The depth chart is fairly easy to project. Absent is a clear #1 who goes over the boards in all situations. Our new Ducks back line is a D by committee. Such is life after the departures of first Chris Pronger, followed by the retirement of Scott Niedermayer. In hindsight we were sure treated to something very special. Given the talent and complimentary skill sets of the survivors, at least Frankie Beachemin is a link to the Prongs/Nieds era taking Lubo back may not be the worst thing, if that be the outcome. The old cliche’ ’Sometimes the best trades are the ones you don’t make’ is appropriate.
For now at least, lets address what is in front of us. Even if Lubo returns, it will remain a D by committee. As of this moment, Cam Fowler is the last guy you use in all situations.
Beauchemin heads the depth chart as he’s the most serviceable in all situations. He’s become a smart hockey player willing to sacrifice for his team. In that sense Beauch is a genuine heart and soul guy out there. Beauch will most likely continue to partner with Cam Fowler in ES situations and Bryan Allen or Luca Sbisa when Gabby wants to counter with physical match-ups
Cam Fowler is No. 2 with a bullet as they say in music. Cam will see ES time with Beauch, but Coach won’t be shy about sending Fowler out there with Allen or Sbisa. Expect to see him sharing 1st unit PP time with Sheldon Souray. Also don’t be surprised if Cam is out there for an entire PP. One thing Fowler has is the ability to pace himself and impact the tempo of the game.
I could be wrong of course but it doesn’t make a lot of sense to pair Fowler with Lydman. Cam needs a physical presence beside him. Also next to Fowler, Lydman might be our best play-making D-man. It could be tempting to toss them out against the opposition’s depth lines though. Lydman might also see some PP time with Cam behind Souray.
Such is life with D by committee. There are always spot situations where you can stray from the script.
At ES, Souray is most likely anchoring the 3rd unit with one of Lydman, Allen, or Sbisa.
PK units are from Beauchemin, Sbisa, Allen, Lydman.
At risk of restating the obvious, Coach and Brad Lauer have a lot of options. The challenges are also obvious. Those six guys will share 4920 minutes of TOI over 82 games. OT is excluded. As the minutes are divided up (apparently divied isn’t a word) the spread might be Souray at 14-16 minutes and the top TOI at 24-26 minutes. Nate Guenin looks to be the leading candidate 7 on the depth chart. He’s pushed by Jordan Hendry and Mat Clark.
Our Ducks D depth-wise is better now than at any time during the post Hall of Fame D era.