Thought I'd share this. The subtitle of the article is "Another playoff appearance glosses over the fact that the Ducks lack depth".
A fantastic record in one-goal games helped Anaheim secure its fifth postseason appearance since the lockout despite being absolutely dominated at even strength all year.
Excellent performances by Ryan Getzlaf, Lubomir Visnovsky, Bobby Ryan,Jonas Hiller, the ageless Teemu Selanne and Hart Trophy winner Corey Perry covered up Anaheim's troubling lack of secondary talent.
Still, there's at least one blueliner in line for a huge season, per VUKOTA's projections. And it's probably not the one you'd guess.
Trending up: D Kurtis Foster
Last season: 1.5 GVT | VUKOTA projection: 6.1 GVT
The 6-foot-5 Foster toiled for years on Minnesota's third blue-line unit before finally breaking loose in Tampa Bay with a 42-point season in 2009-10.
Unfortunately Foster couldn't find the same success in Edmonton last year and was traded to Anaheim for fellow giant Andy Sutton this offseason.
Foster will turn 30 in the last year of his contract and has both the incentive and opportunity to play far more than his usual 17 minutes and put up another career season.
Trending down: D Lubomir Visnovsky
Last season: 19.2 GVT | VUKOTA projection: 11.5 GVT
At age 34, Visnovsky improved his scoring from 45 points to a career-high 68 while also improving his plus/minus by 28 goals and earning a spot on his second All-Star team.
Being pressed for ice time by sophomore Cam Fowler and reliable veterans Toni Lydman,Francois Beauchemin and Foster, the 35-year-old Slovakian is unlikely to finish in the top 10 in assists again this season.
Name to know -- RW Kyle Palmieri
At the beginning of the 2009 draft season, you would have been hard-pressed to find many scouts who thought Palmieri was going to be a first-round pick.
It also would have been hard to find anyone who thought Palmieri -- in his age-19 season -- could play a few games in the NHL while leading his AHL team in scoring and obtaining AHL All-Star honors. Not to mention being on the fast track to becoming a top-six player in the best league in the world.
But Palmieri is a skilled winger with above-average puck skills, good offensive awareness, a great shot and a simply tremendous two-way work ethic that helps him overcome the fact he doesn't have a blazing top gear for a player shorter than 6-foot.
He's a good defensive forward who can be an asset on the penalty kill. Palmieri still needs to bulk up a little bit from where he was last year to really be effective at the top level, but expect him to be on the opening day roster.
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