"Yes, there’s a Plan B. We’d have to do some things that I don’t want to discuss right now... but we’d have to look at building the team a different way... That time is going to come. Of course, we talk about it."
Surely, many of you have read these recent comments by Ducks' GM Bob Murray regarding the prospects of a 2011-2012 Anaheim Ducks Team without future Hall of Famer, Teemu Selanne, and surely, just as many of you have feared to wonder too much about such prospects as we all wait optimistic about the chances of seeing the Finnish Flash's return to the Pond. However, with the anxiety of anticipation in full swing, I thought it might be fun to formulate our own "Plan B." But since Murray already made claim to that name, I figured our plan would most obviously be named "Plan C."
Intuition tells me that Bob and Randy (Carlyle), and all other Ducks' personnels involved in these types of matters, in all likelihood have already chatted at some length about this precise topic. Charting organizational depth on dry-erase boards, conferencing with scouts and coaches, debates in the depths of Ponda war rooms; It is very likely each step of the way a coach formulates which 20 players he might have suit up if he had to jot down a lineup each week. From this mindframe, I assumed the role of a coach having to "jot down" my lineup if the season started today.
The idea behind this exercise is really to see what we have now on the Ducks depth charts. I'll focus on the forwards here since we are discussing the hypothetical situation of a playing without the Great Fin. Here is the list of Ducks who will be competing for a spot on our Ducks this upcoming training camp:
Breaking it down further, the lack of depth is apparent. This is of course speaking in terms of NHL experience. Devante Smith-Pelly (or Devo) has been a phenom in St. Michael's, Andrew Gordon is one of the AHL's leading scorers, and we all know about Mr. Emerson Etem...
|Bobby Ryan||Ryan Getzlaf||Corey Perry|
|Jason Blake||Saku Koivu||Kyle Palmieri|
|Brandon McMillan||Andrew Cogliano||Devante Smith-Pelly|
|Matt Beleskey||Nick Bonino||George Parros|
|Emerson Etem||Nicolas Deschamps||Dan Sexton|
|Mark Bell||Richard Schofield||Patrick Maroon|
|Jean-Francois Jacques||Peter Holland||Andrew Gordon|
|Josh Brittain||Maxime Macenauer||Brian McGrattan|
It would be tough for this current lineup to really make noise in such a stacked division. That said, here is one lineup I think would have a good combination of grit and speed throughout.
Etem- Getzlaf- Perry
Ryan- Koivu- Smith-Pelly
Cogliano- Bonino- Palmieri
Beleskey- McMillan- Parros
As Daniel has mentioned ad nauseam, the Ducks lack a true "checking" presence in their bottom 6. However, I do think that players like Bonino, McMillan, Koivu and Cogliano are sound two-way players. Additionally, the big three (RPG) have become much better defensively over the last year and this team, though not defensive in any certain terms, this team would be formitable and scrappy.
If you add in the fact that players like Blake, Bell, Patrick Maroon don't shy away from contact and a spark plug like Sexton can be inserted into a lineup at will. Scrappy. Ducks Hockey.
This wouldn't be the ideal situation, obviously, but I think this team would still have very good team speed. If this were the case, I foresee the Ducks' front office possibly sitting on their hands until the preseason or end of training camp to see just how far along players like Devo, Etem and Palmieri have come in their development. Though I have been skeptical in the pass of these two, I also see Beleskey and Bonino especially the latter having a pretty pronounced role on this team next season. I'd also like to see Carlyle sit Big George some 20 games so we can get a look at Patrick Maroon or J.F. Jacques. I would also not be surprised if Mark Bell makes the team out of camp.
Now I know this may seem like bad "magumbo" thinking ahead past Teemu's return, so I am now knocking on wood, crossing fingers, horseshoe, rabbit footing to combat these evil thoughts.