Part 2: Ducks Then, Now & The Road Ahead

Posted: 05/02/2011 by bc in Uncategorized

In Part 1, we addressed Bob Murray’s roster from the blueline back. Today we look up top where players acquired and re-acquired date all the way back to the mid-nineties stewardship of GM Jack Ferreria. Nothing speaks more to the stability of this young franchise than Teemu Selanne. Perhaps a way of continuing this stability is by finding a place in the organization for Todd Marchant.

Of course much will depend on Marchant and what he wants to do. Based on his comments about how the Marchant’s think of SoCal as home now, I suspect he’d stay in the org if offered the opportunity. Don’t get me wrong, there’s no doubt T-bone could catch on somewhere just like Rob Niedermayer did a season ago.

This is more about a guy who earned a Stanley Cup ring with our Ducks and served as a key part of the leadership group for six seasons. Marchant also has 16 years of NHL experience, virtually all of it as a role player. Just like Scot Niedermayer can mentor and coach young D-men; there isn’t in this org a man better equipped to mentor and coach our young up and coming forwards.Obviously Teemu Selanne needs time to decide and gear himself up for the commitment of another NHL season. I’d be surprised if he chose this season to retire though. Teemu had too much fun and remains a key contributor.

Other decisions requiring attention are what to do with pending UFA’s Jarkko Ruutu and Brad Winchester. There’s also pending RFA’s Dan Sexton and Kyle Chipchura.

The top two lines appear to be set:

Getzlaf-Ryan-Perry; Koivu-Blake-Selanne.

We need much more goal scoring from Ryan Getzlaf. Two consecutive years under 20 is simply unacceptable from a player with his talent. More is also needed from Saku Koivu and Jason Blake as well. Though I’m not convinced either is capable of more at this point in their careers.

It’s a bit of a stretch to think the McMillan’s, Sexton’s, Belesky’s and Winchester’s are ready to challenge Koivu and Blake for ES/TOI but it is exactly what we need to happen for our Ducks to advance. Nick Bonino, Kyle Palmieri, Devante Smith-Pelley, Peter Holland and Emerson Etem will also get long looks and compete for spots on the depth lines.

George Parros will likely remain as the enforcer. The 4th line and PK units should be improved if Ruutu is resigned.

The good news and something for which Bob Murray deserves genuine credit is that our Ducks are positioned to solve our forward questions from within.

What Murray has built so far is a great first line and a great first unit PP. A solid consistent third line is essential for success in the NHL. Among the first questions analyzed when considering if a team is a genuine Stanley Cup  contender or pretender is depth up front.

A little more success from Koivu and Blake and a consistent third line will go a long way toward keeping Getzlaf and Perry fresh from October through hopefully June.

Next up, Randy Carlyle, the coaching and how the team is organized at ice level.

Note: If this post seems a tad goofy it could be that I’ve been grinning since hearing the news that the cowardly mass murderer Osama bin Ladin was shot through the eye by one of our guys last night. Way2be USA!!!

  1. Nice analysis, even if it is a bit dwarfly compared to Part 1. Anyway, I agree with you about Getzlaf, his scoring should be much higher, it’s time to step it up. Although the injury does have to be partly to blame.

    Also, I sent you an email, I’d be happy to share some tips with you, just email me back, if the email didn’t go through, please tell me. And thanks a ton for the compliment about my blog, I really appreciate it. Unfortunately I haven’t been posted very much recently, I usually post every day, I just haven’t been doing any news and frankly, I’ve been lazy. But I have been busy, though. I’ll be back posting every day (or close to it) in a few days.

    • BackCheck says:

      Dwarfly? LOL. Yeah it is structured poorly. Probably should have tacked it on to part 1. Sorry missed the email news. I do check my junk filter. Could you put BLOG in the subject line?

  2. Also, I forgot to mention, I’d really be interested to post something on you blog from time to time. How does it work? Thanks, and one question, does it have to be Ducks related or just NHL related? Thanks once again.

  3. bbdux93 says:

    And here – finally – is my opportunity to say again Marchant should have been named our captain. Will he play another year – I doubt it, but agree all that he brings to the game should not be overlooked by the Ducks. With people like Todd and Scotty helping to bring along our young players – Look out NHL – we’ll soon be fully loaded and ready to battle again! 🙂

  4. ffe155 says:

    Bill Walsh, the architect of the 49er dynasty, once said that “championships are won by the bottom half of the roster.” IMO, the same rings true in the NHL and the Duck’s challenge is build effective 3rd and 4th lines. I agree with your assessment that there is a lot of young talent in the system that can potentially fill those roles. I’d like to see a veteran brought in to compliment the youngsters. If the Ducks can get 5-10 goals per man off the third line, increased goal production from Getzlaff and Ryan, and 2011 numbers from the Masterton Line the team should be in much better overall offensive shape. A bonus would be 2-3 goals per man off the 4th line.

    McMillian and Belesky have already shown they are capable of putting up 10 or more goals per season at the NHL level. They need to show that they can do it consistently. Palmieri and Bonino need to show that they can reach that level next year.

