ANAHEIM DUCKS 2012/13 – PLAYER BY PLAYER SEASON PREVIEW

Honda Center

Anaheim’s Honda Center
Photo by Arnold C (Buchanan-Hermit) (Own work) [Attribution], via Wikimedia Commons


In preparation for the 2012-13 NHL Season, IceNationUK will be taking a look at each team on a player-by-player basis.  This isn’t really about predicting overall how well the teams will do, where they’ll end up in the standings, line combinations, or even guessing at individual player stats, but is more about analysing the make-up of each roster.  Of course rosters are yet to be finalised, but I will be using the rosters as stated on each individual team’s website.

I am by no means an expert on every single player in the league, but through looking at traditional “box car” stats (G, A, P, PIMs, TOI, +/-, etc.) and also using Robert Vollman’s Player Usage Charts, I hope to piece together a reasonable, realistic view of each player.  Please don’t hesitate to comment if you agree or disagree.

So without further ado, here is the 2012-13 roster for the Anaheim Ducks.

FORWARDS

 

Teemu Selanne

By Hockeybroad/Cheryl Adams (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

    • MATT BELESKEY – LW (2011-12: 70GP, 4G 11A 15P)
      Beleskey seems like a very middle-of-the-road forward to me.  His stats aren’t that bad, especially considering his average time on ice per game was only 10:15.  Whilst he’s never been a high percentage shooter, he could probably expect to score a few more goals next season, as for the past two years he’s only scored on 5.25% of his shots.  Or maybe he is just bad at shooting and his rookie year (11 goals, 8.9% of shots) was the aberration.   The third year forward has been running in place since his rookie year, not increasing his point totals, and whilst he doesn’t seem to shy away from the physical stuff, he’s not an out-and-out hitting machine.  Vollman’s charts had him facing middling competition with just under 50% O-zone zonestarts, and whilst not terrible, he wasn’t doing particularly well.  Anaheim’s wide acknowledged weakness last season was their lack of depth in the bottom 6, and it seems like Beleskey was not exactly part of the solution, but he looks like an OK-ish 4th line guy based on his own merits.
    • NICK BONINO – C (2011-12: 50GP, 5G 13A 18P)
      This was Bonino’s first “full” NHL season, and the 24 year old seems to have acquitted himself quite well.   Bonino was a pretty dominant playmaker in the NCAA, and also in his first pro season for the Ducks’ AHL team the Syracuse Crunch in 10-11 season, but I’m not sure he’ll ever be a dominant NHL scorer, rather a capable depth scorer.  For a rookie center, his faceoff numbers were what’s usually expected – poor, in the low 40%s – and he played a middling 12:28 per game.  He was however a respectable +1 on a team that was -23 in goal differential.  Vollman’s Charts suggest he face slightly tougher competition than Beleskey but with slightly more even zonestarts, with very similar results.  This season will be critical in establishing what kind of player Bonino will be – a depth scorer or a valuable secondary scoring option.
    • ANDREW COGLIANO – C (2011-12: 82GP, 13G 13A 26P)
      The former Edmonton Oiler did what he always does in his first season with the Ducks – provide some scoring depth, health, determination, some blazing speed, hands of stone and fairly reliable play.  In his rookie and sophomore seasons, Cogliano showed quite the scoring touch, putting away 18 goals each year, but since then his goal and point totals have dropped somewhat.  The issue was, he was scoring at a pretty insane rate – it was almost inevitable that his rates would drop and the totals would go down, although I didn’t expect it to drop so far.  That said, he never receives much in the way of PP time and still puts up OK numbers.  He does play a fair bit of PK though.  “Cogs” has always been a favourite of mine and I was disappointed to see him leave Edmonton, but he didn’t really fit in on the roster at the time.  One of his best attributes is his willingness to hustle every shift – he possesses a great work ethic, and amazingly has not missed a single NHL game in 5 whole seasons.  No matter what else he does, a player you can rely on to be there every game, every shift, has value.  Cogliano was taking on fairly tough competition with around 47% offensive zonestarts, and did fairly well considering the lack of decent players in Anaheim’s bottom 6.  He is basically Todd Marchant-lite: less defensive skill and atrocious faceoff numbers (he must work on that, surely), but still with the potential of becoming that good third line centre, with the ability to move up and down the line-up.
