Anaheim Ducks: 5 Needed Areas of Improvement for 2012-13
It's a bit of a mess for the Anaheim Ducks right now and it's probably going to get worse before it gets better.
With Bobby Ryan on the trading block, Teemu Selanne mulling over retirement and Corey Perry and Ryan Getzlaf set to become the Zach Parise and Ryan Suter of 2013, the Ducks' problems extend far beyond filling a few second- and third-line roster spots.
This team needs to establish a plan of action. They need to improve soon if they want to take advantage of the core they have right now.
Adding some more depth before this coming season will help, but at this point, they aren't giving Perry or Getzlaf a single reason to want to stay in Anaheim.
They need to improve fast. Signing Sheldon Souray and Bryan Allen was a small start. They'll need to do a lot more if they want to compete and keep their team intact.
Here are five points where the Ducks need to improve moving forward.
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Part of the reason for all the trade rumors surrounding Ryan is that he's really Anaheim's only substantial movable asset.
His longer contract is more attractive than Perry and Getzlaf's, and he's all they've got to work with as far as trade bait. Hence, it's understandable from a management point of view why this would happen.
Nonetheless, the Ducks need to do a better job of managing their stars. To have Ryan join the long list of Anaheim players who have been lost for little or nothing is unacceptable.
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Teemu Selanne, if he plays, will probably be playing his last year.
Even if he's still capable of leading the team in scoring (something that shouldn't have happened last year considering Anaheim's talented top line), his age and inevitable retirement will force Anaheim to reduce his role.
The Ducks have a lot of money to spend before they even hit the cap floor. At this point they need to bring some secondary scoring to bolster the top line and back up Selanne.
They need to look at a player like Andrei Kostitsyn or Peter Mueller.
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The signing of Sheldon Souray will help matters some, but his offensive upside isn't nearly as high as Lubomir Visnovsky, who is now with the New York Islanders.
A lot of this also depends on the development of Cam Fowler, who has incredible potential but saw a setback in production during his sophomore year.
The Ducks will also have to take into consideration who will make up their secondary power-play unit, as right now the only real options available to them are Saku Koivu and Andrew Cogliano.
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Now two years removed from his strange vertigo symptoms, Jonas Hiller should finally be back to his All-Star form.
While he had a solid second half last season, he'll need to carry the load all year long for this team, much in the same fashion that Jonathan Quick carried the Kings last year as they struggled to score goals.
If Hiller is healthy, he should be in for a solid year behind what has become a bit of a revamped Anaheim defense.
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This is now fully Bruce Boudreau and Bob Murray's team. Gone are the days of Brian Burke and Randy Carlyle's physically imposing Ducks.
Even with the addition of Souray and Allen, the Ducks are still a smaller, speed-oriented team. They need to take full advantage of that and play to their strengths.
How the Ducks decide to define themselves moving forward will interesting to watch. There's no reason to doubt that Boudreau has a plan up his sleeve.
With an entire season to put it into play, the Ducks might just be able to make some noise in 2013.