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.