NHL Trade Deadline: Are the Anaheim Ducks Now a Playoff Team?

James CriderCorrespondent IFebruary 28, 2011

ANAHEIM, CA - FEBRUARY 25:  Goaltender Dan Ellis #38 of the Anaheim Ducks can't make a save on a shot by John Madden (not pictured) of the Minnesota Wild in the first period at Honda Center on February 25, 2011 in Anaheim, California. The Wild defeated the Ducks 3-2 in overtime.  (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)
Jeff Gross/Getty Images

As the dust settles on an NHL-wide two-week trading frenzy, the Ducks find themselves with a beefed up blue-line thanks to the re-acquisition of defenseman Francois Beauchemin and more forward depth in left wingers Jarkko Ruutu and Brad Winchester.

Tragically, they also find themselves with two new goaltenders in Dan Ellis and Ray Emery.

Due to headaches and dizziness, All-Star goaltender Jonas Hiller has missed the past six games. In that span, the Ducks have gone 1-4-1 while allowing a mind boggling 29 goals, most of which with now-Ottawa Senators goaltender Curtis McElhinney in net.

Hiller, who ranks second among Western Conference goaltenders in saves, has covered up the mistakes of a penalty-prone Anaheim Ducks team, which ranks near the bottom of the NHL in face-off percentage this season.

Without him, the Ducks are on life support.

A thin, sometimes mistake-prone blue line has improved with the addition of Beauchemin, but not to the point where they'll be likely to achieve a great deal of success with their current goaltending tandem.

Dan Ellis, who the Ducks acquired from the Tampa Bay Lightning for McElhinney, looks to be the go-to guy for now.

He's split his first two games with the club, but has looked shaky at best. If he can't find a level of consistency, the Ducks will then turn to Ray Emery, who hasn't played an NHL game in nearly a calender year due to hip surgery.

Anaheim's playoff hopes hinge solely on their new goaltending tandem. Even if Hiller returns inside of the next two weeks, the Ducks may be out of the playoff picture if they don't get consistent goaltending immediately.

The Ducks sit 11th in the Western Conference, but trail the seventh place Minnesota Wild by only one point.