All good things must come to an end. Ok, maybe this season wasn't exactly a good thing, but hey, it kinda ended well. It's been a pleasure bringing you Ducks stuff this season and we'll continue to do so while other teams aren't yet enjoying their off-season. You can count on us to be the number one site for anti-Kings and anti-Sharks playoff coverage. We'll also have some coverage of World Championships featuring a couple Ducks. Oh and the draft! This is the highest draft pick for the Ducks since Bobby Ryan was drafted number two overall. Busy summer ahead.
This game is practically a pre-season game. Calgary isn't in the playoffs as well, so I expect effort to be at 65% on both teams. With that being said we're going to do something a little different. After the jump, all the writers will be giving you their MVP and LVP on the season, and the number one priority for the Ducks this off-season. You guys can discuss our choices during the most irrelevant game of the entire season. Enjoy!
MVP - Bruce Boudreau. Yeah, he's not a player, but I make the rules. It make have taken Boudreau and his team a little while to get in sync, but when they did - holy crap. Think about it, the Ducks went 24-13-6 in 2012. That is unreal considering the holes in the lineup. Boudreau got this team to have fun again, and whatever fire he lit under Getzlaf in the last few weeks is huge. I can't wait to see what he can do with an off-season to build the team he needs and how they play for him in an full season.
LVP - Toni Lydman. Last season, Lydman was a revelation and looked like an absolute steal with 3 goals, 22 assists and tied for a league high plus-32 in 78 games played. He was the steady, shutdown defensemen the Ducks needed. This season? Not so much. In 73 games, he has 0 goals, 13 assists and is an even plus/minus. His stats 2ould be worse if it wasn't for his defensive partner, Sheldon Brookbank, who is having a career year. I can only assume Toni and Sheldon went through a 'Freaky Friday' situation this season.
#1 Priority - The Samueli's need to sell off some of their Broadcom stock and open up the pocketbook because I want a big-name free agent. It's not so much of a team need as it is a fan need. I go back to when the Ducks acquired Chris Pronger. As a player he pushed the team over the top. As a marking tool, he re-invigorated the fan base. You have to spend money to make money, and they only make a profit on the season when there are butts in the seats and the Ducks go far in the playoffs. Examples of said player would be: Zach Parise and/or Shea Weber.
MVP - Francois Beauchemin. When it seemed the Ducks were looking for some leadership from someone other than the guys with the actual letters on their chest, Beauchemin was the one to step up. He's a different guy from the player who was in Anaheim back in '07 and I like this version. He's smart, strong and a leader. The Ducks need more guys like that.
LVP - Andrew Cogliano. I had high hopes for this guy. I'm really disappointed in what we got out of him. After having visited Edmonton this past week, I can honestly say he should be playing LIGHTS OUT everyday just because he's grateful to be in any city other than Edmonton (sorry, Edmontonions, but it's true). Perhaps we got the best out of him anyway, but that's just not enough.
#1 Priority - I think the Ducks really need to focus on replacing the likely to be gone Finns (at least one of them anyway) and pick up a top 4 defenseman. We saw that this Ducks team can be capable of playing well, they're just missing a few key elements.
MVP - Devante Smith-Pelly. He made the Ducks exciting this year, and he was a sample of what the future holds Given that this season was pretty much over after the first two months, the development of Devo kept me interested, and I think that's valuable.
LVP - Bobby Ryan. I'm just kidding. My real least valuable player is Andrew Cogliano. He just didn't live up to the contract. He's not going to reach 30 points, unless he has an amazing day today. Cogs was supposed to provide depth scoring and anchor the third line, but he was practically invisible until the second half of the season.
#1 Priority - The one thing the Ducks have to do this summer is fire Bob Murray. Ok, that's wishful thinking. I'll settle for signing Justin Schultz. Losing a prospect of that caliber will have many repercussions that might set this organization farther back than we realize.
MVP - Jonas Hiller. I can't say Selanne, because even if we don't expect it, he still always delivers. Perry as well. Hiller, who was a giant question mark coming into the season, has found Vezina-like form since the New Year. Timely saves, miniscule numbers and wholly consistent play is why he's my MVP.
