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Position Previews: Left Wing

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The four left wing spots are wide open, and Bruce Boudreau is prepared to give them to whoever earns them in training camp and, of course, shuffle them around during the season.

Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

Andrew Cogliano

Last year: 82 games, 21-21=42 (NHL)

Playoffs: 13 games, 1-6=7 (NHL)

Cogliano's game has taken off since he moved from center to wing a couple years ago, and the 27 year-old is now arguably the Ducks' fourth most valuable forward. He cracked 20 goals for the first time last season, mostly due to his exceptional foot speed and hustle. Bruce Boudreau makes it difficult to predict consistent line combinations, but one idea that's been tossed around is pairing Cogs with Ryan Kesler to form a strong defensive unit that can counterattack like lightning.

Patrick Maroon

Last year: 62 games, 11-18=29 (NHL)

Playoffs: 13 games, 2-5=7 (NHL)

Another player who had a breakout year in 2013-14 was Pat Maroon. He's five inches taller and 50 pounds heavier than Cogs, so it's not much of a surprise that he plays a very different game than the speedster. He's a fourth liner in the defensive and neutral zones, but a first liner below the hash marks. If Heatley goes the way of Dustin Penner, expect to see some Pat up top with the Twins.

Dany Heatley

Lat year: 76 games, 12-16=28 (NHL)

Playoffs: 11 games, 1-5=6 (NHL)

He's scored at least 39 goals six times in his career, but hasn't been near there in years. If the opportunity to play alongside Getzlaf and Perry doesn't rejuvenate the 33 year-old's career, it's likely that nothing will. He still possesses high-end puck skills, but his skating game has fallen off considerably. Hopefully Boudreau's up-tempo offensive style can bring out more in him than Mike Yeo's system did last year. Regardless of what happens, the Dany Heatley storyline will be among the most intriguing of any Ducks player this year.

Matt Beleskey

Last year: 55 games, 9-15=24 (NHL); 3 games, 1-0=1 (AHL)

Playoffs: 5 games, 2-2=4 (NHL)

Newly married Beleskey has had trouble staying healthy, and he missed the end of the second round series against the Kings with a torn abdominal muscle that he has since fully recovered from. He's your ideal fourth-line winger on a realistic NHL team in that he competes hard, creates space for other players, and shows off some skill every once in a while. Enough skill, in fact, that he's seen a lot of time with the Twins on the first line. Don't be surprised to see him there again from time to time.

Emerson Etem

Last year: 29 games, 7-4=11 (NHL); 50 games, 24-30=54 (AHL)

Playoffs: 4 games, 0-0=0 (NHL); 4 games, 0-2=2 (AHL)

Etem's dominance in the 2013 Red Wings series is now ancient history, and this upcoming season could be pivotal for the speedy Long Beach native. When he has the puck, Etem makes NHL-quality plays, but he ended up being a non-factor in most of his appearances with the Ducks last year. With the entire left side of the forward corps up in the air, this year is Etem's best chance to stick with the big club.

Nic Kerdiles

Last year: 6 games, 1-3=4 (AHL); 28 games, 15-23=38 (Big 10)

Playoffs: 10 games, 3-1=4 (AHL)

Kerdiles led the US team in scoring at last year's World Junior Championships, and he was on pace to lead the Big Ten in scoring (eight fewer points than the leader in nine fewer games). His all-around game is exceptional, and assuming he doesn't make the starting roster out of training camp (which might even be a faulty assumption), he will probably get a taste of NHL action as a call-up sooner rather than later. Oh, and he can do this.

Max Friberg

Last year: 74 games, 17-23=40 (AHL)

Playoffs: 10 games, 3-2=5 (AHL)

Yet another solid prospect who will be tearing it up in Norfolk this season. Right now, he's almost certainly below Kerdiles and maybe below Ritchie on the depth chart, but his offensive game could have him in the call-up discussion later this season.

Nick Ritchie

Last year: 61 games, 39-35=74 (OHL)

Playoffs: 11 games, 5-5=10 (OHL)

The tenth overall pick from this year's draft is a big man with a big shot, and he can skate better than you'd expect. Here are some highlights from last year, including a five-goal game. He probably won't make his NHL debut for at least another year so as an 18-year-old that means at least one more year in the OHL with Peterborough.

Antoine Laganiere

Last year: 72 games, 10-8=18 (AHL)

Playoffs: 4 games, 0-0=0 (AHL)

The power forward from Montreal is now more than a year removed from winning the national championship with Yale. He spent all of last year with Norfolk doing his power forward stuff, but not exactly piling up the points. He will need to improve if he is going to have a shot at playing in the NHL in the next few years.

Kenton Helgesen

Last year: 71 games, 10-41=51 (WHL)

Playoffs: 6 games, 1-1=2

Helgesen was a lifelong defenseman until the Calgary Hitmen moved him to forward at the beginning of last season. Predictably, he scored a lot more while maintaining the physical style that had helped him be successful as a blue liner. Whether or not he can duplicate that success in Norfolk this year remains to be seen.

John Kurtz

Last year: 73 games, 5-7=12

Playoffs: 9 games, 1-0=1

25 year-old Kurtz is entering his sixth season in the AHL, and he'll be looking to build on his career-high twelve points last year. And aside from punching a lot of faces . . . that's about it.

Grant Besse

Last year: 36 games, 8-6=14 (Big 10)

The slightly undersized Besse was one of the most prolific scorers in recent Minnesota high school history, and he had mixed success in his first year at the University of Wisconsin. He will look to improve his numbers as he enters his sophomore season.

PROFESSIONAL TRYOUTS

Brad Winchester

Last year: 78 games, 19-19=38 (AHL)

The 33 year-old grinder has spent the last two seasons in the AHL after playing most of seven seasons with the Oilers, Stars, Blues, Ducks, and Sharks. The most points he's ever scored in an NHL season is 21, and that was back in 2008-09. He's a long shot to make the Ducks lineup this season, but he's what the old school folks call a "character guy" so hey, maybe he does have a chance.

Steve MacIntyre

Last year: 11 games, 0-0=0 (AHL)

Another 33 year-old character guy who's been around the block, MacIntyre has even less of a chance of making the lineup. He's got 4 points and 175 penalty minutes in 91 NHL games.