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30 in 30: Anaheim facing top-six decisions in lineup

by Corey Masisak

The Anaheim Ducks returned to the Stanley Cup Playoffs in 2013, but their stay was cut short when the Detroit Red Wings rallied to win Games 6 and 7 in the opening round.

After signing Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry to long-term contract extensions during the 2012-13 season, the biggest move of this summer was trading Bobby Ryan to the Ottawa Senators for Jakob Silfverberg, prospect Stefan Noesen and a first-round pick. The second-biggest move, signing former Ducks forward Dustin Penner away from the rival Los Angeles Kings, could end up being a nice bit of insurance.


Under-valued: Cam Fowler -- The defenseman's point-per-game totals have dropped in each of the past two years since his breakout rookie season, but this could be the year it all comes together. His defensive game has slowly improved, and he looked reliable in the seven-game playoff series against the Detroit Red Wings. Expect a big season. 

Over-valued: Francois Beauchemin -- The defenseman had more points (24) in 48 games last season than he had in 82 games in 2011-12 (22), and his plus-19 was 12 better than any other season. At 33, last season likely was an aberration, not the norm.

Sleeper: Jakob Silfverberg - The main piece in the Bobby Ryan swap, Silfverberg should be a top-six forward for the Ducks (even with Teemu Selanne returning) and should be good for around 20 goals and 40 points with potential for a lot more upside in the future -- owners in keeper leagues should be all over him.

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Teemu Selanne decided to return for one final season on Aug. 30. Another of the team's veteran Finnish players, defenseman Toni Lydman, also has not signed and remains a free agent. The Ducks have a couple of young defensemen who could push their way into the top six to replace him.

Here is the projected 2013-14 lineup for the Ducks:


Jakob Silfverberg - Ryan Getzlaf - Corey Perry

Emerson Etem - Nick Bonino - Teemu Selanne

Dustin Penner - - Peter Holland - Kyle Palmieri

Andrew Cogliano - Saku Koivu - Matt Beleskey

Daniel Winnik - Brad Staubitz


Sheldon Souray - Francois Beauchemin

Cam Fowler - Ben Lovejoy

Bryan Allen - Luca Sbisa

Sami Vatanen


Jonas Hiller

Viktor Fasth

NOTES: With Selanne back, Penner could drop to the third line in place of Winnik. Pairing him with Bonino and especially Etem would make one of the fastest lines in the League.

Silfverberg could have a breakout season, and Penner almost certainly will not shoot such a poor percentage (3.3 percent) in 2013-14. Either of those wings could produce 20-25 goals, as could speedy Etem, who looked a like a future all-star against the Red Wings in the playoffs.

Anaheim's line of Cogliano, Koivu and Winnik was also great against Detroit, and young players Noesen and Rickard Rackell could push for a lineup spot during training camp. Beleskey and Palmieri each saw time in the top six during the playoffs, and forward depth could finally be a strength in Anaheim after being a struggle at times in recent seasons.

Souray will miss the start of the season following wrist surgery in August that is expected to keep him out four-to-six months. Vatanen or Hampus Lindholm, a 2012 first-round pick who played in the American Hockey League during the lockout but missed the NHL season because of a concussion, each could earn a place in the top-six on defense during Souray's absence. The Ducks signed free agent Mark Fistric to bolster the team's depth at the position.

Hiller and Fasth were a solid tandem in net, and the Ducks have one of the top goaltending prospects in the world, John Gibson, who will likely be the starter in the AHL and could make his NHL debut if Hiller or Fasth miss time with an injury.

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