LVP - Ben Maxwell/Kurtis Foster. Anytime a player suits up for the Ducks and does what they're told, I can appreciate them. Even Jason Blake. Ben Maxwell lasted only a handful of games here, and in the games that Kurtis Foster did play (remember his attempt to tie the shootout against LA?), he played horribly. So by definition, they were, to me, the least valuable players for Anaheim this season.
#1 Priority - First-Line LW. Ryan Getzlaf, when he is playing his best, makes this team what it is. A #1 Centre by definition does that. So when Getzlaf - and Perry for that matter - have a revolving door at left-wing, they can't play consistently. DSP has played well, but he's better suited on the 3rd line. Blake? Hagman? Not the right answers. Anaheim needs a Dustin Penner-like (or even Dustin Penner) presence on the first line if they want to return to the post-season.
MVP - Teemu Selanne. Second oldest player to lead his team in scoring ever. Greatest Duck of all time. Nobody else deserves it.
LVP - Ryan Getzlaf. Worst goal total of his career, worst point total since his rookie season. His lack of effort and mental fragility in the first half permeated the team and they were never able to recover.
#1 Priority - Sign Samuel Pahlsson. Especially if Teemu and Saku Koivu leave over the summer. Somebody has to win some faceoffs next year and with his veteran presence/defensive responsibility will help with the infusion of youth that is bound to come from guys like Emerson Etem and Kyle Palmieri. Plus as Jen noted in one of my first posts here at AC just about every, long time, male Ducks fan has a man crush on Sammy.
MVP - Jonas Hiller. A healthy Hiller is a HUGE positive. Going into this season, nobody was sure if Jonas was even going to play with regularity, much less effectively. Jonas' play this season should give the Ducks some confidence moving forward as Hiller has shown he can still be one of the elite tenders in the game and gives them a chance to win night in and night out.
LVP - Lubomir Visnovsky. I hate to do it because I love the guy, but Lubo killed us this year. After a career year, all of us were expecting Visnovsky to at least contribute somewhat consistently on offense. Unfortunately, Lubo not only disappeared on the scoresheet, but his defensive game also took a huge step backward. For a guy that was supposed to be one of the pillars of the team, Lubo's play this season has been a monumental disappointment.
#1 Priority - I think the Ducks need a legit second line center. I love Saku Koivu, but he was used more often in defensive roles than offensive ones this year. And with Koivu's future up in the air, and the kids probably not quite ready to assume that role, I think a scoring center is in order. Most people will probably complain about defense but one of this team's biggest issues this year was scoring.
MVP - Teemu Selanne. The head, the heart, the hands, the wheels, the awesomeness.
LVP - Jason Blake. I admire his hustle, but he tends to be a liability on the ice.
#1 Priority - We could definitely use some more depth at center, but I believe that our most urgent need is a shutdown defenseman. Our D corps is either very young or very old, and we lack a real #1, big-minute stud.
MVP - Jonas Hiller. I still don't think people realize how important Hiller is to this team. Without him we are bottom dwellers. After last season's vertigo/concussion problems there were some serious questions with Anaheim's goaltending future entering this season. Hiller's play, consistency, and health have provide stability for the Ducks in the NHL's most important position moving forward.
LVP - Jason Blake. I know he has a personal life, but as a professional hockey player I hate Jason Blake. If he was on the ice this season he was terrible, and if he was off the ice the Ducks could not find a way to win. I will cry tears of joy the day Jason Blake and his over inflated contract leave this organization because it will mean better players on the ice and better money spent.
#1 Priority - The Ducks are desperately in need of a defensive center. Someone who can win faceoffs, play tough minutes, and play the PK. Not only would it help the team shutdown other teams top lines and the team's overall defense, but it would also help the offense of Getzlaf and everyone else on the Ducks roster. A defensive center can improve everyone's play, while also giving assistance to the Ducks somewhat under talented defensemen.