Posts Tagged ‘Kyle Palmieri’

Tonight’s Game:
Phoenix @ Anaheim, 7:00pm start at the Honda Center. Audio stream available at http://ducks.nhl.com/index.html

The previous post, A look at the intangibles really begins this blog’s Ducks coverage of the 2013-14 season. If you haven’t at least skimmed it yet, you’ll be better equipped to understand this one and forthcoming posts through training camp.

At first blush, swapping out Daniel Winnick from the “checking line” for Emerson Etem would indicate a slightly different role for Saku Koivu and Andrew Cogliano. It ain’t necessarily so. All three forwards are proven penalty killers and defensively responsible. The move should improve scoring from the checking line. As Coach noted, “Their speed will give opposing teams fits.” Some sandpaper is sacrificed but Etem’s overall toughness shouldn’t be underrated.
The skill sets are complimentary. As noted all are defensively responsible and great skaters. Koivu and Cogliano are decent playmakers and finishers. Etem is a promising sniper.

One move this blogger has been waiting for and referenced here previously more than once is trying Daniel Winnick at center. Now wwe understand why that hasn’t happened until now.  “We wanted to try this last year, but there was just never a break, and we didn’t want to throw him into the fire.” Boudreau added, “He’s going to stay there for a while, at center, during the preseason,”
With Patrick Maroon and Devante Smith-Pelly on the wings, Winnick could well result in a very physical Stopper Line reminiscent of Pahlsson, Niedermayer & Moen.
Memo to fourth line center hopefuls Peter Holland, Rickard Rakell and Antoine Laganiere: Pick it up a notch!

Notice we have comments from Coachevidencing his thinking on the aforementioned opportunities. Now for one that isn’t being talked about in the blogs or reported on by mainstream media:

Where does Kyle Palmieri fit? Is he Bobby Ryan 2.0? The guy we never find a spot for and instead move him around and ask him to spark whatever line he happens to be on that shift? Jeez, I hope not.
In the early going at least Dustin Penner hasn’t played himself off the top line. Bones, Flash and Silfver are developing chemistry and producing results. The 3rd and 4th lines could be set.
Palmieri has earned more than a 4th line role. He’s aiming to become The Twins linemate. To earn that plum he’ll have to prove himself better than Penner and overcome locker room politics. Not an easy task for a guy who has only recently established his NHL cred.
Boudreau wouldn’t reveal his lineup for tomorrow’s preseason opener against Phoenix (7 p.m., Honda Center), but said “we’ve got the first three games mapped out, in a perfect world, and all seven games mapped out for the goalies.”

Note to credentialed local media: The only reason we don’t have an answer to, “Where Palmieri fits” is because you aren’t asking the question. Aside to readers: Credentialed media claims the main reason for lost audience is increased competition. Just once I’d like them to consider the quality of their reportage.

Note to me: Exhale ;)

Three of the above quotes can be found in this report by Kyle Shohara of AnaheimDucks.com.

Ducks are landing and nesting for the new season. Guys are showing up at the rinks for pre-camp skates. It’s all low impact non-check scrimmages. Often called Pond Hockey or just shinny. The kind of hockey that frustrates a Bryan Allen or Mark Fistric and allows a slick sleuth like Kyle Palmieri to virtually to hot dog it at will.

Guys are working on skating, puck handling, passing, shooting and finding their timing. It’s important work. Primary attention is given to their agility, followed by timing and in the last few days prior to camp opening, chemistry or teamwork. This latter testing too is about timing though not just your own, but with your teammates.

What is established now will set the foundation for how and when the team comes together during the season and hopefully playoffs.

At camp the degree of difficulty is magnified exponentially. The moment the hitting starts, the competition gets brutally honest. This camp is will be our Ducks most competitive camp in years.

The team is set in goal but step outside the crease and there are question marks everywhere. Every reporter, blogger and poster is busily filling out their depth charts and most of us will be proven wrong.

Half of the forward jobs are open. You can pencil guys in here and there but nothing is set outside of Getzlaf, Perry, Selanne, Koivu, Cogliano and Winnick. Factually, the best we can do is handicap the competition at this point.

The D is similar. Toni Lydman retired. Sheldon Souray is out until Christmas. Francois Beauchemin will hopefully start the season but will have likely missed most of his camp. If Beauch starts, he starts a month behind.

Virtually half the team will get sorted out in camp. Bob Murray has finally created the camp he wants.

One result we might expect is TOI will be more evenly divided among the forwards. Fowler and Beauchemin will carry the heavy load on the back line.