    The key will be RC allowing the 3rd and 4th lines to develop and I’m not confident that he has the patience to make that happen. 2011/12 will be critical because the Ducks stand to lose the entire Masterton Line at the end of next season. 2011/12 could be an “all in” year in terms of going deep into the playoffs in the immediate future.

    • BackCheck says:

      Hey ffe155 this is not the first time it feels like I just head manned the puck to you. Always fun to read you gather speed through the neutral zone 🙂

      Did Bonino look a foot taller out there or what? Can’t believe that guy hasn’t got a point yet. We have the numbers, McMillan, Belesky, Bonino, Sexton, Palmieri and one of Smith-Pelley or Etem could surprise and move up the depth chart as well.

      Hopefully there is a good Kid Line in that group who can move up together in a year and provide the secondary scoring when Koivu or Blake are struggling.

      We definitely could be looking to replace the Masterton Line especially if CBA negotiations force a lockout or walkout.

  5. jenelynrusso says:

    What do you think about the idea that has been tossed around of trading Bobby for a #1D?

    • BackCheck says:

      Hey Jenelyn Russo,

      If we’re talking Bobby Ryan for a signed Shea Weber or Duncan Keith, then yeah I’d do it. That isn’t going to happen though.

      The only #1 D-man who’s name pops up on the gossip girls sites is Minnesota’s Brent Burns. Jeez Jen, that’s a tough one. Burns is a heckuva hockey player. I don’t like trades where you weaken one area to improve in another, unless it’s a huge upgrade.

      Remember the Progner deal? It was supposed to make us better upfront. Instead we traded the forward we got for a D-man we let walk as a UFA. Two years later we still haven’t replaced Pronger.

      The guy who intrigues me is Hurricanes pending UFA Joni Pitkanen. Obviously, we could get the Big Fin without it costing a player. He’s never really lived up to his potential and billing BUT…he’s had four 40+ point seasons including 13 goals in 2005-06, is known for having a bit of a mean streak and his ATOI last season was 25:01. Plus, turning 28 in September, Pitkanen is just entering his peak years as an athlete.

      Ironically the knock on Burns is similar to Pitkanen. Each is said to be inconsistent.

      • jenelynrusso says:

        Thanks for your insight. I don’t have any proposed trades in mind. I’d like him to stay. I think the argument is that we would not be weakening any areas if he were traded. We have enough forward depth (maybe too many of them) and his hole could be filled easily with what we have. What do you think about that? Obviously going UFA would be best. I think I’m more concerned about the goalie situation. I have a feeling Hiller isn’t going to get any better. Then what?

  6. bbdux93 says:

    About Fowler QB the PP – wow, that’s a tall order. . . I think he has the “tools” and he seems to be ahead of the curve in his development – but – he seemed to struggle in the play-offs. Someone with experience playing or watching the game longer than I, would have to comment on why that might be.

    Next, is it a good idea to put that much pressure on someone who will just turn 20 next season – I’d really be hesitant to start the year that way. Maybe make an assessment of his maturity and development mid-season – move him forward in a slow – steady increase in responsibility.

    • BackCheck says:

      Hey bbdux93

      Way back in my youth, a priest told me. “For every ability there is a corresponding responsibility.” That one has niggled me for years. People with special talent need to be challenged. It is after all the 2nd PP unit where production is a bonus, not a requirement.

      What really concerns about Fowler’s game is the tendency to rely on skill. Especially in one on one situations where he’ll go for the puck instead of taking the man. he got away with that all the way up to the NHL but he won’t survive relying on skill alone in the NHL.

  7. BackCheck says:

    Hey Jenelyn,

    Insight? Jeez you guys blow smoke up my kilt, lol. I’ve heard the theory too but don’t understand who’s going to replace Bobby Ryan’s 30+ goals, PK and We do have forward depth IF the kids continue improving and stay injury free. I love Bonino and Sexton. They appear to have some tools but you can’t argue for either based upon the results. McMillan is a good 2 way player. The rest come in with high hopes. So no, I wouldn’t ask any of them to replace Bobby Ryan. There’s a reason Ryan earned a $25 million 5 year contract. Guys like him don’t grow on trees.

    All we can do is wait and hope for Hiller. We have this two month window for the doc’s to isolate the cause of his vertigo and treat it.

  8. czhokej says:

    Our first line looked great on paper, but not always on the ice. Only Perry showed a significant improvement. B. Ryan improved in some areas of his game, but I expected him to do more of what Corey P. showed so many times. That’s how the goals are scored! In some games, Bobby was also invisible (injury?). All of us agree about Getzy, he would need Marchant’s heart. Moreover, he needs to learn to read the game better, and RC should tell him that his tendency (or want) to be a passer (most of the time) is detrimental to the productivity of the whole line. Again, Getz should learn from Perry where to go and what to do around the crease. There were games when our top line played a great hockey, but I still believe that Ryan is not the best fit with Getz, and that putting our three best players on one line makes it easier for the opposition. Eventhough I admire Marchant’s spirit, effort and determination, he is only useful on PK. His one goal and -18 is not good enough. The whole season we were trying to find good combos for the 3rd and 4th line – too many changes, no stability. We did not develop a checking line, which would neutralize the best scorers of the other teams. Aging Koivu, Blake and Teemu did not disappoint, but could not carry the load.

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