As discussed with czhokej, the Dustin Penner signing certainly changes the on ice look of our Ducks. Pancake fell out of favor during his time in Edmonton and L.A. He sat with down with GM Bob Murray and gave acceptable point by point explanations for how his career nose-dived following his departure from Anaheim via offer sheet during the summer of 2007.

Wow, was that really six years ago? During those ensuing years Ducks tried a succession of guys, including Todd Bertuzzi, Evgeny Artyukhin, Brad Winchester, Jarkko Ruutu and of course Bobby Ryan. Only Ryan surpassed Penner in offense. None of those ever replaced him as a complete power forward package.

If Penner washes out here as he did in Edmonton and L.A., he unceremoniously slides down the depth chart until he’s a healthy scratch, gets waived or is part of a trade. At $2m for one year, Pancake doesn’t represent a big investment or risk.

Should Honda Center prove to be Dustin Penner’s happy place, lookout cookout as John Ahlers likes to say. Pancake returns to our Ducks with the respect and affection of team leaders Ryan Getzlaf, Corey Perry and Francois Beauchemin, all his teammates from the Cup team. He doesn’t enter the room in a getting to know everybody mode.

Notice though that while Penner has their respect and affection, he’ll have to earn their trust. To do that he must produce.

Here’s a capsulized look at our Ducks lines and pairings with the current roster.

Getzlaf-Penner-Perry/Fowler-Lovejoy: Can’t imagine Gabby will put the Souray-Beauchemin out there with the top line. The Big Dogs are already arguably the slowest top line in the NHL. Jeez, a five man unit where Beauchemin is the fastest skater? Not likely. Lovejoy is very questionable in a top 2 defender role.

Bonino-Silfverberg-Etem/Souray-Beauchemin: Obviously this should be posted in pencil as it is subject to change. Bones will be challenged by Holland, Silfverberg by Palmieri and Etem by Teemu Selanne, if Flash returns. No certainty Souray is a lock for top four ES-TOI either.

Koivu-Winnick-Cogliano/Allen-Sbisa: The checking line is likely set for a return engagement. Sbisa will be challenged and maybe dropped a notch or two down the depth chart in favor of Vatanen and/or Lindholm.

Holland-Palmieri-Beleskey: Look like the leading candidates for fourth line duty. Rakell could slip past Holland. Palmieri might be traded. Beleskey seems like the only one we can ink in. Devante Smith-Pelley could challenge Beleskey but Coach likes my Homey and envisions an envisions a larger role for Matt.

It’s crowded between the pipes as Hiller, Fasth, Andersen and Gibson will each get a good look and eval from our Ducks brain trust.

Intangibles and possible surprises:

At select-a-seat Gabby described Nick Bonino as a very hard-working hockey player. Bones may lose his spot on the depth chart but somebody will have to beat him out of it.

– Again, Dustin Penner enjoyed his best season in the NHL as a center. Both he and Silfverberg could be options. Peter Holland, Rickard Rakell and Andrew Cogliano are also in the mix. Long shot Antoine Laganiere impressed me at conditioning camp.

– Cam Fowler did everything but light it up last season. His break through year should come in one of the next two seasons.

– Another significant trade could come at any time after the brain trust determines that we need an upgrade. Likely positions are 2nd line center and top 4 D.

– With Bobby Ryan traded, our new odd Duck appears to be Kyle Palmieri. He’s been given a qualifying offer. Ducks don’t have to negotiate with him. For a guy they express confidence in though, Kyle is certainly being treated like the proverbial red-headed step child.

– A key factor heading into his first full season as head coach will be stabilizing, within a reasonable degree of coaching discretion, player roles. This should be accomplished by the 20 game mark of the season.

Our Ducks look to ice 3 scoring lines and a checking line. Bobby Ryan and Teemu Selanne won’t be replaced easily. The secondary scoring could come by committee. We certainly have quality scoring depth. Still, our Ducks have the look of a one line team. If we don’t get at least 65 goals out of the top line, these Ducks won’t make the playoffs.

The parts are there for the makings of a playoff team. If the team comes together. They may have the horses to do more.

These are now Ryan Getzlaf’s Anaheim Ducks. If he isn’t ready to go full bore in October well…’s going to be a long season with a quick death.

Note: Anaheim Calling blogger Chris D-5 did a nice job capturing quotes at Select-a-seat. It’s a pretty good read.

  1. czhokej says:

    Penner’s best year was with Edmonton (2009-2010). That’s only three years back. His playoff performance 2013 was not too bad. Definitely worth to give him a chance. He looked better than Kopitar and Brown in the post season. He started to shoot the puck more and he was more aggressive when attacking the net.
    I would like to know what were his explanations for the performance decline during 2011-2013 (???). I am probably too optimistic and will be disappointed, but I expect Penner to score 20 or more.
    Fowler is still too young, and he is still developing as a D, getting more muscle and experience. Yes his goal scoring went down, but he did not make too many mistakes last year.

