NHL Free Agency 2012: Who the Anaheim Ducks Could Target

Bobby Kittleberger@robertwilliam9Correspondent IJune 22, 2012

NHL Free Agency 2012: Who the Anaheim Ducks Could Target

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    The Anaheim Ducks have not been the most active participants when it comes to the spending frenzy that is the NHL's free-agency period. This offseason could be different, though, as Anaheim has several pending vacancies that will need to be filled and a healthy amount of cap space with which to do so.

    Aside from filling in roster spots, general manager Bob Murray has publicly stated that he wants the team to get bigger up front, which could indicate his willingness to go after players who will increase the overall strength and physicality of his team.

    If this is true, we can make some entertaining (and educated) guesses about who Anaheim will target during this year's free-agency period. Here is a list of possibilities.

Ryan Smyth

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    If he's willing to take a pay cut, Ryan Smyth might be just what the doctor ordered for Anaheim's second or third line.

    He's a big, physical body who can put up points and would be an excellent compliment to either Saku Koivu or Andrew Cogliano.

    Signing the 36-year-old would probably indicate that the Ducks are trying to win now and keep the post-Selanne years out of their minds.

Dustin Penner

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    He would be a younger, possibly more-affordable version of Smyth, though odds are he would be the Ducks' second choice of the two.

    It's uncertain whether or not he's interested in re-signing with the Kings, though if he is available, he's exactly the type of player that Murray is looking for in terms of size and play style.

    It's also worth mentioning that his career started quite successfully in Anaheim and hasn't been the same since. Perhaps returning to a Ducks jersey could help get his form back.

Brad Boyes

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    Brad Boyes hasn't seen much success in a Sabres jersey, though he has proven to be capable of regular 60-point seasons in the past.

    If he can return to even a shadow of his previous form, he would be useful to the Ducks in a third- or second-line role. Maybe playing on a line with Bobby Ryan would kick-start him in the right direction.

Matt Carle

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    Matt Carle is coming off a solid year for Philadelphia. If Anaheim can lure him in, he would be a nice addition to some of Anaheim's younger defenders.

    Luca Sbisa got his start with the Flyers, so pairing him with Carle might make sense. Even if the Ducks focus on defense in the draft, having the experience of Matt Carle could really solidify what they are trying to do defensively.

Zach Parise

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    Set to be the most sought-after free-agent forward of the year, Zach Parise won't be an easy (or cheap) target. Although, if the Ducks decide they want to spend, having Parise on the top line with Corey Perry is a worthy goal.

    Part of the sense here is that it would free up Bobby Ryan to play a line down and anchor the Ducks' secondary scoring. Anaheim didn't have an easy time putting pucks in the net last year, and Parise would certainly be a step toward fixing that.

    Perry and Ryan Getzlaf, who both had relatively unremarkable seasons last year, could certainly benefit from the offensive jolt a player of Parise's caliber would bring.