(Note from Krantz: Between now and the start of the preseason on the 19th, I will be asking a pressing question about each team and attempting to answer it. Today I kick it off with the Anaheim Ducks)
Question: what depth, if any, do the Ducks have behind their top line?
If Jonas Hiller’s vertigo issue had not disappeared, that would be my question. But it has. He is presumably healthy and ready to attempt a repeat of his All-Star 2010-11 season.
That being said, I have to wonder what the Ducks’ offensive depth is behind their top line? Ryan Getzlaf, Corey Perry, and Bobby Ryan were, in my humble opinion, the best line in the league last year. Perry, the best one of the three last year, totaled 98 points, putting up ludicrous numbers in the last 30 games or so of the season, enough to win him the Hart Trophy for MVP and the Rocket Richard Trophy for most goals (50). He also won himself a commemorative night at the Honda Center
Of course, the Ducks have Teemu Selanne (assuming he comes back for one more year) behind their top line. The Stone Aged winger, who played on the old Winnipeg Jets,continues to amazingly light up every year. Last Playoffs he scored 6 goals and added an assist in 7 games for the Ducks in their 1st round loss to Nashville. Selanne and Saku Koivu mainly comprise the Ducks’ second line, along with Jason Blake.
But Selanne and Koivu are both around for another year, max. Besides them, the Ducks have Jason Blake, who netted 32 points last year; Matt Beleskey, a young winger who split time between the NHL and AHL last year (he scored 3 goals in nearly 35 games); Dan Sexton, who also played in the AHL last year and scored just north of 10 points in nearly 50 games; and Andrew Cogliano, a recent acquisition from the Oilers who can’t win faceoffs and is not at all close to where he should be in his current development. So basically a bunch of young guys who have the potential to be average.
Then you have the 4th liners, who are a bunch of guys you’ve never heard of and J-F Jacques, one of the worst and most unproductive goons the game has ever known.
Average young guys and horrible goons-does that sound like good depth to you? But given how beast their top line is, and their all-star goalie, will it matter? Yes. Depth is everything in the Playoffs. So don’t be surprised if the Ducks make an early round exit again due to their lack of it.