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Road to the Season: Power Play Preview

The Ducks return almost all of their players for the top unit PP, but is that a good thing?

Can this man save our power play?
Can this man save our power play?
John Grieshop

While the Ducks lost a few players this off-season, the power play doesn’t figure to be all that different in 2013. Newcomer Sheldon Souray slots into the departed Lubmoir Visnovsky’s spot at the point, but otherwise, the top unit will be composed of Teemu Selanne, Ryan Getzlaf, Corey Perry, and Cam Fowler.

But is that a good thing?

Last season, the Ducks only scored on 16.6% of their PP opportunities, good for just 21st in the league. The season before, Anaheim managed to score on 23.5% of their possessions, which was tied for the second-best overall. Was last season an aberration, or has something happened to the once-vaunted unit?

If I can speculate for a moment, I’d say that a big part of last season’s decline can be attributed to one Ryan Getzlaf. Getz has almost become legendary for his abject refusal to shoot, even when wide open. While his playmaking passes often benefit Corey Perry, the captain’s refusal to shoot with the man advantage pretty much eliminates said advantage. Getzlaf has one of the heaviest shots on the team, but if he refuses to use it, the strength of that shot goes to waste.

To be fair, Lubo also struggled last year on the PP. One can only hope that if the Souray signing is to have any value, it will be with the man advantage. I don’t think Souray will play on both units, but I would expect him to be on the ice for most of Anaheim’s power plays.

As for the second unit, it figures to be composed of Bobby Ryan, Saku Koivu, Devante Smith-Pelly, Francois Beauchemin, and Luca Sbisa. Nick Bonino and Andrew Cogliano will also likely get some time on the second unit, and it’s conceivable that Bobby Ryan will get some time on the top unit at various points throughout the season. If this truly is Teemu Selanne’s last season, it would be nice to see how Bobby could fare with increased PP time.

If the Ducks are to have more success in 2013, they must figure out a way to kick-start the PP. With the compacted schedule, they won’t have the luxury of waiting and seeing if things get better. If the team slumps out of the gate with the man advantage, I would hope and expect Bruce Boudreau to shake things up.