    • bc says:

      That’s a great question cz. I don’t know what Penner told Murph about his challenges in Edmonton and L.A. Murph did say he was satisfied with the answers though. If he bounces back he won’t be the first guy who found his happy place at the Honda Center. Obviously part of it is Penner and part were the teams he played on. The Oilers sucked when was with them. They still may not be a playoff team. The Kings were under-achieving until they hired Daryl Suter and caught lightning in a bottle. Even last season the reigning tainted Cup champs didn’t finish high enough to earn home ice advantage in the playoffs.

      Yer right Fowler is still young. The learning curve to develop a D-man at the NHL level is five years. Fowler is heading into this fourth. This is why I think we will see him begin to put it all together next season.

  2. bbdux93 says:

    Since Getz talked Penner into coming back – maybe he can influence him to get fit and perform at his 09/10 level.
    We still need that 2nd line center and I’d hate to see one of our younger guys try to fill that spot.

    • bc says:

      Can I just send you 500 plus word blog drafts so you can condense them into what really matters? Maybe you can takeover the Twitter (140 character limit) account?

  3. zseller says:

    Interesting evaluation of the team.
    By the looks of this you have both Selanne and Lydman gone.
    No mention of Maroon either.
    Being out here in the land of the Lakers this time of the year is quite possibly the worst sports time of the year.
    Out in Boston you would most certainly at least be getting a few stories about the Bruins each day.
    I told my wife this week that this is the worst week of the year since baseball, which I don’t follow as much as I did when I was a kid is off for quite possibly the worst all star exhibition of the major sports and all of the other major sports are not in season. The flag football game in Hawaii and the no touch NHL shinny game come close but at least the NHL is not stupid enough to have home ice be determined by an exhibition game. The only thing keeping me going this week is that I have the Sopranos on DVR for an hour a day and the Open from across the pond.
    Couple this with the knobs at the OC who feel that by charging people for access that it is going to increase their readership, hello who is going to pay for a rehash of info that is free elsewhere.
    Besides I can come here and at least get opinions of people who are passionate about the sport.
    With all of your contacts I would love to hear about the yutes in the Ducks system and when they might project into the lineup down the road.
    I think that we can all agree that this season will be the end for Koivu and if Selanne comes back which I am of the belief that he will, this will be his retirement circuit as well.
    Where are we then?
    Gibson will be the heir apparent in goal.
    What does the D look like in a few years?
    When will Beauch go?
    Souray not likely to get another contract from the Ducks and will he even finish his contract or will he be an amnesty next year?
    Pull out that crystal ball and feed me some puck talk.
    I need to keep my mind working so oldtimers does not kick in.
    I promise if you bring out the topics that I will provide some feedback to hopefully keep the wheels rolling.

    • bc says:

      That’s sure a lot of stuff in one post z …you always get my best so here goes:

      Much of my gut hunches rise from inferring from the GM’s comments and actions. Granted select-a-seat comments are of the glass half full sprinkled with a pinch of pixie dust but even Murph is talkin’ about next year in context of Teemu’s career. That plus he hasn’t set aside the cap space for Flash. Then there’s that pesky declining performance issue. Fact is, it wasn’t just Bobby Ryan who replaced Flash on the 1st PP unit, Nick Bonino did as well!

      As to Toni Lydman, again the GM is keeping spots open for Vatanen and/or Lindholm. If he’s healthy, Lydman still has miles left. The chatter indicates Toni will sign with Montreal or maybe return to Buffalo.

      Not convinced Luca Sbisa wins a top six job next season, though I left him there on the depth chart.

      May as well spill it now. This blog will probably join the trend toward subscription service next season. Fact is, costs have gone up.

      Prospect (yute?) reports are tough to do. If I haven’t seen them myself, it feels like cheating. It’s getting better but even finding and reviewing video requires significant research. If you see a 500 word post on this site, you can assume it took 3 hours to draft it.

      Sheldon Souray still has value. He will have to be spot played to get the most out of him though. The game is getting so fast, he needs a quick partner. They looked like Penn and Teller but Souray and Vatanen are very complimentary in their few stints last season. It looked like Sheldon enjoyed giving his partner some protection. Sami has the wheels to get to pucks just out of Souray’s long reach.