I definitely see a playoff roster out there. Probably with home ice advantage in the first round.

This report is translated from the original Finnish newspaper Iltalehti.fi. The reporter, Pekka Jolanin reports that Teemu is readying himself for a return to the NHL, but not necessarily to our Ducks.

Selanne has not yet made a final decision in respect of the next season. All, however, indicate very strongly that Teemu’s career will continue for at least a year.
- In front is the biggest decision of my career. I have three options that I can choose from, Selanne said.
Ridge options most likely to have continued in Anaheim. The other two options are to play in another NHL club or career termination.

Play for another NHL team? At least now Bob Murray’s out of the blue comment that, “I’ll do whatever is necessary to sign Teemu” make sense.

This is what happens when people are less than forthright. If Teemu wants to play elsewhere that’s his right and his business. But if Bob Murray hadn’t been gaming the situation, dropping hints at every turn that our Ducks are heading in a different direction, we could have had a clean break.

Yes, I have confirmed the story. It’s the first time since our Ducks Cup win that Teemu has stated publicly that he might sign to play elsewhere. The Winnipeg Jets would welcome him back but they have even less cap room than our Ducks do.

I’m told that Teemu plans on meeting with Coach Boudreau and GM Bob Murray upon his return to SoCal. He will be looking for a commitment that will include top six minutes, 19-21 minutes per game and 1st unit PP time. If he doesn’t get that he will look to going to Winnipeg or elsewhere.

It’s all well and good that Teemu will meet with the Coach and the GM but what about the Captain and his sidekick? They want Penner. What happens in the room if Teemu pushes Pancake down the depth chart? Do The Twins still get Flash the puck? This is the junk that can happen when ownership gets between management and the players.

Now regardless of what happens, Teemu Selanne’s status is needlessly very messy. It’s certainly no way to run a railroad. At least not if you want the trains arriving and departing on time.

Does anyone really think that if Bob Murray wanted Teemu back that he wouldn’t have kept more cap room available? And if Flash returns at this point the possible outcomes are negative. (1) He risks losing his top six TOI to one of Emerson Etem, Kyle Palmieri and/or Dustin Penner or (2) He wins or is given a top six job and his presence inhibits the development of Etem or Palmieri.

The lure of one last Olympic tournament is compelling. Ducks fans will recall that Scot Niedermayer played at least one additional year primarily so that he could compete in the 2010 Olympics.

This is the disastrous example of what can happen when ownership over rides management. When Nieds was talked out of retiring at the then unheard of, take your time deciding plan, so what if we have to remake the team to accommodate his return, we will and we did.

And here we are again with Teemu Selanne holding up the team from moving forward.

Gordie Howe, Wayne Gretzky and many others have noted that nobody is bigger than the game or the team. Henry Samueli has changed that dynamic.

As discussed with czhokej, the Dustin Penner signing certainly changes the on ice look of our Ducks. Pancake fell out of favor during his time in Edmonton and L.A. He sat with down with GM Bob Murray and gave acceptable point by point explanations for how his career nose-dived following his departure from Anaheim via offer sheet during the summer of 2007.

Wow, was that really six years ago? During those ensuing years Ducks tried a succession of guys, including Todd Bertuzzi, Evgeny Artyukhin, Brad Winchester, Jarkko Ruutu and of course Bobby Ryan. Only Ryan surpassed Penner in offense. None of those ever replaced him as a complete power forward package.

If Penner washes out here as he did in Edmonton and L.A., he unceremoniously slides down the depth chart until he’s a healthy scratch, gets waived or is part of a trade. At $2m for one year, Pancake doesn’t represent a big investment or risk.

Should Honda Center prove to be Dustin Penner’s happy place, lookout cookout as John Ahlers likes to say. Pancake returns to our Ducks with the respect and affection of team leaders Ryan Getzlaf, Corey Perry and Francois Beauchemin, all his teammates from the Cup team. He doesn’t enter the room in a getting to know everybody mode.

Notice though that while Penner has their respect and affection, he’ll have to earn their trust. To do that he must produce.

Here’s a capsulized look at our Ducks lines and pairings with the current roster.

Getzlaf-Penner-Perry/Fowler-Lovejoy: Can’t imagine Gabby will put the Souray-Beauchemin out there with the top line. The Big Dogs are already arguably the slowest top line in the NHL. Jeez, a five man unit where Beauchemin is the fastest skater? Not likely. Lovejoy is very questionable in a top 2 defender role.

