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NHL Anaheim Ducks

Five Most Important Players For Anaheim Ducks

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Five Most Important Players for Anaheim Ducks

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Rick-Osentoski-USA-TODAY-Sports

The Anaheim Ducks, after a 30-12-6 regular season, are the number two seed in the Western Conference. Bettered by only the Chicago Blackhawks’ elite regular season success, the Ducks have positioned themselves for a long playoff run. Coming in with the Western Conference’s second best goals for average (2.79), fifth best goals against average (2.35), and best power play (24.58%), the Ducks are in great position if they can sustain their regular season success.

The best possible omen for the Ducks' success is their matchup with the Blackhawks. Though the Ducks should get to the Western Conference Finals, trying to beat the Blackhawks four times out of seven – without home ice advantage – is a difficult task for any team. The Ducks, however, took all three meetings with the Blackhawks this season, including two in Chicago. Their 9-5 cumulative drubbing of the Blackhawks has to give them confidence that they can make a run to the Stanley Cup Finals.

The Ducks never matched up with the Eastern Conference favorite Pittsburgh Penguins in the strike-shortened regular season. Their ability to put the puck in the back of the net – especially with the man advantage – would give them at least a shot against the Eastern Conference’s elites.

The Ducks will need a combination of goal creation, goal prevention and leadership to make a run. It’s no wonder that their five most important players represent a variety of skills and offer a variety of values to the Ducks. They’ll need to rely on their two offensive superstars, though, to maximize their potential.

Gabe Isaacson is a writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter: @gabeisaacson.

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5. Sheldon Souray

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Gary-A.-Vasquez-USA-TODAY-Sports

Souray offers a veteran presence and will be Jonas Hiller's best friend. Souray is second on the Ducks in average time on ice and was second on the team in PIM. His toughness, experience, and power play efficiency will be valuable during the Ducks' run.

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4. Francois Beauchemin

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Gary-A.-Vasquez-USA-TODAY-Sports

The Ducks' leader in average time on ice, Beauchemin has a great plus/minus and scored one-third of his points on the power play. Having a defenseman who is constantly on the ice and offering value on both offense and defense is a major strength for the Ducks.

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3. Jonas Hiller

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Rick-Osentoski-USA-TODAY-Sports

While the Ducks are an offense-first team, playoff success often comes down to goaltending. Last year, Kings' goaltender Jonathan Quick proved that better than anyone. While the Ducks will primarily rely on their elite scorers, they will need their defensemen to aid Hiller as there will be plenty of close, low-scoring playoff games in the Ducks' future.

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2. Corey Perry

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Gary-A.-Vasquez-USA-TODAY-Sports

Corey Perry was tied for the team lead with 15 goals and led the team with 72 PIM. This is a fascinating combination that perfectly defines Perry's value to the Ducks. Given his ability to lead the team with his toughness and offensive proficiency, his success will be imperative in order for the Ducks to advance this postseason. Perry also led the team with five power play goals.

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1. Ryan Getzlaf

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Sergei-Belski-USA-TODAY-Sports

Getzlaf is the anchor to the Ducks' success. With 15 goals and 34 assists, he is the impetus behind most of their offensive success. With inconsistent goaltending, the Ducks will need their offensive playmakers like Getzlaf and Perry to help them keep up with opponents. Getzlaf's 15 power play points were a huge component to their number one ranked power play.