The Anaheim Ducks are widely considered to be a power in the Western Conference, something verified by their finishing as the Pacific Division champion and grabbing the no. 2 seed for the postseason. But this is a far from perfect team despite all that. In fact, they may have some pretty big questions along the blue line moving forward.
The 2013 season saw the Ducks finish as one of the better defensive clubs in the game. They finished 11th in the league in goals against per game, while allowing just over 27 shots per game, good for ninth in the league. But while those numbers are solid, the age of their blue line has to be a concern.
Despite their current status as one of the Western Conference’s best, the Ducks do have some questions as far as their organizational depth is concerned. Those questions mostly reside on the blue line, where the Ducks aren’t especially deep. And with an aging core of defenseman, that has to be something of a concern.
The average age of the Ducks’ defensemen is up at right about 30. Right now, Anaheim has only three defenseman on the roster that are under the age of 29. Several key members of their blue line, including Sheldon Souray (36), Bryan Allen (32), Toni Lydman (35), and even Francois Beauchemin (33) are at the point, or almost to the point, where age is going to start becoming a concern.
Obviously, the Ducks have a couple of very solid young defenseman on the current roster, including Cam Fowler, who is a future franchise defenseman for this team, and Luca Sbisa. But addressing the age of the blue line is certainly something the Ducks should have looked at in this summer’s draft, though they did not.
The Ducks aren’t in a position where they absolutely need to get younger on the blue line immediately. They have a year or two before it truly starts to become a concern. But now is the time to begin to gradually build up that organizational depth, in order to avoid a big let down on defense within the next few years.