The Anaheim Ducks didn’t quite receive the publicity of the red-hot Chicago Blackhawks during their 2013 NHL campaign, but certainly impressed in their own right by earning the Western Conference’s No. 2 seed. Unfortunately their first-round upset at the hands of the seventh-seeded Detroit Red Wings will wash away all their good work in the sands of time.
That doesn’t mean a look back at the past few months doesn’t produce plenty of good building blocks moving forward for this promising Ducks squad.
“We believe some of our inexperienced guys are going to get better and play bigger roles,” Ducks Coach Bruce Boudreau said, via the team website. “At this stage, [Kyle] Palmieri’s first year was pretty adequate but we think he can be better. Emerson Etem really came on at the end and we think he’s going to be better. Matt Beleskey is going to be better. Cam Fowler struggled a little bit in the beginning but at the end, he was as good as he’s ever been.
“Guys like that being better are a big part of the team being better. And there are other guys. We look for Devante Smith-Pelly to really bounce back. After a good first year and mediocre happenings in the second year, we think he’s still a really big part of this future. It’s up to them to be that way. Patrick Maroon showed a lot in the 12 or 14 games he played. Peter Holland did a lot of good things. Our young guys are really going to push the incumbents into being a better team.”
The goaltender spot may just get even better in 2013-2014 too, with Dwayne Roloson taking over an assistant role overseeing an excellent netminding tandem in All-Star Jonas Hiller and Viktor Fasth.