Bonino-Silfverberg-Etem/Souray-Beauchemin: Obviously this should be posted in pencil as it is subject to change. Bones will be challenged by Holland, Silfverberg by Palmieri and Etem by Teemu Selanne, if Flash returns. No certainty Souray is a lock for top four ES-TOI either.

Koivu-Winnick-Cogliano/Allen-Sbisa: The checking line is likely set for a return engagement. Sbisa will be challenged and maybe dropped a notch or two down the depth chart in favor of Vatanen and/or Lindholm.

Holland-Palmieri-Beleskey: Look like the leading candidates for fourth line duty. Rakell could slip past Holland. Palmieri might be traded. Beleskey seems like the only one we can ink in. Devante Smith-Pelley could challenge Beleskey but Coach likes my Homey and envisions an envisions a larger role for Matt.

It’s crowded between the pipes as Hiller, Fasth, Andersen and Gibson will each get a good look and eval from our Ducks brain trust.

Intangibles and possible surprises:

- At select-a-seat Gabby described Nick Bonino as a very hard-working hockey player. Bones may lose his spot on the depth chart but somebody will have to beat him out of it.

- Again, Dustin Penner enjoyed his best season in the NHL as a center. Both he and Silfverberg could be options. Peter Holland, Rickard Rakell and Andrew Cogliano are also in the mix. Long shot Antoine Laganiere impressed me at conditioning camp.

- Cam Fowler did everything but light it up last season. His break through year should come in one of the next two seasons.

- Another significant trade could come at any time after the brain trust determines that we need an upgrade. Likely positions are 2nd line center and top 4 D.

- With Bobby Ryan traded, our new odd Duck appears to be Kyle Palmieri. He’s been given a qualifying offer. Ducks don’t have to negotiate with him. For a guy they express confidence in though, Kyle is certainly being treated like the proverbial red-headed step child.

- A key factor heading into his first full season as head coach will be stabilizing, within a reasonable degree of coaching discretion, player roles. This should be accomplished by the 20 game mark of the season.

Our Ducks look to ice 3 scoring lines and a checking line. Bobby Ryan and Teemu Selanne won’t be replaced easily. The secondary scoring could come by committee. We certainly have quality scoring depth. Still, our Ducks have the look of a one line team. If we don’t get at least 65 goals out of the top line, these Ducks won’t make the playoffs.

The parts are there for the makings of a playoff team. If the team comes together. They may have the horses to do more.

These are now Ryan Getzlaf’s Anaheim Ducks. If he isn’t ready to go full bore in October well…..it’s going to be a long season with a quick death.

Note: Anaheim Calling blogger Chris D-5 did a nice job capturing quotes at Select-a-seat. It’s a pretty good read.

Summer is what former Kings GM Dave Taylor called hockey’s financial season. We agree. With money and contracts in mind, we take a look at our Ducks following the Bobby Ryan trade.

Conventional wisdom dictated that if our Ducks were to move Ryan it would be for a 2nd line center, not cap room. If we have come to expect anything from Bob Murray it’s that he is unconventional. In his post trade interview, Murph said “Anytime you can upgrade and make your hockey team better and stronger and deeper, you try to do it….”

Ducks are definitely deeper but the better and stronger parts remain to be seen. Murph didn’t mention team speed but we’re definitely faster regardless of who replaces Ryan.

Cap Status:

In the hours following the Ryan trade, Saku Koivu re-upped for one year at $2.5m about a million less than his previous stipend. Obviously, he left money on the table. Today, Ducks announced RFA Matt Beleskey has inked a 2 yr commitment reportedly to be for $2.7m.
Kyle Palmieri and Teemu Selanne remain unsigned as of this writing. Murph did say he expects to chat with Teemu sometime next week
Per CapGeek, Ducks have 22 players signed with $7.84m in cap space. Palmieri and Selanne will likely cost in the $4.5 -5m range, leaving nearly $3m in the cap float. This represents some hard-earned flexibility going forward.

The Roster:

Coach Bruce Boudreau sets his forward lines identically to how previous coach Randy Carlyle did. Gabby sets two guys together and rotates a third in and out, up and down the depth chart. At the moment, he has exactly two sets of two forwards, Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry; Saku Koivu and Daniel Winnick. Everything else is to be determined at camp.

Nick Bonino, Peter Holland and Rickard Rakell resume their competition for the two open center spots. This year they could be pushed by Antoine Laganiere and William Karlsson.

