Their head coach: The new hire of the old Ducks' coach Randy Carlyle. Carlyle helped lead the Ducks to their one Stanley Cup championship in 2007 when they topped the Senators and helped establish the Ducks as not just Walt Disney's sports lovechild, but a pretty darn good NHL team as well. Since then, the Ducks have been a pretty consistent mainstay as one of the best teams in the West. Was Bruce Boudreau just bringing the team down? We'll find out, if Carlyle can take them back to the promise land for the second time in a ten year increment.
Their captain: Ryan Getzlav. I don't like him. I don't like Corey Perry either. These two are pretty much 100% of the reason why I don't want the Ducks to be all that great. When they leave, this team can do whatever they want! Don't get me wrong, Getzlav and Perry are very good hockey players, but for two guys who have the character of punching someone in the groin when the ref isn't looking and then crying when the player they punched taps them on the shoulder, you deserve to get bent.
Their 15-16 season: They were surprisingly horrible to begin the year. The Ducks couldn't score worth a damn through the first couple months. Then around December, realizing they need to get together, they started to put the pieces together and went from being actually the worst team in the West at the end of October, to Pacific division champions. That turned out to mean very little, however, as they lost in the 1st round to Nashville, while the 3rd best team in the Pacific, San Jose, made it to the Stanley Cup Final. This marked the fourth straight disappointing end in the playoffs for the Ducks. A Game 7 loss to Detroit in 2013 in the opening round, a Game 7 loss to Los Angeles in 2014, and a Game 7 loss to Chicago in 2015 all preceded their latest Game 7 falter.
How did they do against the Avs? In games that mattered for the Avs, Colorado went 2 for 2 and won both games 3-0. In the last game, which was the season finale for both teams, Anaheim won because Colorado wouldn't have been able to beat the Iraqi national hockey team if the Avs played them at the end of the season. So if the Avs played the Ducks for that third game in, well, anytime besides late March or April, I reckon Colorado would have completed the season sweep.
When do they play the Avs this season? In Denver on January 12th, at Anaheim on January 19th and January 31st. I'm sure we'll be exhausted of the Ducks come February.
Will they be good? In spite of the fact they might give up 3 goals minimum every game because their goaltending situation is more than a little questionable, they will be. Getzlav, Perry, and Ryan Kesler will propel this team to at least 4 goals a game unless they face a goalie who's playing on Jesus-mode. Regarding their goaltending, it's James Reimer and John Gibson back there. Hmmm... those are two guys I would peg as good backup goalies, but I'm not sure I'd want to rely on them to start a majority of games for my team. Cam Fowler is really good, by the way. He's the Tyson Barrie of California. I like him a lot and would list him as one of the most exciting players in the league. All in all, I say they lose a Game 7, but I don't know which round it'll be. I'd put 25% stock on any of the 4 playoff rounds, it's that much of a toss-up with this team.
3 Questions with their SB Nation blog, Anaheim Calling:
-Were you guys fans of firing Bruce Boudreau and bringing back Randy Carlyle? We are definitely not a fan of firing Bruce and replacing him with Carlyle. The move is a huge 3 steps back for Anaheim. While Bruce hadn't produced a Cup in his 4+ years with Anaheim, he produced very successful regular seasons that put the Ducks in great position going into the playoffs.
-Beyond coaching, what is it that’s prevented this team from making it further in the playoffs each of the last few years? Or has it really been 100% coaching? Question 1 led well into my answer for question #2. The thing preventing Anaheim from making it further in the playoffs was not coaching, it was big time players not showing up in big time moments. Corey Perry had 0 goals in the 7 games against Nashville this past year. When one of the top goal scorers over the last 6 years is a no show in the playoffs, you're gonna have a bad time.
-What’s the goaltending situation look like? I feel like that might be the one thing that keeps the Ducks from making yet another run at Lord Stanley. Goaltending might be something that holds Anaheim back for a year or two. I have great faith in Gibson, but he is still very green. He's shown brilliance and mediocrity in 6 playoff starts but it's very hard to draw too strong a conclusion from such a small sample size. I am also very wary of Bernier. Hopefully for once we can just stick with one guy come playoff time but we'll see what happens.
Thanks to Todd Cordell for taking the time to answer!