      Not mentioning Patrick Maroon in the published version was an oversight. As they say in Hollywood he got left on the cutting room floor. Maroon is on a one way two year contract. He will be on the roster but where? Which LW sits for Maroon? Penner? Silfverberg? Winnik? Palmieri? Cogliano? Beleskey? If your first guess is the injured one, you’d be right. This is also I expect a trade. Our Ducks are very deep at forward and in goal.

      The learning curve on developing an NHL goalie is seven years from the day he is drafted. Ducks prefer not to rush John Gibson but he might not leave them a choice. The immediate plan is to monitor what he does in Norfolk. You can take this to bank, Admirals coach Trent Yawney is very much part of our Ducks brain trust. His opinion counts more than any other AHL affiliate coach we’ve had during Bob Murray’s tenure as GM.

      Old ain’t so bad z. Just a different set of challenges. Keep your sense of humor and you’ll be alright.

  4. zseller says:

    Until I hear the words from the Flash I am going to believe that he is coming back. If he wants to play it will likely be at the teams terms instead of Flashes.
    If he plays 60-65 games my hunch is that he will produce better than if he tries to play all 82.
    When he was rested towards the end of the season he had better legs to start the playoffs.
    If we based things on production than CP should never have been on the 1st PP as he struggled to find the net all playoffs.
    Lydman will be one of those that you wont miss him til he is gone. Hate to think that his last game with the Ducks was one that Abdlekader ruined.
    Sbisa should continue to get better. The Ducks need his toughness. Dmen usually develop slower and I still believe that he will be a top 4 before his career is done. If they give him as many chances as the Stiffler he will prove his worth.
    Would hate to see you start to charge for this blog, since I am a poor boy I doubt I could afford to cover the cost. You might force me into the business.
    As for the “yutes” catch My Cousin Vinny.
    I am not looking for a detailed analysis, just a look into the future and to see who you might guess will fill the roles down the road. Are the draft picks going to be like Getz and Perry or Mitera?
    I think that Souray is here this year and then amnestied if any of the young guys pan out. He has too big a number and the Ducks will likely be looking at having to give a few raises after this season. Also it will ne their last chance to do so.
    The Penner signing surprised me as I thought that Maroon would be the guy on the big line. He looked good in the few games he played last year.
    Gibson will be the guy to replace Hiller at the end of the contract.
    I read a while back about teams committing big bucks to goalies. I am not sure that this is a sound investment. It will be interesting to see if the Bruins end up being hamstrung by the Rask contract.
    The system can make up for an average goalie. Take a look at how the Wild did back in the early 2000’s with Hernandez and Rollie??.
    Age is just a number. I am just hoping to make it to retirement and then have 25-35 years of decent living.

    • bc says:

      Cherry picking points for response due to time constraints:

      Toni Lydman ran hot and cold with us z. Mostly it was because he’s tough as nails and played through injuries. He sure frustrated and stymied Datsyuk and Zetterburg in the playoffs. Until
      Abdelkader took him out of course. No way that hit wasn’t targeted and intentional.

      Yer right in that Sbisa should continue to get better. ‘Should’ is the operative word. He won’t though because he’s challenged between the ears. It’s not Luca’s physical skill set at all. He makes way too many mental mistakes. Don’t underestimate that these Ducks are now Ryan Getzlaf’s team. Guys who were close to Bobby Ryan (Sbisa & Cogliano) are more likely than not to get moved.

      z, if you’d really like to blog, I can upgrade your status here. Let’s chat about that privately, if you’d like.

      It’s really too soon to tell on our prospects. Emerson Etem looks like the real deal. Kyle Palmieri reminds me a bit of Kris Versteeg. Good guy, solid player but his size, streakiness and maybe a bit of a ‘tude. Palmieri will get his opportunity and he’s competing primarily with Silfverberg and Maroon.

      It doesn’t look like we’re bringing Dave Steckel back. That could change pending Teemu’s announcement. For now the leading candidates for the two open center spots are Nick Bonino, Peter Holland, Rickard Rakell and Antoine Laganiere. In that order.

      So you want to rush Gibson?

      If age is just a number how come my body won’t do what it did 30 years ago 😉

  5. zseller says:

    My contacts at ND were not disappointed when he left early. I guess that the tude is still present, hopefully he will grow out of it as he ages.
    Not looking to rush Gibson I just think that he will be ready to rock and roll by the time Hiller’s contract ends. I think that he could be the next real deal as a US goalie and a couple more years and he should be at worst ready to be the #2 for the Ducks.

    I would love to blog but given my current workload I really doubt that I could be depended on to meet deadlines. All you have to do is look back at last year and see how seldom I was able to put in a response and you can see that I would probably disappoint more than do what is needed.

    I hope in a few more years to be able to have more time to do the things that I want to do as opposed to those that I have to do.

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