At LW, Emerson Etem, Matt Beleskey and newcomer Jakub Silfverberg will each get an opportunity to make The Twins twosome a go to threesome. Patrik Maroon will also get a look. The Twins enjoyed Devante Smith-Pelly and gave him lots of encouragement two seasons ago. DSP shouldn’t be ruled out of the mix but he is a long shot to break into the top six at this point. Max Friberg will be looking to make an impression.
Kyle Palmieri is currently RFA and will certainly compete for the top spot if and when signed.

On RW Corey Perry is a lock on the top line. Pencil in Andrew Cogliano to remain alongside Koivu/Winnick on the checking line. This leaves two spots open. Emerson Etem and Matt Beleskey can play either wing giving Coach options. Devante Smith-Pelly and Brad Staubitz will be looking to earn some TOI. Newcomer Stefan Noesen is eager to move up and could but he’ll probably start the year in Norfolk.

On the back line Ducks will enter camp with a top 7 vying for spots. Write in Francois Beauchemin and Cam Fowler as next season’s TOI leaders. Ben Lovejoy earned a spot among the top 4. Sheldon Souray will keep his role on the PP but could see reduced TOI in ES situations as the season drags on.  Bryan Allen, Luca Sbisa and Sami Vatanen  will compete  for #5-6 spots. Hampus Lindholm could make that decision very difficult.

Ducks are loaded between the pipes with Jonas Hiller and Viktor Fasth. Rookies Frederik Andersen , John Gibson and Igor Bobkov will likely compete for spots in Norfolk.

Trade bait:

One of Hiller, Fasth or Andersen. Andrew Cogliano, Luca Sbisa.

Needs:

1 top six center, 1 top four D-man

Summary:

Unless a great trade opportunity is presented look for our Ducks to open camp with the current roster. Those who fretted our team had become top heavy are probably having a cow since the Ryan trade was announced.

This team will be in serious trouble if Ryan Getzlaf doesn’t dominate from puck drop in October. A slow start will be a disaster not only on the ice but also reflected in the revenue streams occurring at the gate, on television and in merchandise sales.

Ducks fans can and should expect more from Corey Perry and Cam Fowler in the stat department. Emerson Etem and Kyle Palmieri look ready to produce 20+ goal seasons. Andrew Cogliano, Saku Koivu, Jakub Silfverberg and Matt Beleskey, Nick Bonino and Peter Holland must provide consistent secondary scoring.

Any additional scoring we get from the blueline and the depth forwards is a bonus.

The goaltending is strong and can overcome defensive lapses and give the team a chance to win most every night. Each of Jonas Hiller and Viktor Fasth has shown the ability to steal a game our guys really didn’t deserve to win.

Overall it’s way too soon to make a projection or prediction.

Hold your screamin’ when you see the return. Ducks GM Bob Murray did say we’d be a very different team next year. Sources I trust are telling me this move was made to get to the Ducks under an internal cap limit. Other sources I trust tell me another move for a second line center is coming.

To Ottawa: Bobby Ryan

To Anaheim: Jakob Silfverberg, Stefan Noeson and Sens 2014 1st round pick.

Now for some analysis eight or so hours after the trade broke on Twitter.

There’s no question our Ducks received three valuable assets in return for Bobby Ryan. Look anywhere you like and you won’t find anyone with a bad thing to say about Jakub Silfverberg and Stefan Noesen. Silfverberg is a roster player. Rest assured he was scouted Brian Burke, who knows a thing or two about hockey players. It would be grossly unfair and unrealistic to put any expectations on him though. He’s a sophomore with all of 34 NHL games experience.

People closer to the Ducks than I are sharing two distinctly different schools of thought. One school, let’s call them Wharton, says this move was made to get the Ducks under an “internally set” cap number. The hockey side is telling me another shoe will drop. GM Bob Murray is looking for an established second line center.

Frankly, I believe both are telling it as they know it and believe it to be. It’s very evident in Murph’s comments. Those words merit vetting in a Backchecking with format. as previously my take is italicized:

On why this trade appealed to the Ducks,
It was the best hockey deal I was offered for him. When trading a guy of the caliber of Bobby, you’ve got to get a deal that helps you now and in the future. That’s what we were looking for. We got a real good hockey player back in Jakob Silfverberg. And the deal gives us Stefan Noesen. Funny story about him: He’s the reason we moved down in the draft a couple of years ago because he went right before our pick. He was a guy we had identified and when we didn’t get him we moved down. Now we’ve been able to get him and we also got a first-round pick in the deal. It was the best hockey deal.

Best hockey deal is bullpucky! This trade was the best cap deal. Bob Murray should be embarrassed  for even trying to sell that in SoCal!!! That comment is 10#’s of scum sucking gutter slugs stuffed into a 5# bag.
The hockey side of this deal can’t be evaluated until we learn what Murph does with the money.

