Let me just clear the air and state that this isn’t going to be an article that has anything to do with Disney. If I startled any of you with my reference to the Disney era, I sincerely apologize.
I’m just trying to evaluate the situation the Anaheim Ducks are in.
General manager, Bob Murray, is trying to gather the missing pieces to once again complete his roster. Over the past decade Anaheim has made a name for themselves, showing up for the playoffs four times in the last nine years; did I mention two of those postseason appearances were in the Stanley Cup Finals?
Now, Anaheim has to share the hockey reigns in Southern California with Los Angeles; who are the newly-crowned kings of the NHL. More pressure and higher expectations await the Ducks and it won’t be easy molding the team back into a once respectable playoff contender.
Here’s my assessment on the losses and additions up to this point:
Sheldon Brookbank– He expected a raise and more minutes. I don’t think he’s worthy of a lucrative contract and ice time isn’t guaranteed to a number six or seventh defenseman on any team. He came off a career-high season last year, but he is wanting more than Bob Murray think he is worth. Personally, I wasn’t a huge fan and I won’t lose sleep over him going to Chicago. I’m positive this won’t come back to haunt the Ducks.
George Parros– This man should be the face of hockey. Not only does he have the penalty minutes and the mustache to match the stereotype of hockey, he’s the total package. With the education, charitable character, like-able personality and his own “stache” clothing line, Parros wasn’t just a pair of fists in Anaheim. Though he was the go-to guy for physical altercations, those occurances served the purpose of injecting life back into fans and his teammates when times were tough. I’m pretty bummed that he signed with Florida. I wish him the best and I’ll wear his clothing line with pride. I’m just happy he’s in the Eastern Conference now.
Lubomir Visnovsky– I recently met him at the Duck’s Casino Night this past January. After my first encounter with the man, I vowed that he was going to be my favorite Duck once Selanne retired. Not only is he a clutch defenseman on the point and on special teams, but he was one the most personable hockey players I’ve ever met. After the trade, I took a look at twitter and saw a couple of Duck players wishing “Lubo” luck. I know he will be missed on the ice and especially in the locker room. Unfortunately injuries plagued him this year, but he’s still capable of racking up 68 points like he did with Anaheim two years ago. I definitely wasn’t expecting this trade. I’d understand if the Ducks were trying to go younger, but they just acquired Sheldon Souray who has an almost identical story as to Visnovsky. Lubo was guilty of taking careless penalties. That’s a major problem Anaheim needs to improve on and just did with this trade.
Sheldon Souray– Similar to Visnovsky, this defenseman brings veteran presence and stability on special teams. He too suffered from injuries while playing in Edmonton, but redeemed himself last season in Dallas. I don’t agree with the price tag that came along with Souray, but I’m hoping his stats this season prove me wrong. He also definitely adds size to the team, which Murray stated was priority. Time will tell if his three year contract pans out for both sides.
Bryan Allen– Didn’t know much about the guy until now. I like that he is another big defenseman who can eat up a lot of minutes. Unlike Souray, Allen is more of a stay-at-home defensemen. That is music to my ears. Brings me back to the days of Keith Carney. Also, the fact that Allen wanted to come to Anaheim and stated that he wanted to bring consistency to the team is a positive way to start things. Again, his size and grit is something I’ll welcome on this team any day. Remember when the Ducks won the Cup? They were all about size and grit then and they should go back to their ways that gave them winning results.
Brad Staubitz– Hopefully, he will somewhat fill the hole that was left behind by Parros. Like Parros, Staubitz was also a fan favorite in Montreal. He was tied for seventh in fighting majors last season at 15 and with that I’m a believer that Staubitz will soften the blow that the fans felt with Parro’s departure. We might not get the luxury of purchasing”stache” products at our team store, but Staubitz is the same caliber as Parros and at a cheaper price. I’m excited to watch a new enforcer in town; especially one who knows he has some big gloves to fill.
The only certain thing in Anaheim is goaltending with Jonas Hiller in net. Even then I’m praying that Hiller is 100% vertigo free. The Ducks needed to add depth and size to their defense and offense and I think the new acquisitions could be enough on the defensive end. But with Bobby Ryan having one foot in Philadelphia and the other in 28 other cities, the Ducks need a power-forward pronto.
I’d love to keep Ryan, but that doesn’t appear to be likely. If Murray doesn’t shake up the offense and dump Ryan for something worthy in return, I hope the saying “defense wins championships” proves to be right for Anaheim’s sake.