Let the tryouts begin

Posted: 09/18/2011 by bc in Uncategorized
Tags: , , , ,

Our Anaheim Ducks 2011-12 edition include 19 returning players from last season. This isn’t surprising for a team that took major strides last season after missing the playoffs entirely in 2009-10. Stability brings familiarity and  hopefully, as Bobby Ryan noted, a change in focus, “My spot is here. Now that I’m not focusing on something new, I can focus on the little things I need to do to become a better left winger for Getz and Pears.”

It’s always about the little things. The details. The hours of practice training the body to do something a little different. The rethinking involved in determining exactly when to execute the change.

Andrew Cogliano, Kurtis Foster and Matt Smaby represent those little things that could have a big impact on our Ducks this season.The competition for jobs is already fierce as exhibited by Jason Blake at the first day of camp. Blakey put his best abrasive side forward. The wily vet laid a challenge to everyone looking to take his spot alongside the Finn Twins. Beginning with Cogliano, there’s no shortage of natural left wingers vying for a shot with the big club. Branden McMillan, Patrick Maroon and Mark Bell figure to be given a look. Matt Belesky is still recovering from surgery and will likely start the season in Syracuse.

Devante Smith-Pelley was expected to get a shot but he’s already been tagged as lazy. Who does this kid think he is, Ryan Getzlaf? Fact is, Smith-Pelley won’t earn much if he doesn’t show some energy and passion. Randy Carlyle doesn’t accept lazy.

Ducks first two lines are set down the middle and on the right side. On the depth lines the only spot set is 4th line RW, where enforcer George Parros will patrol the lane on most nights.

Third line center and wings are likely to be determined by who wins the competition for the remaining for the top six spot. There’s no shortage of guys vying for depth line spots. Dan Sexton, Andrew Gordon and Kyle Palmieri are the early RW favorites. Again this was Smith-Pelley’s spot to lose and it appears as of right now that he’s already lost it. This isn’t to say Devante can’t get back in the mix but he has to show more than he has so far. Simply put, he has to show he wants it.

The wild card is Long Beach native Emerson Etem. An ugly skater with a heart and battle as big as a house Double E scores the ugly goals. If you like how Corey Perry and Branden McMillan go to the net and battle, you’ll love Emerson Etem. The question is Etem’s development. Are we and he better off to let him develop in Syracuse for a year or toss him into the show?

Injuries to Toni Lydman and Kurtis Foster afford early opportunities for other guys make a statement. It isn’t likely that any of them will break our top eight of Visnovsky, Lydman, Beauchemin, Fowler, Sbisa, Brookbank, Smaby and Foster. There is plenty of young talent in the system. Mat Clark, Jake Newton, Sami Vatanen and Justin Shultz are at least a year away though. Meanwhile, vets Brian Rodney, Mathieu Carle and Nate Guenin remain ahead of the kids on our Ducks depth chart.

The net belongs to Jonas Hiller with Dan Ellis as the backup. Nobody else is impressing anyone.

  1. Trevor Betts says:

    Can Matt Beleskey start in Syracuse? I think he is on a one way contract for this season, how do those exactly work?

    • BackCheck says:

      Hey Trevor, welcome to the board. Belly is on a one way contract which means he is paid the same in the AHL as he is in the NHL. Players on one way contracts usually have to go through waivers when moving between leagues but there is an exception for a conditioning stint when a player is returning from injury.

      Last season, Ray Emery came to our Ducks via Syracuse on a conditioning stint exception.

  2. Trevor Betts says:

    Ok thanks for the info, I forgot about the Emery situation.

  3. Speaking of Emery, did he get signed by Chicago? I haven’t heard anything about him recently.

    • BackCheck says:

      Emery is still working on his tryout contract in Chicago. During last night’s game Ducks radio hosts Steve Carrol and Dan Wood mentioned Razor Ray is doing well and might win the starting job. He left last night’s game against Edmonton with a 2-1. Oilers eventually won 4-2. His main com0paetition Alexander Salak let 3 get behind him and took the loss. Advantage Emery.

      Letting Emery walk was one of the decisions that could really come back and bite.

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