On whether this trade will open the door to more deals,

It sure gives me a lot more [salary cap] flexibility. We were far too close to the cap before and I was not comfortable there. We did not enjoy those years where every morning you would have to figure out whether you were under or over [the cap]. This gives us room if another good hockey deal comes along. If we have to go and get somebody, I now have space to do it. I’m waiting and watching, making a few phone calls on certain individuals to let them know I’m interested.

Now Murray is giving us the straight skinny. The good news is that he’s prepared to spend the money IF the right player should become available.

On whether the Ducks are looking for another center,
There are a couple out there, and we’ve made phone calls. I don’t know that we’re well along the way with them. I don’t know if we’re their preferred destination in some respect, and I’m not going to give lots of term. I’m not doing that. I’m just not doing it. Nothing over four or five years. So we shall see how this goes, and if not, we’ve got a couple young kids who have earned the right to play. We’ve had kids come along that we really like. That’s a fine position we’re in. I have opened a lot of doors today.

The kids at center are obviously Nick Bonino, Peter Holland and Rickard Rakell.  Two LW spots has also opened up for any two among Kyle Palmieri,  Jakub Silfverberg, Patrick Maroon or Devante Smith-Pelley. If none of those guys can win it,  the fall back position is Matt Beleskey alongside the Big Dogs.
As of this writing, Dave Steckel, who could return in a 4th line, PK and face-off specialist role is still available.
Expect to see Bonino, Holland and Rakell compete for TOI at camp and possibly right through to the trade deadline; unless of course one of them establishes himself as the go to scoring line center. If not and our Ducks playoff bound, look for Murph to acquire a second line center at the trade deadline.

On Silfverberg,
First of all, when he won those awards in Sweden, we were watching him. He’s a very smart hockey player, great shot. He scores goals and can make plays, and he’s very good defensively. He’s a two-way, top-six forward at either wing. He’s very versatile. We really like him and have for a few years.

Nothing like putting expectations on a sophomore with 34 NHL games behind him. Silfverberg may become a great top six forward one day but he isn’t one yet.
Fact is, right now our depth chart at LW is Matt Beleskey, Kyle Palmieri, Daniel Winnick then maybe Jakub Silferberg. Let’s get to camp and see what he earns.

On whether Silfverberg could play on the top line,
Oh yeah. He’s definitely smart enough and can make plays. He works and he competes. When we all get to camp and everyone is here, that will be up to Bruce [Boudreau].

That’s hockey speak for, “Hey Coach, get me $5m production from this $900k asset.”

On Noesen,
Stefan is one of these guys who is a big man who has skills. But his skill has to come from playing the power forward role. The job of our organization will be to show him how to use the power forward stuff to make the skill come out. He’s got that combination, where players like him tend to want to go to the skill first and they don’t become the players they can be. The power game has to be part of his game. We’ve got some work to do, but we like what we have. Players like him are hard to find.

Stefan is a power forward. The kind of guys who are worth developing but there are hundreds who fail for each Jerome Iginla who makes it. Noeson”s likely first team in the Ducks org plays out of Norfolk, VA.

On Ryan,
Unfortunately, Bobby played second fiddle for so long here and never got the full opportunity. Through it all, he was an outstanding Duck. He was an outstanding player for us and he was a solid citizen. These are not easy days. I’ve known Bobby forever, since he was drafted. These are tough ones. You can only thank him.

This is the most honest comment Bob Murray made today. I give Bob Murray a lot of points for admitting the failure that was denying Bobby Ryan a full opportunity. At least that is the straight skinny.

On Ryan’s reaction to the news,
I think Bobby expected it. He was totally classy with me. I don’t think it shocked him. I thought the call went fine. They’re not easy calls to make.

Of course he was classy. We’ve watched Bobby grow from an awkward teenager into a media fave. You don’t achieve that without knowing how to carry yourself, comport and present yourself. What did you expect Bob, a reckless barstool tossing tantrum? No wonder Murray used the phone.

On the organization’s depth at forward,
We’re getting back to that point where we have enough bullets, so that when we get close, we have enough to pull the trigger. I’m getting more and more comfortable with the bullets we have. We’re getting deeper and deeper and deeper.

Yes we have more names. The question is are we a better hockey team today without Bobby Ryan? And going forward, will we make the same mistake with Emerson Etem that Murray admitted we made with Ryan?

