The Anaheim Ducks recently re-signed superstar forward Teemu Selanne to a one year, $3.25 million dollar contract. Selanne will rejoin fellow countryman Saku Koivu on the Ducks second line. There is still much speculation as to who will be the left wing on the second line.
Joffrey Lupul - Last season Lupul was traded to the Ducks from Philadelphia for Chris Pronger, a key player in the Ducks Stanley Cup victory in 2007. Lupul saw playing time on Anaheim’s first and second lines, but he was soon hampered by back problems and was only able to contribute ten goals in 23 games played. While Lupul could take another chance at playing on the left side on the second lines, his injury problems may see him sidelined for a good part of this season as well.
Dan Sexton – Scoring two goals in your third game in the NHL is always a great way to start a career, but can Sexton bring back his scoring touch from earlier last season? Sexton scored six goals and three assists in his first twelve games, but soon found it harder to put up points at this level. Sexton was sent back down to the minors for all except the tail end of the season. Can Sexton now prove that he’s ready for a full NHL season with the Ducks?
Jason Blake – Acquired from Toronto last season for fan favorite goalie Jean-Sebastien Giguere, Blake spent the remainder of his season on the second and third line. Though Blake is seemingly overpaid for the amount of numbers he puts up, he does bring a great work ethic that is seen every shift he is on the ice. There have been rumors of the Ducks looking to move Blake (possibly to Edmonton for Souray in return) due to his large contract.
Paul Kariya – The former Anaheim Mighty Ducks captain from 1996 – 2003 could be returning to Southern California thanks to the referral by Teemu Selanne. Fans do not all share Selanne’s feelings on bringing Kariya back. Many fans have still not forgiven Kariya for not resigning with the Mighty Ducks after their magical trip to the Stanley Cup Finals in 2003. However, if Kariya and Selanne can find the ability to put up points like they did in the past, many fans might be willing to forgive him.
Who do you want to see alongside Saku and Teemu?
Anaheim is also looking to bolster the defensive corps, though Bob Murray has also recently stated that he would feel safe going into training camp with the group he currently has. Anaheim has acquired Toni Lydman, an unrestricted free agent who played for Buffalo last season. Andy Sutton has also been brought in to bring back some physicality to the blue line. Look for Lubomir Visnovsky to provide a good amount of scoring for the Ducks defenseman and to contribute on the power play.
Finally, the Ducks also have Sheldon Brookbank on their roster, look for Brookbank to fill a 5-6 slot on the back end. This line up leaves 3 spots open on the blue line if the Ducks go with 7 defensemen as they have in years past. Who else within the organization or outside of it can fill those voids?
Luca Sbisa – First acquired by Philadelphia in the 2008 Entry Draft, Sbisa was chosen 19th overall in the first round and was expected to be a puck moving defenseman for the Flyers. Sbisa was then traded to the Ducks with Joffrey Lupul in exchange for Chris Pronger. Sbisa played eight games for the Ducks before being sent back down to the minors. With another year of minor league play under his belt, is Sbisa ready to move up and become a full time defenseman in the NHL?
Danny Syvret – In 2005, Syvret entered the NHL with the Edmonton Oilers, but since then he has only played in a total of 49 NHL games. Last season, Syvret played 21 games for the Flyers and tallied two goals and two assists. Syvret did play with Ducks winger Corey Perry on the London Knights and that may give him the incentive he needs to make the jump to become a full time NHL player.
Brendan Mikkelson – Selected 31st overall by the Ducks in the 2005 Entry Draft, Mikkelson has yet to prove that he has the abilities to be an NHL defenseman. In two seasons with the Ducks, Mikkelson has played in 62 games and has yet to score a goal, but has notched 4 assists. With spots open on the back end, this could be Mikkelson’s biggest chance yet to prove himself.
Brett Festerling – In 82 games played with the Ducks in two NHL seasons Festerling has acquired 8 assists, but could be considered to be a more defensively sound option for the Ducks. Though he is not expected to put up any big numbers, he is responsible in his own end and that might be enough for the Ducks this year.
Marc Andre Bergeron – While Bergeron isn’t known to be the most defensively sound player in the league, he brings one of the hardest shots to whatever team he plays for. Bergeron’s shot has been clocked at 103.5 mph, for that reason alone he can be a useful weapon for any team he plays for.
So what are your opinions? Will Dan Sexton be able to gain a full time roster spot this season or will Paul Kariya be back for one more run with the Ducks? Let us know what you think in the comments section below. Thanks for reading and let’s go Ducks!