The Anaheim Ducks have been easily the biggest surprise in the league this season. They’ve maintained their early pace and are looking like a serious threat to make a run at the Stanley Cup out of the Western Conference.
Though there are plenty of reasons for the success of the Ducks, but it’s hard to overlook what the change behind the bench has done. Bruce Boudreau has taken virtually the same roster that missed the playoffs a year ago and turned them into a serious Stanley Cup threat.
This was a team that was one of the worst in the league last year, whether it was trying to put the puck in the net or keep it out. They were also a bottom ten team in the league in their power play percentage and middle-of-the-road in their penalty kill. Essentially, they were a very mediocre club.
The Ducks made no significant changes to their roster over the summer. They added Daniel Winnik in free agency and traded for depth defenseman Ben Lovejoy early on this season. Which lends itself even more to the idea that Boudreau is a large part of this team’s success.
This season, the Ducks rank sixth in the league in goals per game. They’re just outside of the top ten in goals against. Their power play has improved from ranking towards the bottom of the league to morphing into a top five unit.
Bruce Boudreau doesn’t deserve 100 percent of the credit for the Ducks’ turnaround, but he does deserve the majority of it. That idea will be reflected in the fact that Boudreau will very likely be among the finalists for the Jack Adams Award as the league’s top coach. He’ll have competition, but it’ll be hard to beat him, given what we’ve seen from Anaheim this year.