Best: Exceeding Expectations
Well, the season is over.
This ending hurts, but there are still plenty of reasons to be happy. The Ducks came out of nowhere to beat two more Alberta teams to make it to another Western Conference Final. Not many people saw Anaheim winning the Pacific Division yet alone making the playoffs. Even a Carlyle coached team was able to show signs of success throughout the year. Maybe the cup window is not closed after all.
Worst: Lack of Depth
It was a miracle that Anaheim played as well as they did in Game 6 given their roster. The team was so decimated that they had Chris Wagner playing on the second power play unit. It is not leadership’s fault that two 30-goal scorers and the starting goalie went down with injuries, but the situation did show how lackluster the team’s bottom six was. How many more over the hill players do the Ducks need to sign during free agency to finally realize that it is time to go in a different direction? Remember Mason Raymond? The first half of the season was all the second line. The second half and the postseason was the top line plus Silfverberg. On a team that prides itself on a 200-foot game, the Ducks simply do not have enough goal scorers (and lefty shooters).
Best: Ryan Getzlaf
For all the talk about how the Predators were down their top two centers for the last two games, Anaheim has been down to one reliable, offensive center since the All-Star break. Getzlaf continued to carry his team to the very end and picked up . The Captain finished with 8 goals and 11 assists for a total of 19 points in 17 games. That brings him up to 118 points in 121 career playoff games. All the guy does is drive results. Hopefully as he ages he can keep up some of his elite play, but whoever the general manager is needs to find him a helpful supporting cast. Please get him a left-handed left wing that can create plays with speed. Oh, and never separate him from Corey Perry.
In a game where everything could be considered a worst, it was hard to narrow it down to two. The team’s inability to stay out of the penalty box has to be addressed heading into the offseason. Nick Ritchie took a five-minute boarding penalty in the first period. He received a five-minute major and a game misconduct. What made the play even worse is that the Ducks were already down 2-0 by that point, yet were still threatening to get back into the game. Ritchie has already been suspended once this postseason and most likely would have been again. The young winger needs a reality check during the summer if he does not want to face further discipline going forward.
In addition, the game was all but over after two empty net goals when Kevin Bieksa decided to go after some of the Nashville skaters. It is understandable that a player can be disappointed about losing after a hard fought series. But that is the response he chose? Skate away, shake the opponents’ hands, and vent to your teammates in the locker room. If Anaheim wants the league and its fans to not see the team as dirty, the squad needs to make an effort to not play at that level.
Carlyle was supposedly brought in to keep the players accountable. Did he do that as well as he could have this year?
3. PK Subban
2. Pekka Rinne
1. Colton Sissons