The trade deadline is only three weeks away, and the only thing fans love more than trade speculation is winning a Cup and Goalie Fights! We'll get back to goalie fights. Right now, I've put together a list of general areas in which the Ducks need improvement. This list probably won't be too much of a surprise, but it's a chance for us to summarize and discuss options.
Top 4 D:
Ok, we've been talking about it all year. The defense seems to be coming together, but I still think Cam needs a legit top 4 guy who can foster his growth. Lilja has been doing an admirable job, but he's more of a bottom pair guy. He provides great PK work and shores up the corps. The best option remains, in my opinion, Beauchemin. The likes of Chris Phillips and Chris Campoli in Ottawa, Bryan McCabe in Florida, and Rotislav Klesla are available for the grabbing. Depending on the day of the week, Tomas Kaberle might be available. The Oilers want to move Souray...still. There are a few options out there if Murray is willing to pay the price. This is the most important upgrade. Murray needs to dig deep and get someone who can solidify the back end and start making a few forwards pay the price for hanging out in the crease.
The Ducks really need a shutdown forward. Koivu's been doing well, but he's the second line center and needs more favorable matchups. The top line needs to get scoring opportunities instead of defensive assignments, you know, because they score. When you run three scoring lines it's important to have a great collection of two-way forwards. We don't. If Columbus does decide to be a seller, the Ducks need to call about Pahlsson. He was a unique collection of offensive talent and defensive tenacity. I'm still bitter he didn't win the Selke in 2007. Letting him go probably wasn't Murray's biggest mistake, but it's close. If Minnesota falls out of the race, John Madden might become available. Maybe even Rob Niedermayer would like a trip back to California.
The Blake Upgrade:
When I look back at the top 2 lines of our 2007 Cup team, I sometimes wonder if it was a miracle we won. I imagine Selanne has to be getting frustrated with Blake's Jim West approach to offense (Shoot first, shoot second, shoot some more and then when the puck is in the goalie's logo look for a passing option). It's easy to like the work Blake does and his willingness to go to dirty areas. It's tougher to like his inability to create truly dangerous scoring opportunities. Blake's success this year seems to be more luck than anything else.
As such, we need an upgrade for the second line. Rumors about Dustin Penner intrique me. We could reunite PPG and let Bobby drop down to the second line. Forsberg's signing in Colorado makes my Kariya wish a little less crazy. I understand the options are limited; I'm not interested in Kovalev. Still, if the opportunity presents itself, Murray needs to get Koivu and Selanne a winger who helps more than he wastes scoring opportunities
The Ducks don't have anybody with NHL experience after Hiller and McElhinney. They need to get someone to wait...what? Murray signed Emery? Every now and then, I think Murray knows I want him fired, and he does things that make a little bit of sense. Too bad they don't make up for all the blunders. Still, it's a step in the right direction, and hey GOALIE FIGHT!!!!!