacific Division, we get to the two teams at the top of the heap. After discussing the good and the bad with the Flames, Oilers, Canucks, Coyotes and Sharks, it’s time to look at last year’s division champions in Anaheim.
Additions: Ryan Kesler, Clayton Stoner, Dany Heatley, Nate Thompson, Jason LeBarbara
Subtractions: Teemu Selanne, Saku Koivu, Nick Bonino, Mathieu Perreault, Luca Sbisa, Daniel Winnik, Stephane Robidas
Prospects To Watch: Nic Kerdiles, Stefan Noesen, Sami Vatanen, Louis Leblanc, William Karlsson, Rickard Rakell
- Goals: Corey Perry – 43
- Assists: Ryan Getzlaf – 56
- Points: Getzlaf – 87
- PIM: Patrick Maroon – 101
- Power Play Points: Getzlaf – 23
- Time On Ice per Game: Cam Fowler- 23:51
- 5 on 5 iCORSI: Perry – 333
The biggest news in Anaheim this summer was the acquisition of Kesler, who should provide the Ducks with one of the best 1-2 punches at the center position in the league. To get him, however, the Ducks traded away a quietly effective player in Bonino, who finished last season second on the team in power play points (20) and third in goals scored (22).
While adding Kesler was the big splash, the Ducks lost a great deal of their depth – especially on the power play (where they ranked 22nd last season at 16.0 percent). Three of their top six power play forwards from last year are gone (Bonino, Selanne, Perreault).
One young player who will be asked to step into the void left by the departed veterans will be Devante Smith-Pelly. The 22-year-old forward dominated the AHL in Norfolk, and stepped into the NHL lineup effectively with two goals and eight assists in 19 regular season games before scoring five goals in 12 playoff games.
There will be a lot of eyes on the crease in Anaheim this year. With Jonas Hiller gone, it appears the time has come for youngster John Gibson to take the net. The 21-year-old will compete with Frederik Andersen (who will turn 25 on Oct. 2) for the opening night start.
Prediction: 108 points
The addition of Kesler is a huge statement by the Ducks, but their depth is a concern; Koivu, Selanne, Bonino and Perreault combined to score 60 goals last year. This is still a very good team – possibly a division winner. But will they have enough depth to go deep into the playoffs?