The Anaheim Ducks were the second great disappointment out of the Western Conference during these Stanley Cup Playoffs, heading to the golf course after being eliminated in Game 7 against the Detroit Red Wings. The first great one was the Vancouver Canucks, as is a custom of the spring.
The Ducks only lost one regulation game against the Red Wings in their Western Conference Quarterfinal matchup, but in the postseason, that doesn’t mean anything. They lost the decisive Game 7 on home ice and will now be forced to watch the remainder of the playoffs from home.
It was a great season, regardless, for the Ducks, who managed to go from one of the three worst teams in the West all the way up to the no. 2 spot. Of course, many regarded them as a fluke for a variety of different reasons, most of which centered around the fact that this was a shortened season.
Is it fair to call the Ducks’ season a fluke? There were critics all season long, they had to be there for a reason right? Not quite. While it is true that it was a pretty large disappointment for the Ducks, given the expectations that come with a no. 2 seed, what they did during the season shouldn’t be dismissed.
This team is a legitimate Stanley Cup contender. They have the likes of Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry, the latter of which was awful in this series. Add Bobby Ryan, Francois Beauchemin, and Cam Fowler to a very impressive core. Emerson Etem will be a star before long. They have solid role players around them all as well.
This team also dealt with a variety of injury issues, almost none of which came out until after they were eliminated. Beauchemin played on a torn ACL in the postseason. Nick Bonino suffered a torn hamstring and didn’t return until the postseason.
The Ducks are a team set for a couple of potential Cup runs within the next couple of seasons. They’re not a perfect club, as their goaltending isn’t always the greatest and they could use some depth in certain areas, but there is no reason to think that the success they experienced during the 2013 regular season was anything but the real thing.