Oh, and what a matchup it was: The teams went seven games, including four overtime games, before Detroit eliminated the Ducks in a series in which Anaheim had two chances to close out the Wings.
So, in the end, Boudreau failed to get a highly-seeded team out of the first round. Again.
The Ducks have strong goaltending, stars to build around and an impressive collection of young players. Does that translate into another playoff berth?
Dave Steckel is magic.whether to trade Bobby Ryan ended when the Ducks finally, actually, truly did trade him to the Ottawa Senators for 22-year-old forward Jakob Silfverberg, 21-year-old forward Stefan Noesen and a first-round pick in 2014.
Replacing Ryan on the left side? Why, it’s their old friend Dustin Penner, signing a $2-million, 1-year deal after spending a few years with the LA Kings. Put area IHOPs on full alert.
Nate Guenin (Colorado) and Troy Bodie (Toronto) left via free agency. Toni Lydman was unsigned.
Teemu Selanne showed some rust in a 12-goal, minus-10 effort last season but remains an asset on special teams. Plus, it's his swan song, so expect a hell of an effort. Saku Koivu was re-signed for one season and was the Ducks’ leading faceoff man. Penner’s a veteran, but he’s coming off two goals in 33 games.
Jakob Silfverberg is a wild card offensively: Enormous talent, and he could blossom quickly if he earns top six minutes.
As is a trademark of Boudreau teams, the grunts contributed to the Ducks’ success. Nick Bonino, Matt Beleskey, Andrew Cogliano and Daniel Winnik gave Anaheim quality performances. Emerson Etem will build off a moderately successful rookie season, while Peter Holland seeks further improvement.
Defense: Francois Beauchemin had his best season in the NHL, with 24 points and a plus-22 and exceptional play until an injury slowed him. Sheldon Souray, second in ice time last season (20:55), will miss at least the first two months of the season with a wrist injury. Mark Fistric was signed as a veteran placeholder.
Cam Fowler stumbled at the start offensively but was a better all-around defenseman last season. (He’ll also be playing for an Olympic berth.)
Luca Sbisa was abjectly terrible last season until the end. Bryan Allen was also a disappointment after looking like a free-agent coup, showing a lack of speed. Ben Lovejoy had his moments, and earned a 3-year deal in the summer.
Goalies: Here’s a blessing of riches. Jonas Hiller and Viktor Fasth both won 15 games last season, splitting the starts. The emergence of Fasth made it appear like Hiller and his $4.5 million cap hit (with one season left) would be a goner, but both are back. Can Fasth be as effective his second time ‘round the conference? And how long will the Ducks allow uber-prospect John Gibson to percolate behind them?
Bob Murray went all-in to keep Perry and Getzlaf from leaving as UFAs which will affect the budget for the rest of the roster and, frankly, have them under contract well into the downside of their careers. But he got a sneaky good return for Ryan and continues to find diamonds in the rough for the supporting cast.
Pretty easy call when the team has its own triumphant movie theme, no?
But count a Boudreau team out in the regular season? Fat chance. (OK, once again, poor choice of phrase …)
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