Scott Niedermayer Returns, Others Added: Ducks '07-'08 Season in Review, Part 1
For the Ducks, the 2007-2008 season was a season of both great accomplishments, and terrible lows. Like the season itself, I will begin in the beginning.
The Ducks lost Teemu Selanne and Scott Niedermayer to retirement. The organization made huge strides to replace them in the line-up, but the effect of losing such leaders was greater than anyone could have expected.
The Ducks picked up Mathieu Schneider to replace Scott Niedermayer, and Todd Bertuzzi to replace Teemu Selanne. Both players had huge shoes to fill, but Schneider proved to be worth the risk as he played like he was born to be on the Ducks blue line.
The offensive-defensemen with veteran experience fit nicely into the lineup. He added some much-needed experience at the beginning of the season, and great depth to the team when Niedermayer returned to the lineup later in the season.
For Bertuzzi, trying to fill the Finnish Flash’s skates was a harder adjustment. Right out of the gate the Ducks stumbled in scoring, and “Big Bert’s” somewhat disappointing season was one of the key factors.
In addition, both Bertuzzi and Schneider added some veteran goal scoring and depth to a team that needed it considering the holes they had to fill. Expect both men to be greatly improved in the lineup this coming season, with or without Selanne and Niedermayer.
One of the biggest roster moves over the course of the season though, was the return of Scott Niedermayer, which inadvertantly dealt the Ducks their biggest black eye.
Due to cap restrictions, for the Ducks to gain back the man that led them to their first Stanley Cup, they had to give someone up—specifically a big name guy worth quite a bit of money. Rumors started circulating that Niedermayer’s replacement, Mathieu Schneider, was on the chopping block. The Ducks organization entered into talks with the St. Louis Blues.
The wheels were put in motion and in a surprising move, Andy McDonald, the Ducks first line center and heart and soul of the team in the past years' playoffs, was traded for Doug Weight, Michael Birner, and a seventh round pick.
Although the Ducks were able to gain a great leader and former Stanley Cup champion, as well as their Captain back, they lost a great scorer in McDonald.
In all fact, Andy had been struggling with the Ducks to find the net. He finished the year having played all 82 games and was a great scorer for the Blues, scoring 36 points in 49 games for them.
In the end, thanks to the change of scenary, it's fair to say Andy came out the winner.
Doug Weight, however, had almost no impact with his new team. If the Ducks thought the Andy Mac trade was good because of cap room, his lack of scoring came back to bite them.
Weight played worse than Andy Mac, and it cost the Ducks a chance to see McDonald grow out of his lack of scoring. Weight never fit in; he will find himself out of Southern California after this past season.
To finish up the major roster news during the season, Teemu Selanne came back to finish out the year. He was basically a point a game player; he made it clear he still had the legs he did when he entered the league.
Come playoff time though, the Ducks couldn't seem to score from a team standpoint, but it was not Selanne’s fault.
The Ducks less notable additions during the season were Marc-Andre Bergeron and Jean Sebastian Aubin.
Defensemen Marc-Andre Bergeron is an exciting addition to the Ducks. At 27, he is young for a defenseman, yet he has experience on the blue line. He has a sturdy type of play to him and will be a great blue-liner for the Ducks.
J.S. Aubin found himself traded often this season, and finally found a home in the Ducks AHL affiliate, the Portland Pirates. Aubin has helped lead the Pirates to the Eastern Conference Finals and fit in with a great tandem in Portland with Mike McKenna and as a great third string goaltender behind Jean-Sebastien Giguere and Jonas Hiller in Anaheim.
The Ducks season began horribly for a defending Stanley Cup Champion, ending October with a 4-7-2 record with 10 points. November would be a sturdier month for the Ducks, increasing their record to 12-11-4 with 28 points. Not a great record, but it was better than October.
December still saw the Ducks struggling to be over 500, as their record increased to 19-17-5 with 43 points. The New Year would see the Ducks improve greatly, to 27-21-6 with 60 points at the end of January. February would be the big month for the Ducks: increasing to 37-23-7 with 81 points. The Ducks would remain hot for the remainder of the season.
They posted a 45-27-8 mark with 98 points for March and won both games in April, finishing with a 47-27-8 record for 102 points. The Ducks would finish the 2007-2008 season fourth in the Western Conference and second in the Pacific Division. For the Ducks, this was a third straight successful season for a playoff berth.
The playoffs would end in agony for the Ducks, losing to Dallas in Game 6. The Ducks, a team that had posted a great home record during the year, would drop games one and two—both at home—to Dallas.
Following their home woes, the Ducks then struggled in special teams and scoring for the remainder of the series.
The Anaheim Ducks are a team that seems poised for another successful regular season and have nothing to hang their heads about. They lost to a much better Dallas team and have added motivation to improve next season with such an early exit this season.
For more Ducks information and updated daily offseason news be sure to check out The Puck Drop: Your Source for Everything Anaheim Ducks.
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