    • RYAN GETZLAF – C (2011-12: 82GP, 11G 46A 57P)
      At a glance, Getzlaf had an appalling season by his own established standards.  11 goals and 57 points just won’t cut it for a big power forward first line centre.  However, dig a little deeper and you can see why it happened and that he should bounce back next season.  Whilst his assist totals did dip a small amount (he’s averaged 58 per season the last 4 seasons, and got 46 this year), it was his goal totals that nosedived.  Whilst he has always been a playmaker rather than a goalscorer, he was totally snakebitten this year.  Luck can have a massive effect on goal totals from year to year, be it positive or negative.  For Getzlaf, it was negative – he scored 11 goals on 5.9% of his shots, a shockingly low total for a forward of his calibre.  If he were to have scored on his career average of 11.6% of his shots, he would have scored around 21 goals, bringing his point totals to 67 points – not a huge increase but definitely first line numbers and far less disappointing.  A bright spot is that Getzlaf was facing tough competition with less-than-favourable zonestarts and still destroyed the opponents sent his way, generating far more shots for his team whilst he was on the ice.  Ryan should have a bounce-back year in 12-13, continuing to excel at all disciplines (5v5, PP, PK).
    • SAKU KOIVU – C (11-12: 74 GP, 11G 28A 38P)
      Everybody’s favourite second favourite Finn on the Ducks’ roster, Koivu provided admirable secondary scoring for the team, and providing solid play all around with a +7 rating and 50PIMs.  For a 37 year old, that ain’t half bad, and to boot he also reached the great achievement of 1000 NHL games.  He continues to be a fixture on both special teams.  Koivu played tough competition with middling zonestarts and was moving play in the right direction.  Expect a slight decline in scoring due to his age, but only slight – Koivu is a quality veteran – but basically more of the same.
    • COREY PERRY – RW (11-12: 80 GP, 37G 23A 60P)
      Perry, who has long been a high quality scoring forward (not to mention agitator), positively exploded in the 2010-11 season, potting 50 goals and 48 assists for 98 points and winning the Hart Trophy as league MVP  for leading the Ducks to the playoffs, not to mention the Rocket Richard Trophy as the league’s leading goal scorer.  He could not repeat the monster year this season just gone, but was still an elite goal scorer (it seems a shame that NHL defence and goalies are now so good that 37 goals is considered elite, instead of just really good, but that’s beside the point and no slight on Perry at all).  His 37 goals was good for 6th overall in the league, and he was a valuable player in all disciplines.  His -7 rating was probably more due to the sheer amount of time he spent on the ice at even strength – his 16:31 per game was second only on the team to Getzlaf’s 16:52, and more than a minute longer than the next closest, Bobby Ryan – than due to any shortcomings of his.  This is borne out by the Player Usage Charts, where Perry is playing even tougher competition the Getzlaf with similar zonestarts, and is easily dominating that opposition.  Whilst his assist totals were down, Perry’s main calling card is scoring goals, which he did.  I’d expect slightly higher point totals in 12-13 when Getzlaf should return to his normal scoring levels too.
    • BOBBY RYAN – RW (11-12: 82 GP, 31G 26A 57P)
