So this is the beginning of a series of posts that we’re going to start putting together as the season rapidly (and thankfully) approaches. We are going to be taking a look at each of the teams in the league to get a glimpse of what we may see when the Kings match up against them this season. Some teams have stayed basically the same, others have had pretty dramatic overhauls. And still others have done very little, but done it with a lot of noise. We’ll start with the hated Anaheim Ducks.
The Ducks suck. Let’s be honest, they pretty much always suck. Even when they’re playing well, they still suck. It’s not hard to hate a team that’s based off a Disney movie, and as much as they desperately try to escape that legacy, it’s a done deal. They’re stuck with it, and they’ve got no chance of getting away. Fortunately for those of us who take pleasure in the downfall of our next door neighbor rivals, this season they look prepared to suck on both a philosophical and practical level.
Bobby Ryan (oops), Ryan Getzlaf, Lubomir Visnovsky, Joffrey Lupul, Teemu Selanne
The Ducks actually have a quasi-respectable offense, at least at the top end. Bobby Ryan (if he actually plays this season) has some skill, as do Getzlaf, Lupul and Selanne. In fact, if you look at the list of “key players” above, you might notice that they’re all offensive players. Even their defenseman on the list (Visnovsky) is an offensive defenseman. Of course they’re stuck playing some schmuck like George Parros, which is an… interesting decision. Then again, with Ivanans the last couple years, I’m not sure we have much room to talk.
A couple years back the Ducks boasted Chris Pronger and Scott Niedermayer on their blueline. Now? Not so much. There is a gaping hole where Niedermayer and his leadership used to reside, and it’s unclear if the Ducks will be able to do much (anything) to recover. Only time will tell, but frankly it looks like this team is going to be leaking goals. Especially with Jonas Hiller in net. Don’t get me wrong, he’s not the WORST keeper in the league, and can occasionally throw down a legit game. But in all, he’s far from brilliant, and is not going to be sufficient to save this defense.
Honestly I see the Ducks ending up at or near the bottom of the Pacific Division. They might sneak past the Stars, but frankly I wouldn’t hold my breath. I’ll put the Ducks at 11th in the Western Conference, with a pleasing crash and burn season. It’ll be fun to watch (unless you’re from Anaheim), but it won’t be “good hockey.”