On the depth on defense,
I’m going to force the issue on Sami Vatanen. I wanted him to play more last year. I want to give him a good, hard look. [Hampus] Lindholm, he’s only going to be 19 years old, but he was really coming gangbusters.

With Slowmo Souray and Bonehead Sbisa in the top six Murph is praying
Sami breaks through and gives us another bonafide puck moving D-man.

On the timing of the deal,
The rumors started out of Philadelphia, and once that starts, I get calls from people. When I get calls for players, I don’t care what their name is, I say, “What are you offering?” Anytime you can upgrade and make your hockey team better and stronger and deeper, you try to do it. It was about that time that call was first made, and we’ve been off and on ever since. I think Ottawa got pushed a little bit by the Alfredsson thing today, and that was a rough situation for them.

We ought to just call these Murph balls. Really Murph? According to you Jakub Silfverberg is an upgrade on Bobby Ryan while Noesen and the 1st round pick make us deeper.
Is it really necessary for me to inform Ducks fans that we are not a better hockey team tonight than we were this morning. This isn’t to say or even suggest we won’t be better as soon as 25 games into the season. Can Getzlaf play as well in October as he does January? Can Etem have a breakthrough season?

So far, I’ve only blogged on this topic with my head. I’ve purposely left my heart out of it. My heart is heavy tonight. It will be fun following Bobby Ryan and learning what he can do with guys like Jason Spezza, Erik Karlsson and some 1st unit PP TOI.

Jeez, thank gawd we sent him East!

Via Anaheim Ducks.com

Blog note: In a nutshell, Registered Free Agents (RFA) are players coming off their Entry Level contracts but do not yet qualify to become Unrestricted Free Agents. Teams retain negotiating rights with the player by extending the qualifying offer. Qualifying offers are proposed contract extensions preventing players from becoming UFA. Generally teams offer a 5% – 10% increase on the previous salary, dependent upon the player’s previous year salary. A qualifying offer may be for one or a two year term.
If the player rejects the qualifying offer the sides proceed to arbitration.

The Ducks issued qualifying offers to the following players:
Matt Beleskey
Kyle Palmieri
Mat Clark
Alex Grant

 Matt Beleskey, Kyle Palmieri and Mat Clark need no introduction to Ducks fans. 

Ducks received Alex Grant from the Pittsburgh Penguins in exchange for enforcer Harry Zolnierczyk.

Blog note: 

The following players were not issued qualifying offers:
Marco Cousineau
Josh Brittain
Matt Kennedy
Ryan Parent

I’ve been wondering how long Marco Cousineau would remain a Duck. A couple of years ago he was discussed on this blog as not to be underrated mainly for his ability to find a way to hang in the org. We wish him well.

This is Ryan Parent’s fourth org since being taken 18th in the 1st rnd by Nashville in the 2005 Entry Draft.

Update: Ben Lovejoy has signed a 3 year contract with our Ducks. L.A. Times Helene Elliott and OCR reporter Eric Stephens are reporting it to be a $3.3m contract. Many had him leaving while this blog only reported that the sides were still talking. Another example that you can trust this blog to keep the facts from getting in the way of speculation.

Holy cats this scrunched season has been difficult on this blogger. Can’t thank yougetwhatyouputin enough for his help during the season. No sooner do we come down from the SCF and wham we head straight into Entry Draft weekend.

The Gossip Girls are having their fun. Generating site hit stats with unfounded rumors and speculation that our Ducks are about to trade Bobby Ryan and/or Jonas Hiller.

In news you can take to the bank, OCR’s Eric Stephens is reporting that our Ducks don’t intend to use any compliance buyouts this summer. From other sources I’ve picked up that Murph is presently negotiating with Saku Koivu on a one year contract. He’s talked with Ben Lovejoy’s agent but there’s nothing to report as of this posting. Toni Lydman has probably played his last game in a Ducks uni. Our Ducks will wait for Teemu’s decision but there’s a soft deadline of July 5, the day pending UFA’s become available.

With compliance buyouts already making Danny Briere and Vinny Lecavalier available Ducks are forced to pass on those opportunities due to lack of cap space. Ducks are most likely to look to their young, Sami  Vatanen and Hampus Lindholm to win jobs on the blue line. Emerson Etem, Kyle Palmieri, Peter Holland and Devante Dmith-Pelly to firmly establish themselves on the Ducks roster.

As to the draft, our Ducks pick 26th in the first round followed by the 45th, 87th, 147th and the 177th pick in subsequent rounds. Our Ducks will not be picking in the fourth or seventh round. The second round pick at 45th overall is the NY Islanders pick and our part of the Lubomir Visnovsky trade.

