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Ducks TV Announcer John Ahlers Previews the 2013-14 Ducks Season

This season figures to be once again all about depth, and the Ducks have plenty of it

Monday, 09.23.2013 / 5:28 PM / News
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Ducks TV Announcer John Ahlers Previews the 2013-14 Ducks Season
Despite a truncated 48-game regular season in 2013, most NHL clubs used between 30 and 35 players, with some exceeding that total. So to overstate the obvious, the upcoming 2013-14 season will be about depth, an area in which the Anaheim Ducks appear to be flush.
By John Ahlers
Ducks TV Play-by-Play Announcer

Despite a truncated 48-game regular season in 2013, most NHL clubs used between 30 and 35 players, with some exceeding that total. So to overstate the obvious, the upcoming 2013-14 season will be about depth, an area in which the Anaheim Ducks appear to be flush.

It starts up front, where training camp is primarily about five players vying for two to three spots. Down the middle the Ducks have veterans Ryan Getzlaf, coming off a stellar campaign a year ago and Saku Koivu, the 38-year-old who settled nicely to a third line role that saw him often promoted to the second line. Nick Bonino’s late season return from injury helped lay claim to the pivot on the second unit, leaving a battle for the fourth line center’s spot between former first round picks Peter Holland and Rickard Rakell.

On left wing there appears to be opportunity among the ranks. Offseason free agent signee Dustin Penner returns for his second twirl in Anaheim and hopes to rekindle the ’07 magic he experienced playing with Getzlaf and Corey Perry. For starters at least, it seems Bruce Boudreau is willing to give him that chance.

Selanne, playing what he says is his final year, is part of a deep corps of right wingers.

On the second line, another newcomer to O.C. will get a look. Former Ottawa Senator Jakob Silfverberg, acquired in the trade that sent Bobby Ryan to Ottawa, will have to play his off wing to make it work, as the 22-year-old right hand shot looks to build on a solid rookie year. Meanwhile, Andrew Cogliano is coming off perhaps his finest NHL season. The speedy and durable Toronto native meshed well with Koivu a year ago and is a reliable option on any line. Matt Beleskey regained his scoring touch in ’13 and showed quite useful versatility, while hulking Patrick Maroon rounds out the group bringing goal-scoring upside and NHL size.

Right wing should prove to be an explosive position for the Ducks. Former Hart Trophy winner Corey Perry will once again anchor the first line with his twin, Getzlaf. Ageless wonder Teemu Selanne, who has declared this season will be his last, will begin the season on the second line. If “the Flash” doesn’t play back-to-back games and takes the odd night off, there will be plenty of options to move into the top six.

Kyle Palmieri has been a goal-scorer everywhere he’s played and proved last season that the NHL will be on that list. Emerson Etem made great strides a year ago with his freight train-like speed and a desire that’s hard to ignore. A left-hand shot, Etem could find ample opportunity on left wing if he can find a comfort level on that side. Daniel Winnik returns as an interesting option, as the left-hand-shooting winger played right wing a year ago and is being auditioned as a possible fourth line center in camp. Third-year man Devante Smith-Pelly hopes to regain the touch he enjoyed his rookie season and stick with the big club – and not just on a part-time basis. Finally, Brad Staubitz appears to have the inside track at providing muscle on the wing.

Fowler is among the blueliners expecting added responsibility this season with some early injuries at that position.

The defense was dealt an early blow with the offseason training injury to Sheldon Souray, but one man gathers what another man spills. In other words, opportunity abounds on the blueline. While Francois Beauchemin has come back from offseason knee surgery that followed the finest season of his career, he may not be 100% at the season’s outset. So, added responsibility will be in order for the likes of Cam Fowler, Luca Sbisa, Bryan Allen and Ben Lovejoy. Lovejoy inked a new deal in the offseason, rewarding a solid campaign after coming over from the Penguins at midseason. Fowler and Sbisa now enter their fourth and sixth seasons respectively, armed with more experience, while Allen possesses the veteran stay-at-home presence.

Dynamic Sami Vatanen showed promise following a late season call-up and could add a new wrinkle as a right-hand shot on the power play. Free agent Mark Fistric will add grit and physicality, as the former Star and Oiler was signed immediately following the injury to Souray. First round selection from 2012 Hampus Lindholm could be the recipient of a longer look at camp due to the numbers game on the blueline as well.

Hiller and Fasth figure to compete again for time in net.

Not much has changed in goal, as the riches abound between the pipes for Anaheim. After Jonas Hiller and Viktor Fasth each claimed 15 victories in 2013, Hiller won the playoff net. If Fasth again posts similar form, it could be interesting, to say the least. Waiting in the organizational wings is big Frederik Andersen, who gave great confidence to the team’s brass with a tremendous year in AHL Norfolk, and highly regarded prospect John Gibson.

The full NHL calendar is commonly known as a marathon, not a sprint, and while the rosters are locked at 23 on any given day, everyone knows you must go much deeper than that to succeed.

With that in mind, the Ducks appear have the horses to do just that.

SCHEDULE

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS

WESTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 z - ANA 82 54 20 8 266 209 116
2 y - COL 82 52 22 8 250 220 112
3 x - STL 82 52 23 7 248 191 111
4 x - SJS 82 51 22 9 249 200 111
5 x - CHI 82 46 21 15 267 220 107
6 x - LAK 82 46 28 8 206 174 100
7 x - MIN 82 43 27 12 207 206 98
8 x - DAL 82 40 31 11 235 228 91
9 PHX 82 37 30 15 216 231 89
10 NSH 82 38 32 12 216 242 88
11 WPG 82 37 35 10 227 237 84
12 VAN 82 36 35 11 196 223 83
13 CGY 82 35 40 7 209 241 77
14 EDM 82 29 44 9 203 270 67

STATS

2013-2014 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
R. Getzlaf 77 31 56 28 87
C. Perry 81 43 39 32 82
N. Bonino 77 22 27 14 49
M. Perreault 69 18 25 13 43
A. Cogliano 82 21 21 13 42
C. Fowler 70 6 30 15 36
K. Palmieri 71 14 17 9 31
D. Winnik 76 6 24 6 30
H. Lindholm 78 6 24 29 30
S. Koivu 65 11 18 3 29
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
F. Andersen 20 5 0 .923 2.29
J. Hiller 29 13 7 .911 2.48
 

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