Posted: 6/22/2011 8:01:30 PM
The Ducks are way too loose defensively for my taste and Hiller's health leaves them with a huge question mark in goal. Anaheim has that great first line and a couple of very good offensive defensemen in Visnovsky and Fowler, but their defensive zone coverage in general is horrible and their forwards don't back check as hard as they should.
They are entertaining to watch because they create a lot of chances offensively and also give up a ton of shots on goal, but that usually isn't a recipe for playoff success. I really think they need another reliable blue liner that thinks defense first to help balance out that crew.
Allowing at least 3 goals in every playoff game vs a piss poor offensive team like Nashville tells you that there has to be a change of philosophy of how they approach games. Perhaps they fell into a false sense of security when Hiller was playing because he would often bail them out. The Ducks are normally one of teams that gives up the most shots on goal every year and that has to change regardless of what goalie is minding the net.
I know Selanne did a Ponce De Leon impersonation this past year, but I suspect that was his last year of excellent production and maybe his last year period. God knows that Getzlaf's line is probably the toughest line in the NHL to defend right now because they can beat you with fancy goals and obviously they can control the play down low with their excellent size. But it has always seemed to me that the Duck have lacked consistent scoring from the 2nd line. This past year was probably the best production the Ducks have received from their 2nd line since their Cup winning year. If memory serves they had Kunitz, McDonald, and Selanne on the 2nd line that year playing behind Penner, Getzlaf, and Perry.
Again, a huge improvement in team defense is a must. We can argue that a healthy Hiller solves that problem right away, but I'm sure you have watched enough of their games to agree that they are too loose defensively to win it all unless Hiller stands on his head for 4 rounds. Hell, if Hiller isn't 100% they will probably struggle to make the playoffs in the very deep Western conference.
It seems that Winnipeg is on the right track, but in their case, I think they have to walk before they can run. They are another team that is poor defensively and they need an upgrade in goal. Most, if not all of their defensemen are offensive minded, but aren't exactly the type of guys to shut down opposing teams top lines.
Trades and/or free agency is a must for that blue line. It is about time for Bogosian to garbage or get off the pot. I know defenseman take longer to mature, but he must make a nice jump in his game in 2011-12 or else he will go from great prospect to suspect. I'm sure the management of Winnipeg would love a trade offer for him similar to the one St. Louis got for Erik Johnson. They can dream, can't they?
They also desperately need a true #1 center. Burmistrov looks like he will be an excellent two way centerman, but is his ceiling that of a #1 type center? I doubt it, but who knows. A couple of years ago it looked like Little could be a nice top two line forward, but it appears that being both small and a fairly slow has caught up to him. Kane looks like he has a chance to be a stud, but he will need some help. Ladd overachieved this past year. I like him, but his role was perfect in Chicago (3rd line grinder with size that chips in offensively). If he is your highest scoring winger, your team has major problems. Antropov is Antropov.......... enough said.
The move to Winnipeg should be invigorating for this team, but there are way too many holes to fill right now. At least Kane and Burmistrov should form a nice duo for many years to come.
I agree 100% regarding old #68. Jagr was washed up 5 years ago. Time to hang 'em up Jaromir!