Here’s the link. Later today I’ll give it a “BackChecking with…” treatment. Note who Coach thinks could make the show from the Admirals.
It’s later now:
Q: Were there some guys during your time scouting the AHL’s Norfolk Admirals last weekend that jumped out to you?
A: There were some pleasant surprises. I don’t know if they’re coming up. But I really think that for the future, that Sami Vatanen is going to be a good player up here. His mobility is really good. His awareness on the ice is really good. I thought the skill set of Peter Holland … I finally got the chance to really see him. When he’s got the puck, he’s in control. He knows very well what he’s doing. (Kyle) Palmieri, who hasn’t had his greatest year to start, had a really good of weekend in games two and three, I thought. Jordan Hendry plays a lot. Nate Guenin plays a lot on defense there. Patrick Maroon did, I think, a real stellar job below the circles. So these are guys that I’ll probably be talking to Murph (GM Bob Murray) about when it’s all said and done.”
This isn’t Vatanen’s year but it’s reassuring to hear Gabby say that Sami’s, “going to be a good player up here.” Takes some of the sting out of losing Justin Schultz and trading Jake Gardiner.
If Holland can impress with his play without the puck he’ll could well center the Ryan line.
As this blog stated the other day, Patrick Maroon will get an opportunity to win the LW job.
Kyle Palmieri will be on a shorter leash and will have to produce more consistently. Last season he tallied 4 goals, 3 assists in 18 games last season.
Jordan Hendry and Nate Guenin are the contenders for the 7th D-man spot.
Q: Realistically, how many spots on the Ducks are open for competition?
A: Three, I think I would say. Fourth-line center would be open. A 13th forward. Or if (Brad) Staubitz is the 13th forward, maybe a 12th forward. One third-line guy. You look at what you’re going to use at left wingers. (Matt) Beleskey. (Dan) Winnik. (Andrew) Cogliano can play anywhere. But the constants would be Beleskey, Winnik, (Bobby) Ryan. Those are the left wingers. Where do we fit Cogs? The centermen. You know you have (Nick) Bonino, (Saku) Koivu and (Ryan) Getzlaf. Right wing, you go (Teemu) Selanne, (Corey) Perry and who knows after that? Maybe (Devante) Smith-Pelly and Palmieri. You can move guys over. Staubitz’s a right winger. You’ve just got to find the fit and you have a shorter period of time because you’ve got no preseason games.
The message to Brad Staubitz is that being an enforcer isn’t enough. You have to be able to play the game. Staubitz could find himself sitting as the 13th forward some nights.
Coach has just old us that Selanne, Perry, Ryan, Getzlaf, Koivu, Cogliano, Winnick, Bonino, Beleskey and Staubitz have made the team. Smith-Pelly and Palmieri are the leading candidates for two forward positions.
Q: Can you create some competition during an abbreviated camp?
A: ”There’s one defenseman’s job available. We’ll invite probably two defensemen from Norfolk or maybe even three. Make that a battle there. If there’s three spots up front, we might invite five guys. Show me in practice, show me who gets it? Who wants it more? Because there’s nobody’s name that’s down in Norfolk right now etched in stone that’s going to be on our team.”
Q: How do you like the look of your team right now? For instance, the biggest difference might be Sheldon Souray and Bryan Allen bringing size to the defense corps.
A: Well I think it was really needed. And it’s how quick we can find good pairings. The other thing too is this is the first time that (Toni) Lydman’s in shape. Not in shape physically but healthy-wise in a year. (Francois) Beauchemin, the length of this lockout has given him time to heal his offseason surgery. So he’s now healthy, whereas we were pretty sure that he wasn’t going to start the season. Our defense, when you look at it, is going to be our strength. And our goaltending is going to be our strength right now. If we’ve improved our club and that’s where we were from Jan. 4 on, then why can’t we start off at that level and be competitive right from the get go?”
If the offense doesn’t improve over last season our Ducks will go as far as Hiller can carry us.
And if you don’t mind I will take an attaboy. Take a look back here and here, the latter with assists to Colin Insley and Scott Cullen. If you find a blog or mainstream media story that got closer to seeing the team as Coach Boudreau does before this interview was posted, please let me know.
When reviewing the D I neglected to mention Jordan Hendry who is in camp. Other than that oversight, this blog is on the same page as Coach Boudreau.