Three Big Questions Facing the Anaheim Ducks

The 3 questions personified - Jeff Gross

Our SB Nation overlords have a trio of questions about this season for the Ducks. I do my best to answer. Be sure to look for our official SBN preview post on Monday.

1. Can the Ducks replace Bobby Ryan?

Yes, next question. OK, I guess i'll elaborate. Jakob Silfverberg is not a direct replacement for Bobby, yet. Last year Silfverberg had ten goals and 19 points in 48 games played (0.39 points per game) while Bobby put up a scoreline of 11-19-30 in 46 games (0.65 points per).

Granted that was Bobby's lowest point per game season since playing only 23 games in 2008 and a shortened rookie season for Silfverberg, but taking the numbers at face value, the rest of the team will only have to cover about a third of his production. Between what we saw in the playoffs and the end of the season from Kyle Palmieri and Emerson Etem, not to mention what should be a bounce back year for Corey Perry, I'm optimistic.

Replacing his adorable lisp, however is a different story.

2. Was Anaheim's shortened season success a mirage?

This morning our resident statistician and inventor of Pizza-metrics, went into this topic in graphic detail. Anyone who paid any attention of any kind to the Ducks last year could tell you that possession stats were not our friend. However, as Kid points out, the Ducks were successful in keeping shots against down, albeit through shot blocking.

The defense this year will look a little bit different. First of all, it's unlikely to get a repeat career year from now 33-year-old Francois Beauchemin, coming from off-season surgery on a torn ACL. Sheldon Souray, a notorious fast starter and slow finisher, will be out until at least December with a wrist injury, and they'll rely on youngsters like Sami Vatanen and maybe even Hampus Lindholm to have breakout years.

From a more intuitive standpoint, there is no doubt that the first two thirds of last season went far better than anyone could have dreamed, and the Ducks rode that wave to the second seed and a first round playoff exit. The wendepunkt (turning point in German, for non-GFOPs) was the thrilling Mar. 20 comeback against Chicago. Through 29 games the Ducks went 22-3-4 (75.8 winning percentage), and finished the year 8-9-2 (42.1% winning percentage) in their last 19, before losing four of seven in the playoffs.

So, the possibility certainly exists to prove that 2013 was a fluke, and I'd certainly expect some kind of drop off, but I wouldn't go as far as to say it was a mirage.

3. How many memories does Teemu Selanne make on his final go-around?

Less than 82. He started last season with 15 points in his first 11 games, at age 42, but a closer look at that stretch shows two four point games and a three pointer. After that he had five streaks of three or more scoreless games (including two five game stretches). Similarly he had three points in his first three playoff games, and none in the last four.

I'm not sure what the over/under is on games played for the Finnish Flash this year, but with another compressed schedule (thanks to the Olympics this time) he'll be due some days off to keep those flashes of brilliance (no pun intended) more consistent.

Then again, if he somehow finds a way to pot 25 goals, reaching the 700 mark for his career, there might be a few extra babies born in Anaheim and Helsinki area hospitals.

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