Lately, temperatures have been colder than what So-Cal natives are used to. It’s expected to warm up mid-week and right around the time hockey is back in session. What a way to bring in the shortened season with some traditional warm and sunny weather.
Before the Anaheim Ducks players hit the ice, coach Bruce Boudreau participated in a little Q&A from the local county paper. Here’s my summary of Boudreau’s thoughts and assessments on certain aspects of the team.
There were a few that sparked the coach’s interest, but probably not enough to earn a roster spot on such short notice. He mentioned that Sami Vatanen is a good, mobile defenseman who has a good sense of awareness when out on the ice. Center Peter Holland has good puck handling skills and control of the puck. Kyle Palmieri, who had seven points in 18 games as a Duck last season, started off with a sluggish start in the minors, but had a good weekend when the coaching staff went to visit the affiliate team. All and all, these youngins’ need more time to grow in the minors before they’re even considered to become a pro. Throwing any of these, maybe besides Palmieri who has NHL experience, in the mix in such a hurry will only hinder their growth.
Available roster spots:
Boudreau estimated that there were three or so positions open on the team. Right now he is looking for a fourth-line center, a 12th or 13th forward depending on how Brad Staubitz pans out during the five day camp and one spot left for a third liner.
New acquisitions (defense):
Boudreau mentions that the key to the defense is it’s shape. A healthy Toni Lydman and a Francois Beauchemin who had time to recuperate from his off-season shoulder surgery will return stronger. Newly acquisitions Sheldon Souray and Bryan Allen will bring size and grit to the defensive core. Both Lydman and Allen are reliable defenseman whereas Beauchemin and Souray will bring in some offense and eat up some ice time.
Bottom line is the Ducks are in the same boat as most of the other 29 teams. They’re healthier and open spots on the roster are hard to come by. With the season being shortened to a little more than half a regular season — at 48 games — the team with the most talent may not necessarily be a shoe-in for the playoffs. It will be the teams that can click the fastest and generate chemistry on the scoreboard in a short time frame.
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