It is highly likely that all of our picks in this draft will play in the AHL, Major Junior A, NCAA or in of the European elite leagues next season. It is highly unlikely a pick in this Entry Draft will make the NHL coming out of camp. As such, I’ll wait to see who we pick rather than burn bandwidth on kids who will be a couple-3 years away from getting their mail C/O the Honda Center.

Hockey News’ fantasy reporter Daryl Dobbs published his off season look at our Ducks. Our backchecking with follows in intalics.

Pending UFAs – Teemu Selanne, Saku Koivu, David Steckel, Matthew Lombardi, Radek Dvorak, Toni Lydman, Jordan Hendry, Ben Lovejoy, Nate Guenin.

Pending RFAs - Harry Zolnierczyk, Matt Beleskey, Kyle Palmieri, Mat Clark

Of the above David Steckel, Ben Lovejoy, Matt Beleskey and Kyle Palmieri are expected to be retained. Our cap challenged Ducks will have to make a couple of major moves in order to bring back Teemu Selanne and/or Saku Koivu. Even if the Finn Twins signed heavily discounted contracts.
Mat Clark could be held over but he failed to break into the NHL during his EL contract. He might be a late bloomer or he could be semipro grade.

Looking to add – Selanne had 13 points in his last 42 games (combined regular season and playoffs). His ice time dwindled as the season wore on and if he decides to return for another season I will be surprised. The Ducks need a second-line right-winger. Assuming Kyle Palmieri has found a home on the Corey Perry-Ryan Getzlaf line, Bobby Ryan and Emerson Etem (who were only tried on a line together in a couple of games) will need a right-winger.

Dobb’s sticks with the safe assumption that top six jobs are Palmieri’s and Etem’s to lose. That’s how it looks going into camp. Unless Palmnieri has a breakthrough season, expect Coach to continue to spot play Matt Beleskey on the top line, especially when he wants a more physical presence. Emerson Etem is Teemu’s heir apparent.

Ready for full time – Etem played 30 of the last 31 games of the regular season, plus all seven playoff games. Consider him a full-timer with a role that is almost certain to expand. As a result, expect his 0.26 points-per-game average to increase in 2013-14.

Sami Vatanen is a dynamic offensive defenseman who is ready to make the jump full time now that he’s played the North American game for a full season. With 45 points in 62 American League games, plus another two points for Anaheim, he’s clearly adapted well and makes for a must-own in keeper leagues.

Center Peter Holland is ready for a third-line role, though he may be more of a mid-season addition as opposed to breaking camp with the team. Short-term he holds little value, but his long-term outlook as a second-line center is pretty good.

Hulking winger Patrick Maroon is also on the cusp of making the jump. He has potential for 60-plus points, but not for a few years – and only if he’s brought along accordingly. Historically, his production at different levels has taken a couple of years to get rolling and the NHL will be no exception.

Next season looks to similar to this season in that young guys coming up will be asked to replace and improve on veterans moving out. Teemu is already forever remembered but he may not be missed if Bobby Ryan bounces back from an off year and Etem and Palmieri breakthrough.

Adding Sami Vatanen and his right-handed shot will change the zeitgeist of our Ducks blue line. If Dobbs is right that Vatanen produces 30 Points , he’ll bring needed support to our only other genuine puck moving D-man Cam Fowler.

Next season will no different from last season in that we’ll be looking for young guys to establish themselves as bonafide NHL players. Peter Holland and Patrick Maroon don’t have to be anymore than consistent depth forwards. If they can’t though, the GM  will again be bargain shopping for vets like Matthew Lombardi and Radek Dvorak.

Fantasy Outlook: A good team that has a little bit of everything and ample depth in every position. Goaltending is especially strong with Viktor Fasth and Jonas Hiller battling it out for No. 1, with Frederik Andersen also impressing – and John Gibson on the way. If Cam Fowler can take a step forward offensively and Vatanen has a 30-point rookie season, the Ducks should be competitive once again. There are no superstars on the way, but their pipeline is a good one that promises to produce a steady flow of NHL players in all positions. Coach Bruce Boudreau has opened things up for the Ducks and the team finished seventh in goals scored – a trend that should continue.

