As part of our summer series previewing the 2014-15 NHL season, CSNwashington.com is analyzing all 30 NHL teams, division by division. This week, we continue to take a look at the Western Conference’s Pacific Division.
Today: ANAHEIM DUCKS
2013-14 record: 54-20-8, 116 points
Where they finished: 1st in the Pacific; 1st in the West; second in the NHL
Coach: Bruce Boudreau (4th season)
Key additions: C Ryan Kesler, RW Dany Heatley, C Nick Bonino, D Luca Sbisa, C Nate Thompson, RW Louis Leblanc, assistant coach Trent Yawney
Key subtractions: RW Teemu Selanne, C Saku Koivu, G Jonas Hiller, C Mathieu Perreault, RW Daniel Winnick, assistant coach Bob Woods
Matt Beleskey – Ryan Getzlaf – Corey Perry
Patrick Maroon – Ryan Kesler – Jakob Silfverberg
Kyle Palmieri – Andrew Cogliano – Dany Heatley
Tim Jackman – Nate Thompson – Devante Smith-Pelly
Extras: Emerson Etem
Francois Beauchemin – Hampus Lindholm
Cam Fowler – Ben Lovejoy
Clayton Stoner – Sam Vatanen
Extras: Bryan Allen, Mark Fistric
John Gibson – Frederik Andersen
Our take: It’s hard to find an NHL coach who has had more success in the regular season with such bitter disappointment in the playoffs than Bruce Boudreau. The former Capitals coach has won six division titles, including last year’s Pacific, and has a .663 winning percentage in the regular season, but has never gotten his teams past the second round of the playoffs.
Last year Boudreau and the Ducks had a three-games-to-two lead on the Los Angeles Kings but lost the final two games of the second-round series, including a 6-2 blowout in Game 7 that was reminiscent of the Caps’ 6-2 loss to the Penguin in Game 7 of the 2009 conference semifinals.
The Game 7 defeat also marked the end of the Teemu Selanne era in Anaheim. Looking for an experienced forward to complement Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry, the Ducks traded for center Ryan Kesler, who is expected to replace Nick Bonino as the team’s second-line center. Bonino went to Vancouver in the trade, along with defenseman Luca Sbisa.
Kesler, 29, recorded 25 goals and 18 assists for the Canucks last season and is considered one of the game’s grittiest on-ice leaders. The Ducks also added free-agent right wing Dany Heatley, a two-time 50-goal scorer whose offensive game has slowed down in recent years with 12 goals and 16 assists last season in Minnesota.
With the exception of Sbisa the Ducks’ blue line looks very much like it did last season and will need to improve in front of 21-year-old goaltender John Gibson, a surprise starter who won three games in a row against the Kings before falling in Games 6 and 7.
Offseason Grade: B-plus
Will they make the playoffs in 2014-15? Yes.