Could Anaheim be the next representative from the West?
The Anaheim Ducks have stocked up this offseason. *Sure they lost one of the best defensemen in the NHL in Chris Pronger, but in case you didn’t notice, they have been loading up on top 6 forward talent.
With the signing of Saku Koivu today as well as the acquisition of Joffery Lupul in the Pronger trade, the Ducks have 6 legitimate 20 goal scorers in their lineup. *Look at this top 6 (not in their correct positions I know)
Ryan – Getzlaf – Perry
Lupul – Koivu – Selanne
Thats not even taking in guys like Erik Christensen (who can bury the puck, he probably has one of the best wrist shots in the league that no one knows about) or Andrew Ebbet who had 32 points last year.
And to think that the Pronger trade may have hurt their defensive corps. *It still is very dangerous especially offensively
Led by Scott Niedermayer, the Ducks defensive corps may be the most offensively potent defense in the NHL. If Ryan Whitney can start putting the puck in the net like he did with the Penguins, he could be a legitimate threat especially on the power play. *Young James Wisniewski, acquired in a trade with Chicago is an up and coming blue liner that I am very high on and I think he’ll have a break out year this year. *Bret Hedican is a stay at home defensemen to finish out the top 4 d. *Lucas Sbisa acquired in the Pronger trade was the Flyers first round pick last year and has great potential to have some impact on the Ducks in the coming seasons, expecting him to even be in the lineup this year though, might be a stretch.
Then comes goaltending, and this is where the Ducks seperate themselves from the pack in the West.
Jonas Hiller really proved himself in the playoffs this year and he will likely go into the 2009-10 season as the Ducks #1 goalie. *However, don’t write off Jean-Sebastian Giguere just yet. *He is a Stanley Cup and Conn Smythe winning goaltender and *not only will *he be more than a serviceable backup but he willchallenge Hiller for the #1 spot in Anaheim. *This will allow coach Randy Carlye to rest both goalies throughout the year, get hiller 50 games, and get Giguere 30 or so, keep both goalies fresh for the playoffs.
The Ducks have one of the best core groups together in the NHL and I think that they will be the next representative of the Western Conference in the Stanley Cup Finals.
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