Pressed against the salary cap in 2013-14 as things stand now, the Ducks may have to trade Bobby Ryan and bring in a cheaper option. How that goes down will have huge waves in fantasy hockey. Fantasy Grade: B- (last year was C-)

Looks like another summer of stupidity when trading Bobby Ryan is the auto-reflex solution to every problem. We already have to replace 35-40 goals lost to the expected retirements of  Selanne and Koivu. While Palmieri and Etem look to be good bets, neither is a certainty.
After losing 35-40 goals, conventional mainstream media wisdom wants us to find a cheap 30 goal scorer to replace Bobby Ryan? Maybe now you get a sense to why I roll my eyes at the notion.
At least they’ve stopped with the trading Jonas Hiller nonsense.
There are other solutions, including but not limited to trading Cogliano and Sbisa. This is likely if DSP takes a step or two forward after his step backward last season and Hampus Lindholm shows any kind of ability to go with his high Hockey IQ.
Another option would be to exercise a compliance buyout of slow-footed Sheldon Souray and pickup a lower cost stay@homer like pending UFA Doug Murray. If you believe Sami Vatanen is 30 points in the bank, we keep the snarl in a Murray and improve on Souray’s offense.

Projected depth chart:

Kyle Palmieri – Ryan Getzlaf – Corey Perry
Bobby Ryan – Nick Bonino – Emerson Etem
Daniel Winnick – David Steckel – Matt Beleskey
Patrick Maroon – Peter Holland - Devante Smith-Pelly

Francois Beauchemin – Ben Lovejoy
Cam Fowler – Sami Vatanen
Bryan Allen – Douglas Murray/Hampus Lindholm

Jonas Hiller – Viktor Fasth

Fantasy Grade: B+

Update: What if sports ran Detroit v. Anaheim 1001 times through their simulator. The result? Anaheim won the simulations 57.5% of the time.

Reading your posts here and from visiting other sites it is readily apparent that many of us remain stuck frozen in the moment of despair and disbelief from witnessing our Ducks go down to defeat in the first round of these playoffs. It especially sucks because we planned to participate in a deeper playoff run that was cut short. We’re challenged to fill the time with something equally exciting as following our Ducks on a deep playoff run. As all hockey fans know there are few things more exciting than sharing the dream with your team during the NHL playoffs.

It’s like getting fired or laid off. One day you’re doing something and planning on doing more. All of a sudden it stops and you’re no longer allowed to continue. It’s over.

Welcome to the playoff blues.

Worse, due to the business of the NHL we aren’t likely to exact revenge on the Red Wings unless and until we meet them in a Cup final. Maybe that’s partly why this one stings a little deeper and hangs over us a little longer. Detroit took the last series in our Ducks only recurring playoff rivalry.

Everybody has reasons for the loss. Heck it might have even been the Second Seed Curse. Bet you didn’t know that second seeds have the worst first round record of the top four seeds since the current playoff format was adopted in 1994. Second seeds are only 20-16. First seeds have won 26 of 36 first round series. Third and fourth seeds have gone 23-13.

While watching the post game presser of Boston Bruins coach Claude Julien he took a moment to mention how thankful he was to still be playing in the second round of the playoffs. Julien talked how his shaky Bruins very nearly lost in the first round.

Of the eight teams that lost in the first round of this year, five, including our Ducks did not make the playoffs last season. Our Ducks had not made it past the first round in 5 years. For key contributors, Andrew Cogliano, Kyle Palmieri and Emerson Etem it was their first playoff experience. Nick Bonino (4), Matt Beleskey (1) have played in less than a handful of playoff games. For others,  Sheldon Souray and Bryan Allen it as their first playoff appearance in seven and nine years respectively. Even Saku Koivu’s Habs and Ducks teams have missed the playoffs in three of his last seven years.

Fact is, other than Teemu Selanne, Francois Beauchemin, Corey Perry and Ryan Getzlaf our Ducks just don’t have big game experience at elite professional levels.

Silver medal winner Bobby Ryan has earned more success in the Olympics than he has in the NHL with our Ducks.

We don’t think of our Ducks as young and inexperienced but when you look at the record even most of our experienced guys lack playoff bonafides.

Even our core doesn’t measure up to the playoff experience of Pavel Datsyuk. Henrik Zetterburg, Nik Kronwall, Dan Cleary, Johan Franzen and Valteri Filppulla.

When Bob Murray said, “They schooled us” our lack of big game playoff experience didn’t occur to me.  This experience illustrates just how far from respectability our Ducks have fallen during the tenure of Robert Gordon Murray.

We simply lacked the experience to beat a been there done that team that knows how to win. No matter how you process it though, that is very good news going forward because this is one young Ducks hockey team.

Last season the Pittsburgh Penguins were defeated in the first round. One year later they’re in the Eastern Conference Final.

Look forward. This loss is just part of a longer journey.