The Anaheim Ducks have spent their 20th season in the NHL celebrating an anniversary in style, and they will finish the campaign with a Stanley Cup parade to cap the festivities.
This is the best team in franchise history. The Ducks are deep and talented at every position. They do not have two all-time great defensemen like the 2006-07 team which won the Cup, but the Ducks are much deeper up front and boast plenty of potential Hall of Fame talent to claim a second championship in franchise history.
Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry were a key part of the title run seven years ago, and they are among the top duos in the NHL. Perry has won the Hart Trophy and Getzlaf is a likely finalist this season. They've each won two Olympic gold medals and winning the Cup for a second time would help make them both likely candidates for eventual Hall of Fame enshrinement.
Two guys behind them on the depth chart are already destined for their day in Toronto. Teemu Selanne is one of the greatest players in League history, while Saku Koivu is one of the best to have never won the Cup. They are revered in the dressing room, and helping Koivu lift the Cup while sending Selanne into retirement in the best way possible will be a rallying point for this club.
Koivu anchors one of the best third lines in the League, and depth scoring will be an asset in the playoffs. Andrew Cogliano, Kyle Palmieri and Mathieu Perreault have had nice seasons. The Ducks nearly defeated the Detroit Red Wings last year in the first round without great performances from Getlzaf and Perry because the young supporting cast played well.
There are players like Jakob Silfverberg, Emerson Etem and Rickard Rakell who have not been able to find consistent playing time because of the depth, but any of them could do what Tyler Seguin did three years ago and help turn a series with a couple of strong games.
Defenseman Stephane Robidas has been a great addition from the Dallas Stars, and with Cam Fowler healthy the Ducks can be better on the back end then they've been all season. Having a healthy Fowler will help lessen some of the team's possession problems, and this group will have the depth beyond the top six needed for a deep playoff run as well.
No franchise in the League was deeper in goal this season than the Ducks, and the emergence of Frederik Andersen and the continued development of touted prospect John Gibson allowed them to trade Viktor Fasth. Jonas Hiller can help the Ducks to a championship, but they also have options should he be injured or falter.
To win the Stanley Cup, a team needs front-line talent playing well and a supporting cast to pitch in when needed. The Ducks have plenty of depth at all three positions. Getzlaf and Perry will be motivated by the disappointment from last season and the chance to pull off a rare Olympic gold medal/Stanley Cup double in the same year.
Put it all together, and Anaheim will finish the 20th season in its history with a second championship.
|Back to top|