Anaheim Ducks preview

Overview: The Anaheim Ducks are looking to make it back to the playoffs after a disappointing turn of events the past couple of years.

After winning the Stanley Cup in 2007, the Ducks have won only one playoff series, and missed the playoffs next season. Their older players are retiring, meaning the team needs to lean on a younger group to be their leaders.

I think this is the year those guys start moving forward, and start forging their own legacy.

Best offseason move: Signing Bobby Ryan to a long-term deal. A lot of people are high on this Ryan kid, with good reason. He was a nominee for the Calder trophy two seasons ago. He improved on his rookie season the following year (more difficult than you think). So signing him to a long-term deal (five years) for a reasonable salary cap hit ($5.1 million a year).

Worst offseason move: Not improving their defence. It’s hard to replace soon to be hall of famer Scott Niedermayer, who retired this past year. Right now, they have Lubomir Visnovsky, and five other guys who don’t do much. Sure, Andy Sutton might be able to knock guys down, but he’s also caught out of position often while trying to hit guys. The rest of the defence are made up of guys who would be fifth and sixth defencemen on most other teams.

Dark horse trophy candidate: Jonas Hiller for the Vezina.

Pool pick: Teemu Selanne. He may fly under the radar for some people, as he had only 48 points. But he only played 54 games because of various fluke injuries. He’s generally a point-per-game player, and can finish with about 75 or 80 points this year. Who to stay away from: Saku Koivu. His numbers keep declining, and he’s not getting top line minutes like he did when he was in Montreal. He’ll probably get about 45 points this year.

Sporcle quiz: Can you name the Anaheim Ducks leaders?

Best hall of fame choice: Teemu Selanne. He’s pretty much done it all. Scored 50 goals three different times (including 76 as a rookie). Has a career total of more than 600 goals, to go along with 1,260 points. Won the Calder trophy. Won the Rocket Richard trophy. Also led the league in goals on two other occasions. Won a Stanley Cup. All-time points leader in the Olympics. And was once voted as Finland’s sexiest man.

Blog to follow: Anaheim Calling

My Prediction: Second in the Pacific, fifth in the West

Famous celebrity from that city: Moon Bloodgood

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