Takeaways: The Defense May In Fact Be Salvageable

Marianne Helm

Welcome to the first edition of a weekly feature in which I will interpret the play of our beloved Ducks in ways that may or may not align with how you, our valued reader, see the game.

While the Ducks began the season stacked with wingers and goalies, they appeared to lack depth at center and defense. Three games is a small sample size to be sure, but we've learned a lot from these three games, and most of it is encouraging.

1. Mathieu Perreault might just pan out as a solid second line center. He is noteworthy for neither his physical presence nor his defensive acumen, but his offensive ability may be able to make up for that. If the Getzlaf and Koivu lines can match up against the opposition's best, Perreault's line has the chance to be a major difference maker throughout the season. Let's not get into the potential line combinations too much — there are far too many of them to consider all the options here — but the duo of Perreault and Jakob Silfverberg has been the Ducks' most dangerous as of yet.

2. Bryan Allen and Sami Vatanen make a pretty decent pairing. This one is a little bit mind boggling. You've got one guy who can hardly skate or handle the puck and another guy who is really good at both of those things but virtually nothing else, and somehow they are holding their own. Allen has cut down on his mistakes a lot. If you don't believe me, go back and watch his first three games last year. And while Vatanen isn't without his defensive shortcomings (Remember when he tried to hit an onrushing Evander Kane on Sunday?), he has been doing a good job of picking his spots and joining the play.

3. Cam Fowler is good at defense. His offense definitely isn't where most of us were hoping it would be — and there's still time — but he has been able to use that fantastic skating ability to take away time and space from attacking players. If he can join the rush a little more often — especially when paired with reliable Ben Lovejoy — good things will happen.

4. Ryan Getzlaf, Corey Perry, and Francois Beauchemin need to step up their respective games. Arguably the Ducks' three best players, this trio has not performed well. Beauch is, admittedly, coming off a very fast recovery from his second career ACL tear, but some his most glaring mistakes have been mental, not physical. The Twins, on the other hand, have flat out failed to generate scoring chances on most of their shifts. They looked better in the third period of Sunday's game, however, and Perry's no-hesitation goal is bound to help his confidence.

5. The penalty kill is awful. Play the Twins less? Play Silfverberg and Bonino more? Build a time machine and grab a healthy Emerson Etem from the future? (I guess if we can do that we should probably also grab Sami Pahlsson from 2007. And why stop there? Nieds, Pronger . . .) I suspect Boudreau will spend a lot of time between now and the home opener on Thursday working with the PK. Let's hope he's not wasting his time.

6. Hampus Lindholm will force the front office to do a lot of thinking. One game is a very small sample size, but "Magnus", as he is known to Bob Miller, held his own in his NHL debut. If he still looks good eight games from now with his entry level contract ready to kick in, our other favorite Bob will have a tough choice to make.

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