Because we’re all doing this, I wanted to make some picks that I think are defensible, but may not be everyone’s first inclination. With that said…
Most Valuable Duck: Francois Beauchemin – We’ve always known that Beauch is an absolutely stud defensive player, but this offensive explosion was definitely unexpected. So while the +17 (!!!) is nice, it’s the 16 points in 24 games that’s blown us all away. This season, Beauch has literally doubled his point per game output, as it’s currently 0.67 versus a career average of 0.33. If Saku Koivu doesn’t re-sign with the team, I gotta think Franky is a strong contender for an "A" next season.
Runner Up: Ryan Getzlaf
Least Valuable Duck: Brad Stuabitz – I really wanted to pick someone else, but fuck that guy. Seriously.
Please get him off my team.
Biggest Surprise: Sheldon Souray – For a guy that was much maligned when he was signed (more for the length than anything else), Souray has definitely made me eat some crow. He’s cooled off from his torrid start to the season, but his current 0.43 points per game ranks above his career average of 0.40. Not only has his bomb been a weapon on the power play (and seriously, there’s nothing funnier than Ducks and their enemies bailing out when he winds up), it’s his defensive play that’s most surprised me. He has the second best Corsi on the team among defensemen and his +17 is one-off his career high for a season. He’s been a tremendous asset to this team, and Bruce has managed him well by keeping him in situations where he’s designed to succeed.
Runner Up: Andrew Cogliano
Biggest Disappointment: The Incessant Line Shuffling – I know it’s not a player, and obviously it’s led to outstanding results for us, but sometimes I can’t help but think Bruce’s constant juggling (both of his lines and his roster) is robbing some of our guys of the ability to gel. While the third line has been together almost all season, guys like Nick Bonino, Bobby Ryan, and Kyle Palmieri have shuttled up and down the lines. One of the things I really liked from last season was the Bonino/Ryan/Palmieri combo, but they haven’t had much of a chance to replicate their success this year. And while the top line has been rolling of late, Teemu Selanne has struggled of late since he’s not been able to develop chemistry with any player on a consistent basis. I also think that some of our younger guys have been hurt by this, since they’ve had very limited opportunities to learn on the job, especially in top-6 scenarios.
Runner Up: Our thirds aren’t our primary jerseys yet. Just do it already, guys.
140 Character Prediction for the Second Half – Anaheim continues their miracle run and snags the President’s Trophy. Makes the WCF but loses to St. Louis. Perry walks on July 1.