Are This Season's Anaheim Ducks Last Season's Pittsburgh Penguins?

Derek PivkoCorrespondent IJanuary 12, 2010

CHICAGO - JANUARY 10: Jonas Hiller #1 of the Anaheim Ducks is congratulated by teammate Scott Niedermayer #27 after a win over the Chicago Blackhawks at the United Center on January 10, 2010 in Chicago, Illinois. The Ducks defeated the Blackhawks 3-1. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

The Ducks are not used to losing seasons.

The last time the Ducks had a losing season was back in the '03-'04 season when they finished 29-35-10.

Despite a losing record, the Ducks are looking for a successful second half to get them back into the playoff hunt.

The Ducks are used to being one of the top teams in the Pacific Division and with the San Jose Sharks, Phoenix Coyotes, and Los Angeles Kings crowding the division, the Ducks look to shake up the division after finding recent success in January.

The Ducks have two first-ballot Hall of Famers in their lineup in Teemu Selanne and Scott Niedermayer. However, will these legends finish the season in a Ducks uniform?

The reason behind the Selanne and Niedermayer rumors is that they are not getting any younger and the Ducks do not want to rebuild—they want to reload.

When Niedermayer won his fourth Stanley Cup back in 2007 with Anaheim, he almost called it quits. It took 28 games into the '07-'08 season for Niedermayer to return to the Ducks lineup.

That same season, Selanne returned to the Ducks on Jan. 28, 2008 after considering retirement as well.

USA Today reported yesterday that Selanne would waive his no-trade clause if he had the chance to play for a contender. However, that contender might be in Anaheim.

It was reported last week by the Orange County Register that Niedermayer could return to the New Jersey Devils. Anaheim’s General Manager Bob Murray wants his captain to retire in Anaheim, but would Niedermayer sign off on a deal to New Jersey?

Selanne and Niedermayer are not the only names on the trade market in Anaheim. Saku Koivu is another name that could be added to the trade discussion—if the Ducks are out of playoff contention in the next few weeks.

Other names include Todd Marchant, Jean-Sebastien Giguere, and Bobby Ryan.

March 3 is the NHL trade deadline and that day could be circled on the Ducks calendar if they are unable to move into playoff contention in the coming weeks.

After losing the first two games in January, the Ducks have not looked back, as they are currently on a four game winning streak with much thanks to Jonas Hiller, who stopped 125 of 131 shots during the Ducks winning streak.

There is no question that the Ducks have talent.

Remember last season at this point, the Pittsburgh Penguins were 27-25-5 and five points out of the playoffs. The Penguins decided to make a last minute move by firing head coach Michel Therrien and replaced him with Dan Bylsma.

Additionally, the Penguins made last minute moves, including trading Ryan Whitney to the Ducks in exchange for Chirs Kunitz and acquiring Bill Guerin from the New York Islanders.

Pittsburgh became almost unbeatable after the Guerin trade as they were 10-1-2 in March and went on to win the Stanley Cup.

Perhaps the Ducks can model their season around what Pittsburgh did last season? The Ducks are only six points away from eighth place in the Western Conference and with the way the Ducks are playing, nobody wants to play them.

Anaheim is only a trade or two away from haunting the Western Conference.

It will be interesting to see what moves Anaheim makes as they head towards the trade deadline.


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