Last season was another success for the Anaheim Ducks during the regular season where they gathered 101 points with an impressive 44-25-13 record in the Western Conference Pacific Division.
The Ducks' top line of Rikard Rakell, Ryan Getzlaf, and Corey Perry led the scoring as they finished in that exact order in team scoring.
That was pretty awesome considering that the trio missed 43 games between them with Perry missing the most with 26.
The Ducks just couldn't score being the 18th in the NHL in scoring but were over the top defensively ranking fourth overall. Much of that success had to be attributed to goalie John Gibson.
Gibson accumulated a 31-18-7 record and had a stingy 2.43 goals against average to go along with his .926 save percentage. He added four shutouts to show his dominance.
But, it was short-lived as the weak offense of the Anaheim club only scored four goals in four playoff games against the San Jose Sharks who eat them alive in four straight games.
Whatever magic Gibson displayed during the regular season escaped him in the playoffs where he had a .889 save percentage and gave up 3.60 goals a game.
The Ducks still wanted to tie up their prized number-one goalie and awarded him with an eight-year $51.2 million contract earlier this month.
Now that ought to inspire him this new season.
Rickard Rykell - Ryan Getzlaf - Corey Perry
Andrew Cogliano - Ryan Kesler - Jakob Silfverberg
Nick Ritchie - Adam Henrique - Ondrej Kase
Brian Gibbons - Carter Rowney - Troy Terry
Extra forwards: Patrick Eaves, Anton Rodin
Hampus Lindholm - Joah Manson
Cam Fowler - Brandon Montour
Marcus Pettersson - Luke Schenn
Extra defenseman: Andrej Sustr
Best case scenario:
- The aging Ducks hope that their feathers don't turn too gray before the end of the season. The team's average age of 27.5 is getting up there, but they still have some youthful energy in players like Pettersson (22), Kase (23), and Terry (21). If they can instill some speed and scoring into the lineup the Ducks will be feeling fine.
- Gibson again plays his heart out, but this time does much better as the Ducks at least get to the second round or beyond in the playoffs.
- Patrick Eaves makes a good comeback from his misdiagnosis of Guillain-Barré syndrome last year and scores 20 goals to get back into his old self again.
- Ryan Getzlaf stays healthy and that can only mean the Ducks will be better this postseason.
Worse case scenario:
- The weak offense of the Ducks continues as they try to figure out who can score.
- Getzlaf and/or Perry gets injured, or they have as many injuries as last season testing the depth of their lineup.
- John Gibson fails to continue his excellent play during the season (doubtful) and the Ducks falter near the wild-card level in points.
- The team's age begins to take a toll and they begin to slow down to a pace which they can't keep up with the speedier teams in the Western Conference.
The Anaheim Ducks are still a playoff team but may finish third or fourth in the Pacific Division behind the Edmonton Oilers and maybe even the Arizona Coyotes who have added some key players to their lineup.
Much will depend on if they can stay healthy of course and if the young players work out. They did add veteran defenseman Luke Schenn and he is adequate and a heavy hitter.
More of their potential success or failure lies with Perry and Getzlaf and if Eaves can make a comeback after missing all games but two last season.
It looks like the Ducks will need to obtain some additional scoring and they have some young talent they may be able to make a trade for to add some offense before the trade deadline.
So, they will end up with 95 points, and squeeze ahead of the Coyotes for the last wild-card spot.
How will the Anaheim Ducks do this new season? Let us know in the comment section below and be sure to give us a follow on Twitter by searching (VAVELNHL_ENG).