By Kyle Shohara
The Ducks begin their 2014-15 regular season tomorrow night against the Pittsburgh Penguins at Consol Energy Center in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Game time is 4 p.m. PT and can be seen locally on Prime Ticket and heard on AM 830 KLAA.
Season openers have not been friendly to the Ducks over the years. In fact, Anaheim owns a 5-15-0 record over 20 seasons, 16 of which have taken place on the road (3-13-0 in road season openers).
The Ducks are 10-13-3 all-time against the Penguins, including a 3-9-2 mark on the road. Anaheim went 0-1-1 against Pittsburgh in 2013-14, including a 3-1 defeat at Consol Energy Center on November 18.
Following a season-opening four-game road trip, the team will return to Anaheim for its Home Opener on Friday, October 17 vs. the Minnesota Wild (7 p.m. PDT).
DUCKS NAME ALTERNATE CAPTAINS
The Ducks named right wing Corey Perry and defenseman Francois Beauchemin Alternate Captains for the 2014-15 NHL season, joining Team Captain Ryan Getzlaf.
Perry, in his 10th season with the Ducks, and Beauchemin, in his ninth season with the team, both begin their first seasons wearing an “A” with Anaheim. Getzlaf is in his fifth season as captain and 10th overall with the Ducks.
The Ducks made several offseason moves to bolster the team up front and on defense. Below are the new additions.
RYAN KESLER #17 | CENTER
Born: August 31, 1984 (Age 30)
Birthplace: Livonia, MI, United States
Acquired: From Vancouver with a third-round selection in the 2015 NHL Entry Draft in exchange for Nick Bonino, Luca Sbisa and first-round and third-round selections in the 2014 NHL Entry Draft, June 27, 2014
Drafted: By Vancouver in the first round (23rd overall) in the 2003 NHL Entry Draft
What Kesler did last season: Appeared in his 10th NHL season with the Vancouver Canucks, scoring 43 points (25g/18a) with 81 penalty minutes in 77 games. Kesler led the club in goals, game-winning goals (5), power-play goals (9) and shots (239), while ranking second in hits (133) and takeaways (47), and third in scoring and power-play scoring (9g/7a). He led team forwards in blocked shots (68), shorthanded time-on-ice (169:58) and average shorthanded TOI (2:12). Kesler also paced the Canucks in faceoff wins (740) and attempts (1,406), and ranked second in faceoff percentage (52.6).
Who’s he skating with? Kesler has been skating on Anaheim’s second line with Andrew Cogliano and Jakob Silfverberg.
DANY HEATLEY #51 | LEFT WING
Born: January 21, 1981 (Age 33)
Birthplace: Freiburg, Germany
Acquired: Signed as a free agent, July 9, 2014
Drafted: By Atlanta in the first round (second overall) in the 2000 NHL Entry Draft
What Heatley did last season: Appeared in his 12th NHL season, his third with the Minnesota Wild. In 76 regular-season contests, Heatley collected 28 points (12g/16a) with 18 penalty minutes. Heatley ranked third on the club in power-play goals (4) and tied for fifth in goals, and had a season-high five-game point streak (3g/3a), January 30 - February 27. Heatley set season highs in assists (2a) on January 11 vs. Colorado and time-on-ice (21:29) on November 30 at Colorado. Heatley played his 800th career NHL game, October 28 vs. Chicago.
Who’s he skating with? Heatley skated on the top line with Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry throughout training camp and preseason, before suffering a lower-body injury on September 28 vs. Los Angeles. Heatley has been placed on injured reserve as of October 7.
NATE THOMPSON #44 | CENTER
Born: October 5, 1984 (Age 30)
Birthplace: Anchorage, AK, United States
Acquired: From Tampa Bay in exchange for a fourth-round and seventh-round selection in the 2015 NHL Entry Draft
Drafted: By Boston in the sixth round (183rd overall) in the 2003 NHL Entry Draft
What Thompson did last season: Appeared in his seventh NHL season, his fifth with the Tampa Bay Lightning. Thompson scored 16 points (9g/7a) with a +3 rating and 27 penalty minutes in 81 games as alternate captain. He set career highs in shorthanded goals (2), appearances and plus/minus, while his nine goals and 16 points were the second-best marks of his career. Thompson ranked second among team leaders in faceoff percentage (50.9) and third among forwards in overall short-handed time-on-ice (162:13) and average short-handed time-on-ice (2:00).
Who’s he skating with? Near the end of the preseason, Thompson centered a line with Matt Beleskey and Tim Jackman.
CLAYTON STONER #3 | DEFENSEMAN
Born: February 19, 1985 (Age 29)
Birthplace: Port McNeill, BC, Canada
Acquired: Signed as a free agent, July 1, 2014
Drafted: By Minnesota in the third round (79th overall) of the 2004 NHL Entry Draft
What Stoner did last season: Appeared in his fifth NHL season with the Minnesota Wild, scoring five points (1g/4a) with 84 penalty minutes in a career-high 63 games. Stoner led the Wild in penalty minutes and ranked fourth in hits. He collected his fourth career NHL goal in a 6-0 victory, March 18 at New York (Islanders), and appeared in his 200th career NHL game on December 22 at New York (Rangers). Stoner logged a season-high 20:57 time-on-ice on October 22 vs. Nashville.
Who’s he skating with? Prior to Cam Fowler’s injury last week (lower body, traveled with team), Stoner was paired with Sami Vatanen. With Fowler’s status uncertain for tomorrow night’s game against the Penguins, it remains to be seen who Stoner’s partner will be.
No longer will you see Devante Smith-Pelly or Emerson Etem on the ice with the numbers 77 and 65, respectively.
Below is a list of Ducks who changed numbers from last season:
Bryan Allen– 5 (formerly 55)
Emerson Etem – 16 (formerly 65)
Patrick Maroon– 19 (formerly 62)
Devante Smith-Pelly – 12 (formerly 77)
YOUNG SWEDES FLYING HIGH
Rickard Rakell and William Karlsson were competing for the third-line center position, and both appear to be staying with the big club for the foreseeable future given the injuries up front for the Ducks. Rakell and Karlsson (both 21 years of age) were selected in the 2011 NHL Draft (Rakell, first round, 30th overall, and Karlsson, second round, 53rd overall).
Rakell is the more experienced of the two, having played in 22 NHL regular season games and 46 in the American Hockey League. Karlsson made his pro debut last season and appeared in nine games with the AHL’s Admirals.
Karlsson wears No. 38 for the Ducks, last worn by Dan Ellis (2010-12).
OPENING NIGHT ROSTER ANNOUNCEDFORWARDS
Yesterday, the Ducks revealed their finalized 23-man roster for the 2014-15 NHL regular season. The roster includes 13 forwards, eight defensemen and two goaltenders after the Ducks placed left wing Dany Heatley on Injured Reserve and placed right wing Kyle Palmieri and defensemen Sheldon Souray and Shea Theodore on Injured Non-Roster.
Matt Beleskey - LW
Andrew Cogliano - C/RW
Emerson Etem - LW
Ryan Getzlaf - C
William Karlsson - C
Tim Jackman - RW
Ryan Kesler - C
Patrick Maroon - LW
Corey Perry - RW
Rickard Rakell - C
Jakob Silfverberg - RW
Devante Smith-Pelly - RW
Nate Thompson - C DEFENSEMEN
Bryan Allen - D
Francois Beauchemin - D
Mark Fistric - D
Cam Fowler - D
Hampus Lindholm - D
Ben Lovejoy - D
Clayton Stoner - D
Sami Vatanen - D
Frederik Andersen - G
John Gibson - G