      Ryan continued his run of 30 goal seasons, extending the streak to 4.  This is very impressive in this day and age, as the guy who was taken behind Crosby in the 2005 Draft continues to be one of the best complimentary players in the league.  He’s not a superstar, nor a franchise player, but he’s damn good at scoring goals and at the end of the day that’s what helps to win games.  He continues to be a PP stalwart but also sees a small bit of time on the PK, so whilst certainly not a defensive minded player, he’s not a one trick pony.  He’s also pretty physical, with 113 hits this season.  Ryan see’s fairly tough competition, middling zonestarts, and pushes the play in the right direction – but he doesn’t dominate in the way Getzlaf and Perry do.  It will be interesting – if the Ducks don’t trade him, as the rumours persist – to see if he can finally push towards the 40 goal barrier and become a really elite scorer.
  • TEEMU SELANNE – RW (11-12: 82 GP, 26G 40A 66P)
    Everyone’s favourite Finn, Teemu Selanne once again defied the laws of age in 11-12.  The Finnish Flash, who has signed on for another season (see above video), continues to astound everyone around the league by scoring at a first-line level at the age of 42.  He is helped by being fed a healthy dose of PP time (3:34 per game), and by playing hardly any PK time.  He sees relatively tough opponents, middling zonestarts and pushes the play in the right direction.  Besides Ray Whitney, I can’t think of a better veteran scorer in the league – Daniel Alfredsson is starting to slow down – and so the Ducks are lucky to have him, but they will need to think about his replacement soon. I can’t see Teemu slowing down this season, but the question is: will it be his last?
  • DEVANTE SMITH-PELLY – RW (11-12: 49 GP, 7G 6A 13P)
    The well-hyped Smith-Pelly brought his physical brand of hockey to Southern California this year, but with somewhat predictable results.  I’m not sure bringing in a 19 year old player still not dominating his junior leagues – at least on the scoresheet – straight to the NHL was a good idea, but nonetheless that’s what happened.  Scoring is never going to be Smith-Pelly’s calling card, although he does possess some talent in that area.  Being a human wrecking ball is really what he’s about, combined with the maturity at a young age to make the simple play – Hockey’s Future tabs him as an excellent 3rd liner for the future, with the ability to play top 6 minutes when needed.  He didn’t get a huge chance on the PP, so maybe he could boost his numbers by proving he belongs there, but for a young rookie he did get a surprising amount of time (1:12 per game) on the PK, which is encouraging.  How well he did there, I can’t say.  At even strength he played soft competition with middling zone-starts and the results were predictably not great, but that’s expected for a rookie (at least the ones who aren’t top 2 draft picks – he was a second rounder), especially one who plays the game the way he does.  On the whole though, he did what he could in time given to him, and hopefully he can continue on an upward trend next year.
  • BRAD STAUBITZ – RW (11-12: 62 GP, 1G 0A 1P)
    Staubitz is the typical signing a team makes when they want to improve team “toughness”.  The Ducks felt they had to replace George Parros.  Unfortunately, they replaced Parros with someone who’s an even worse hockey player – which, let’s face it, is what playing hockey is about.  He scored 1 goal last season, which is about the typical output of an enforcer type, although even he usually displays slightly more ability than that.  A pretty pointless signing in my opinion – I’m not against fighting in hockey, but rarely do I see the point in having a guy who can’t play hockey on the team (as much as I love the movie “Goon”!).  Wasting a roster spot on a player who got smoked by the easiest competition the NHL has to offer is just plain bad management, especially for a team whose most recognised weakness was their bottom 6 forwards.
  • DANIEL WINNIK – C (11-12: 84 GP, 8G 15A 23P)
    THIS is the sort of signing a team does to improve it’s bottom 6 forwards.  Winnik, the 27 year old veteran of 5 seasons, has become a darling of the advanced stats crowd due to his exemplary defensive play.  He can win face-offs, play a lot of PK mins (2:26 per game last season between the Avs and the Sharks), and face relatively tough competition with less-than-easy zonestarts and still push the play in the right direction.  He might not be a guy who scores 20-20-40, but he does provide scoring depth and is exactly what you want in a 3rd/4th line player.  Great signing.

