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Getting to Know the Anaheim Ducks

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DENVER, CO - MARCH 12:  Teemu Selanne #8 of the Anaheim Ducks warms up prior to facing the Colorado Avalanche at the Pepsi Center on March 12, 2012 in Denver, Colorado.  (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
DENVER, CO - MARCH 12: Teemu Selanne #8 of the Anaheim Ducks warms up prior to facing the Colorado Avalanche at the Pepsi Center on March 12, 2012 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
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Joined the League: 1993 as an expansion team

Stanley Cups: 2007

2011-12 Finish: 80pts, #13 in the West, #25 overall

2011-12 Leading Scorer: Teemu Selanne, 26G/40A/66Pts

Links to Fans' Responses: Anaheim Calling, Battle of California

Number of Fan Responses: 7 total, plus one totally awesome one written by a Sharks fan that I didn't count. I'd suggest giving it a read though. It's exceptional.

The Team

Anaheim didn't have a great season in 2011-12. Their October went okay (they were 5-5-1), but they proceeded to drop 11 of their 13 games in November. On Dec. 1, Randy Carlyle was fired and Bruce Boudreau was brought in. December was just as bad as November with the Ducks only winning 3 of their 13 games, but once the new year hit, they went 24-14-6 (54pts) in their final 45 games.

Even with that impressive record to finish out the year, they still finished 15 points outside of the playoffs. For a team that many people believed to have a decent shot at the Cup before the season began (this site had them at 22-1, just below the Kings at 16-1), it was a disappointing year to say the least. Many fans cite the lack of an effective power play and questionable defense caused by lack of depth and injuries to Toni Lydman and Lubomir Visnovsky as two of the biggest reasons for the collapse. This year, they'll be looking to rebound and hopefully recapture the 98-point pace they were on in the final 3.5 months of last season.

As far as the team itself, there's still a lot of question as to what the style exactly is. Boudreau has only been at the helm for a few months, and nobody's quite sure what the team will evolve into in the coming season. In theory at least, Boudreau is looking for loose line matchups and concentrating on winger fast breaks out of the defensive zone. He also believes in getting pucks on net - the Ducks were only outshot by 33 under the new regime compared to 109 in 24 games under Carlyle. Furthermore, fans are hopeful that Boudreau can find a way to help the lower lines produce. Many believe that the team is rather top heavy when it comes to scoring, and when that doesn't click (like it didn't last year) everything falls apart, so they'd like to see a more balanced approach.

The opinions of their GM (Bob Murray) typically lean towards undecided. He joined the team midway through the 2008-09 season as a replacement for Brian Burke and has been busy trying to "clean up the mess" since. Fans have liked some of his moves, but for the most part, they've felt many of them have just been lateral and they question his long-term plans. The time he gives Selanne to think over his possible retirement each season is appreciated though. Like our GM, he too has a nickname: Barstool Bob. The moniker came from a 2009 incident in which he reportedly hit a female TV stage manager with one of the chairs in the press box of Joe Louis Arena because she had been openly rooting for the Red Wings. No word on why he didn't win the GM of the Year award that year, although I suspect it was an unintentional oversight by the league.

As far as organizational depth is concerned, Right Wing is by far the strength. They have 2011 Rocket Richard winner Corey Perry and 1999 Rocket Richard winner Teemu Selanne (who still had 26 goals last year despite being 41 years-old), with youngsteres Kyle Palmieri (20), Devante Smith-Pelly (19), Emerson Etem (20), and Rickard Rakell (19) on the way. At center, they have Captain Ryan Getzlaf and Saku Koivu with Bobby Ryan at left wing. The young and semi-unproven Cam Fowler is their marquee defenseman, but most fans are very uneasy about their blueline depth. There is also some concern about their centers, particularly when it comes to scoring and winning faceoffs.

For the most part, projected lines looked something like this:

Smith-Pelly - Getzlaf - Perry
Ryan/FA - Koivu - Selanne
Cogliano - Bonino - Palmieri/Etem
Beleskey - Holland/Pelley - Parros/McMillan

Beauchemin - Fowler
Visnovsky - Sbisa
Guenin/Brookbank/Vatanen - Lydman

Hiller, Fasth

Fan Perceptions

Almost across the board, Teemu Selanne is the fan favorite. Quite a few fans actually cite him as the reason why they started following the Ducks, along with Paul Kariya, location, and the Mighty Ducks movies. George Parros was also mentioned as a favorite. At this rate, we should steal Bobby Ryan, the other name mentioned, for a season just to make him an ex-Av as well. The fans also weighed in on who they felt were the most underrated players on the team, and their answers included the bottom six forwards Bonino and Cogliano as well as defesemen Beauchemin and Brookbank. Furthermore, some felt that league-wide, the skills of Selanne and Ryan weren't as appreciated as they should be.

Their answer for the player that irritated them the most surprised me. Almost all of them singled out their captain, Ryan Getzlaf. The reasons varied, but some mentioned were extreme inconsistency, bad penalties, laziness, stupid passes, yelling at the refs, and poor leadership. Some are even hoping that Boudreau will strip him of the captaincy.

Ducks fans also had a few different answers for which player they'd most like to see on their rosters (Avs were a separate question and not included here). Shea Weber received two votes, while healthy Crosby, Parise, Chara, Pietrangelo, Jordan Staal, and Elias each received one. I also asked which teams and players they disliked, and the Sharks and the Red Wings were the most cited teams, but none of the players got more than one vote.

A few of my questions also revolved around what they thought of the Avs. They called us a young, talented, fast, under-preforming, overbearing, resilient, high-skill transition team that preys on mistakes and mentioned our leadership and solid 3 centers. Two of them said that we are still very beatable, so we aren't out of "joke" territory yet, but another said that we seem like we're on the cusp of the playoffs and the start of a beautiful stretch. Overall, they're pretty neutral towards us. A couple fans said they do enjoy watching us, while one of the others respects our history but isn't fond of watching "boy child "do-cheney" figure-skate around". Still, as a whole, there is no apparent animosity. Read into that what you will. Also, they still have a soft spot for a certain former Stanley Cup winning goalie of theirs that has found his way onto our current roster.

As mentioned above, I also asked which Avs player they'd most like to see on their team. Duchene was the most popular choice with 3 votes. Stastny and Landeskog each earned two, and O'Reilly, EJ, and McGinn each got one. One fan also voted for Jones and O'Byrne because "those dudes seem rugged", which is a good enough reason for me.