By their own standards, Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry took a step backwards during the 2011-2012 season. Even if stats don't tell the whole story, they tell most of it, especially for offensive players like Getzlaf and Perry.
After hitting 98 points and taking home the Hart Trophy as the league MVP, Perry dipped to 60 points in 80 games, marking his first decline in point production since joining the Ducks in 2005.
Likewise, Getzlaf dropped from 76 points a season before to only 57 points and 11 goals. Even for a pass-first player like Getzlaf, 11 goals is under-performing for a forward of his talent level.
While Getzlaf and Perry aren't the first players to fall into a slump, it was certainly a noticeable drop for both of them, and was part of the reason for Anaheim's atrociously slow start to the 2011-2012 campaign.
If the Ducks are going to right the ship next season and compete in a stacked Western Conference, they need these two players to generate offense at their full potential.
We have a few reasons to believe they'll bounce back in 2013.
Getzlaf and Perry will both be at the end of their current contracts with the Ducks after next season, and will become unrestricted free agents if not re-signed by Anaheim before then. Regardless of whether or not they're planning on staying with the Ducks or testing the market, their value will be largely determined by their performance in their final contract year.
If they need further motivation, this is it. Getzlaf and Perry get paid for offense, and while the consensus is that they're just hitting their prime, another underwhelming season would lower their stock significantly.
Lack of Secondary Scoring
The Ducks at this point are looking increasingly one-dimensional. Assuming Teemu Selanne's retirement, Anaheim would be depending on a mix of depth forwards and farm system hopefuls to fill out its second line.
While it's possible that Kyle Palmieri and Peter Holland could have breakout years, you have to assume that the greater share of offensive responsibility will fall to Anaheim's first line. It could be argued that this could either benefit the Ducks, or hinder their ability to produce.
Being counted on for more production would mean more ice time for Getzlaf and Perry, regardless of how much Bruce Boudreau wants to "spread out" his scoring. Right now he just doesn't have the pieces to do it, thus most of the goals will come from Anaheim's bigger offensive guns.
The Bobby Ryan Factor
For the time being, it seems as though the chatter surrounding a possible Bobby Ryan trade has been completely silenced, which is good news for Ducks fans. Ryan has been one of the most consistent pieces of Anaheim's offense, good for 30 goals in each of his first four seasons.
Having him on the Ducks' first line and power play makes life easier and more productive for Getzlaf and Perry. Even if Boudreau decides to move him around to other lines, his presence on the team makes the Ducks offense more palatable and effective.
Predicting whether or not Getzlaf and Perry can pick things up after a slow year isn't an exact science, and it's equally difficult to tell how the lockout and a possible canceled season will affect them.
Though the Ducks still possess one of the most talented first lines in the league, with a newly minted offensive-minded coach in Boudreau. In respect to that talent level, it would be more surprising to see them continue to come in under the 50- to 60-point bracket.
If I were a betting man, I'd be putting my money on Getzlaf and Perry to make another run at 80 and 100 points, respectively.