Pacific Division preview: Anaheim Ducks
We will continue our journey around the Pacific Division with a look at the Anaheim Ducks.
The Ducks finished 4th in the west last year with a 47-30-5 record. They also boasted the league MVP in Corey Perry. Perry, who had a career year amassing 98 points, lead the Ducks and took on a leadership role on the team.
The off season saw the losses of Jarkko Ruutu, Andreas Lilja, Todd Marchant, and starting goalie Ray Emery. Duck fans don’t fret however, as the team added a big name in up-and-comer Andrew Cogliano. Cogliano had 35 points, 11 goals and 24 assists, last season in Edmonton. He will probably be the Duck’s first line center this upcoming season. The Ducks hope that bringing him to their club and surrounding him with their talent will yield more productivity.
One position with question marks headed into the season for Anaheim however is at goalie. Ray Emery played in 6 of the teams 7 playoff games, but is no longer a member of the team. Jonas Hiller, who played in 49 games last season, will look to retake the starting job this season. Hiller, who was an all-star last year, saw his season come to an abrupt halt when he started experiencing vertigo-like symptoms during all-star weekend. The Ducks hope that Hiller can return to full health and lead this team back to the playoffs.
While the Ducks have questions at the goalie position, their defensive corps might be one of the best in the NHL. Lubomir Visnovsky is coming off a career year, and Cam Fowler shouldn’t experience a sophomore slump after his good rookie season. The Ducks are also deep at the defensive position, with Luca Sbisa, Toni Lydman, and Francois Beauchemin all ready for duty.
The Ducks, who finished 2nd in the Pacific Division last year, will be a worthy opponent again this year. If Hiller can preform like he did in the first half last year, the Ducks can be one of the better teams in the Western Conference.