The NHL offseason is a busy, yet exciting, time for teams and fans alike. This is when fans get to see their teams building for the future. However, not every team makes the moves necessary to become a legitimate contender. With the 2012 NHL draft complete and free agency beginning in just over a week I will be looking at every NHL team, taking into account the moves they’ve already made, what players are free agents, who looks to be coming back, what prospects are already under contract, etc, and then deciding whether that team will, in the next two years, be more of a “contender” or “pretender”. This week we begin with the Anaheim Ducks.
The Ducks have 2011 Rocket Richard and Hart Trophy winner Corey Perry, who produced 60 points in 2012, along with Bobby Ryan, Saku Koivu and Ryan Getzlaf all returning. (Source: http://www.tsn.ca/blogs/scott_cullen/?id=395528.)
Teemu Selanne, an unrestricted free agent who led the Ducks in scoring during 2011-2012, has also expressed an interest in returning to Anaheim for another season. Unfortunately, it’s unknown for sure whether Selanne will return and, if he does, how well he’ll perform next season. Plus, it’s unlikely he plays for more than another year if a deal gets done.
Defensively, the Ducks traded Lubomir Visnovsky and his plus-seven rating, second best among Ducks defenseman, to the New York Islanders for a 2013 second-round draft pick. Also, Sheldon Brookbank, the top plus-minus player for the Ducks at plus-11, is an unrestricted free agent come July 1st. (Source: http://ducks.nhl.com/club/stats.htm?season=20112012.)
The Ducks did, however, draft defenseman Hampus Lindholm sixth overall in last night’s first round of the 2012 draft. Lindholm, who played last season for Rogle in the Swedish League, is projected to become a two-way defenseman but will probably need another couple of years to completely develop. (Source: “The Hockey News” 2012 Draft Preview Issue.)
The Ducks have both Jonas Hiller and Jeff Deslauriers under contract through next season. While both have decent numbers, along with potential, they are also injury-prone which could hurt the Ducks in the long run. Dan Ellis, who started 2011-2012 as the backup to Hiller, is an unrestricted free agent who struggled mightily in his small amount of playing time before getting injured and being out for awhile. (Source: http://www.tsn.ca/blogs/scott_cullen/?id=395528.)
The Ducks do have a prospect, Iiro Tarkki, who played with AHL Syracuse last season, but didn’t draft a goaltender (not that there were many to choose from as it was) in this years draft and that could leave them in a tight spot if Hiller and Deslauriers both end up injured.