 

DEFENCE

 

Beauchemin

Photo by Michael Miller (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

  • BRYAN ALLEN – D (11-12: 82 GP, 1G 13A 14P)
    Allen is a classic defensive defenceman: solid in his own end, big, physical, plays fairly big minutes and isn’t a complete offensive dud.  The veteran of over 600 games should bring a steadying presence to the previously poor Ducks blue-line, as the 6’5″ 226lb giant is well versed in playing tough competition whilst starting more often in the defensive zone, and performing admirably.  He should especially help on the PK.
  • FRANCOIS BEAUCHEMIN – D (11-12: 82 GP, 8G 14A 22P)
    The quality 2-way defenceman continued his great play for the Ducks in 11-12.  He sports an ugly -14 rating, but that is easily explainable and largely dismissable – Beauchemin plays monster minutes (25:33 p/g), particularly on the PK (a massive 4:13 per game this season), and the Vollman charts show he plays the toughest competition on the team whilst taking on less than 50% offensive zonestarts, and still finds time to put up 20+ points.  So despite what the -14 shows (it’s a team stat, not an individual one) Beauchemin is in fact constantly moving the puck in the right direction, and is going to be relied on heavily again this coming season, although Bryan Allen should help alleviate some of the PK time.
  • CAM FOWLER – D (11-12: 82 GP, 5G 24A 29P)
    The young “stud” d-man who took the league by storm last year appeared to take a step back this season, perhaps a sophomore slump.  Firstly however, it should be noted that scoring for defensemen does fluctuate quite a lot year-to-year, especially with the young ones.  29 points is still a very good total for a 19/20 year old though, and there is more to consider.  Whilst Fowler does have an awful plus/minus rating of -28, Vollman’s Charts suggest he was playing a very high level of competition, and not receiving massively beneficial zonestarts, but was almost dominating in terms of shot differential.  That is outstanding for a young d-man who was asked to play a lot of minutes (18:53 per game at 5v5, plus substantial PP time and some PK time).  The +/- should improve as Fowler gets more experienced and as the Ducks get better.  Heck of a young player.
  • NATE GUENIN – D (11-12: 15 GP, 2G 0A 2P)
    Another pretty poor player at the NHL level, he had career highs last year with 15 games played and 2 goals.  I’m not even sure what his role is at age 29, I assume he is supposed to be a tough nosed depth defenseman but while he does throw some hits he doesn’t take a lot of PIMs (not necessarily a bad thing, but guys of this size and nature tend to take a lot just because of who they are).  Who knows, maybe he’s just über-disciplined, but this is a depth/AHL signing at best.
  • TONI LYDMAN – D (11-12: 74 GP, 0G 13A 13P)
    Yet another quality Finn on the Ducks’ roster, Lydman did his usual solid work for the team.  He didn’t do much offensively, but took on relatively tough competition and from the 2nd hardest zonestarts on the team, and whilst he didn’t do great, considering the position he was put in he did his job pretty well.  Hopefully next season Lydman will re-discover his offensive dimension, which is usually pretty consistently around 20+ points.
  • LUCA SBISA – D (11-12: 80 GP, 5G 19A 24P)
    Sbisa, the 22 year old Swiss defenceman, finally started to show this year why he was worthy of a 1st Round Draft Pick in 2008.  He didn’t play monster minutes, but he contributed in all situations, put up some points, and didn’t bleed chances against.  He didn’t play tough competition, but he did pretty well against those that he did face, and that’s all you can ask of someone.  Hopefully he’ll continue to get better and help solidify the Ducks defence corps for the future.  Remember, young defencemen take a long time, and don’t develop “in a straight line”, so ups and downs are to be expected.
  • SHELDON SOURAY – D (11-12: 64 GP, 6G 15A 21P)
    The veteran defenceman with the howitzer of a shot surprised many by making a somewhat successful NHL comeback last year with the Dallas Stars.  After being exiled to the AHL by the Edmonton Oilers, following an ugly public trade demand and general slagging-off of the Oilers management (not the team or the city though!), many thought Souray’s career was pretty much over.  He’d struggled with injuries for years, and whilst his attitude in the minors (for Hershey) was praised, he didn’t exactly dominate.  However, the former NHL All-Star was bought out of his contract with Edmonton and proceeded to sign with Dallas.  He stormed out of the gate, and whilst his offensive production stalled, he generally provided a solid physical presence, taking on the toughest competition on the team and outperforming it, just.  He’s a good addition to the Ducks, although at age 36 and with a lengthy injury history, he may be expected to fade somewhat.

