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Three Big Questions for the 2014-15 Anaheim Ducks Season

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While the Ducks consider themselves to be improving from their Pacific Division Title and second round exit last year, questions still abound at most positions. Here are the three biggest from the SBN Season Preview and some of the possibilities.

Anne-Marie Sorvin-USA TODAY Spor

1. What is going on in net?

After having stalwart (but somewhat inconsistent, especially after the dome injury) Jonas Hiller between the pipes for so many years, the Ducks are entering into a season with two relatively unproven players in Frederik Andersen and John Gibson as the netminding duo. This has some people, and perhaps rightfully so, questioning the success Anaheim will have from the position going forward.

Andersen has put up strong numbers for the Ducks, but is it a case of his performing well in a small sample? His history of play elsewhere suggests he's very good, but will that hold up? Similarly, as a very large but agile human, is he going to be prone to the type of injury that caused Boudreau to start Gibson in the playoffs?

Is Gibson the goaltending wunderkind the pro scouts have made him out to be? Is his performance for the national program a sign of his true play, or is he forever going to be labeled as the rookie who was overwhelmed by the Los Angeles Kings in a game seven?

2. What will the Ducks blue line corps look like?

After trading Dustin Penner away for a pick that was used to get the unfortunately injured Stephane Robidas at the last trade deadline, the only move Anaheim GM Bob Murray has made on the blue line is sign the analytics nightmare, Clayton Stoner. (He also inked Sami Vatanen to a one-way contract, to be fair.) This begs the question: what the hell will the team's defense, which was already pretty questionable last season, look like this year?

Will Boudreau play Vatanen, who projects to be a strong defender, more than third pairing minutes? Will Francois Beauchemin rebound from his largely average year now with an offseason spent healing and not in surgery? Will Hampus Lindholm continue to progress in his second year with the club? Is Cam Fowler finally ready to ascend into the ranks as a legitimate number-one defenseman in this league? Will Stoner be shot into the sun using the cannon in Columbus or some other nefarious means we're unaware of?

3. Do the Ducks have a third line center?

With Anaheim dealing Nick Bonino to the Vancouver Canucks as part of its package for Ryan Kesler and allowing the underrated (except by this writer) Mathieu Perreault reach unrestricted free agency, there is a dearth of centers behind the top two. The team added Nate Thompson in the offseason, but he seems destined to play a fourth line role based on his historical usage. What will the Ducks do to fill that third line pivot?

Rickard Rakell is by all reports ready to play in the NHL. There are also a few center options on the Norfolk Admirals that should stock the position - but that is still a year off. Will Rakell get an honest look at third line responsibilities? Will Anaheim experiment with Jakob Silfverberg in the middle, as it had a preseason ago (as well as in one or two games last season)? Is there another trade in the works once camps start up and the season gets near?