No point in dancing around the subject, things aren't too shabby in Anaheim right now.
Rollin, rollin, rollin…
The Ducks, for the first time in who knows how long, are rolling four lines and they’re doing it well. Case in point, in the Ducks 3-0 victory over the Avalanche on Wednesday night, we saw the forwards’ time on ice vary from Brad Staubitz’s 9:56 (low) to Saku Koivu’s 17:30 (high). Take into consideration Staubitz spent at least five minuets in the box for getting his ass beat and Koivu spent time on both the PP and PK units. The team average for forwards was just around 15:00 for the game.
Gone are the days when players like Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry play in the upwards of 21:00 to 22:00 minutes. Likewise, gone (we hope) are the days when all of the pressure is set squarely on the top two lines to produce the teams’ offense (and therefore putting them on the ice for extended periods of time…yada yada, it’s a vicious cycle, really). On the flip side, this might continue to stunt players like Perry who mentioned that he’s yet to get back into the grove of NHL hockey and is not producing like we’d expect/hope for.
Speaking of the twins…
Perry is somewhat flying under the radar at this point and a big reason for that is because his team is 7-1-1 and off to their best start since 2006-07. That being said, one way or another, this probably wont last long. People will begin to get inpatient with Perry’s lack of production and start to look into what he’s not doing on the ice - or he'll get it figured out and start producing. He’s got one point in the last five games, and only five points overall (1-4=5). Sure, this season is a bit of an exception, and unlike some of his teammates, he didn’t spend any time playing hockey elsewhere on a regular basis.
On the other side of the duo, Getzlaf is actually playing quite well. His faceoff percentage is up from 47.2% in 2011-12, to 54.5% so far this season. In addition, and this might be the most shocking…the guy is shooting the puck! How much? Well, more than anyone else on Anaheim’s roster. I know. I should have warned you to take a seat first. The season is young, but these numbers might point to the idea that Getzlaf is more useful with less time on the ice and Perry is a player in need of more game time to keep his momentum going. Or, these assumptions could be washed out in the next nine games.
This was a topic of discussion on Twitter recently, and for good reason, there’s still some lingering questions around Anaheim’s defense. Cam Fowler was brutally boarded in the game against Los Angeles (and was not rightfully justified with a Jared Stoll suspension). Let’s not get me started on what I think should have happened as a result of that play. Anyway, since then the Ducks have brought on Ben Lovejoy. It offers up the question as to why the Ducks acquired the young defensman and if it has anything to do with a projected amount of time that they might be without the blossoming Fowler.
The other question is if it’s a replacement for some of the other defenseman on the team. I won’t offer up my obvious viewpoints on a few of Anaheim’s current D-men (ahemAllenahem) but I will allow you all to speculate on the reason that we’re seeing Lovejoy being, most likely, inserted into Anaheim’s lineup. Is Fowler going to be out for some outrageous amount of time? Is there a huge question mark on some of the current blue liners? Is Toni Lydman on his way out? What about the work of Sami Vatanen who’s showing some promise in his NHL debut? Questions, questions!!!