 

GOAL

  • JEFF DESLAURIERS – G (11-12: 4GP, 3W 1L, .903% 2.74 GAA)
    A serviceable depth goalie, but not a consistently good NHL backup.  Deslauriers was a fairly high draft pick by the Oilers, and paid his dues working through the minors (ECHL, AHL), but many feel his development was stunted by the Oilers lack of a farm team of their own at the time, forcing Jeff to share time with other top prospects such as Jaroslav Halak.  He had a chance to be a starting goalie in Edmonton, and whilst he showed flashes of brilliance – Deslauriers is a phenominal athlete and competitor, with great reflexes, size and flexibility – he lacked the technical ability to have any sustained success.  It doesn’t look like he’s improved, and whilst previously he was a very good AHL goalie, even that aspect of his game has suffered.  It seems he’s never quite gotten over being turfed from Edmonton by the current starter and his long time rival for the job, Devan Dubnyk.  Nonetheless, Deslauriers isn’t a bad guy to have in the ranks should you need a goalie with NHL experience.
  • VIKTOR FASTH – G (11-12: (SEL) 46 GP, .934% 2.04 GAA)
    The probable backup for the Ducks this year is the superstar goalie from Sweden, Viktor Fasth.  Fasth is the latest in the long line of European goalies to come over to North America as a late bloomer, and is has won the SEL’s Honken Trophy as Best Goalie the last two years running, not to mention World Championships Best Goalie for 2 straight years, among numerous other awards.  He has been simply stunning over there, and according to Elite Prospects he relies on his ability to read the play, his reflexes and his quickness, as he isn’t the largest size for a goalie (6’0″).  It’ll be interesting to see whether he’ll live up to the hype, or be as awful as Jonas Gustavsson was for the Maple Leafs.
  • JONAS HILLER – G  (11-12: 73 GP, 29W 30L 12OT, .910% 2.57 GAA)
    The Ducks’ star Swiss goalie had an OK season last year, perhaps slightly below average, but that was perhaps to be expected given the circumstances:  Hiller was coming off a year where he missed much of the season with a bad case of vertigo, and the team in front of him simply wasn’t very good.  With the vertigo hopefully gone and a slightly better – and more experienced – defence group in front of him, expect Hiller’s numbers to get a lot better.

 

PROSPECTS MOST LIKELY TO MAKE THE TEAM / EARN A CALL-UP

 

Emerson Etem

Photo by Resolute (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons


Emerson Etem is where it’s at, basically.  The junior superstar is big (204lbs), fast, versatile, and owns a deadly shot.  He played in all situations for Medicine Hat, and along with Tyler Bunz was their MVP, putting up nearly a goal-per-game and generally terrorising the league.  Now he’s too good for that level, what next?  NHL or AHL?  I believe he’ll play in both leagues this season, perhaps even make the team to start with, but I think it’s in his best interest to be eased into pro hockey – the Ducks cannot afford to screw up this guys development, considering it’s hoped he’ll be replacing Selanne in the not too distant future.

Kyle Palmieri has developed into a scary-good player at the AHL level, and may be ready to step into a full-time NHL role after a cup of coffee with the Ducks resulted in 4 goals and 3 assists in 18 games.  He put up 33 goals and 25 assists in just 51 games with the Syracuse Crunch in the AHL, so yeah, he’s good at that level.  Again, the Ducks will look to this young sniper in the future to replace their ageing veteran scorers.

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