Tuesday, October 6, 2015

The Forman Faceoff 2015/2016 NHL Season Preview - Anaheim Ducks

By: Joel Forman - The Forman Faceoff

Last Season: 51-24-7 with 113 points, 1st in the Pacific Division and 1st in the Western Conference

The Anaheim Ducks had a successful 2014/15 season in which they won the Pacific Division Title and finished 1st in the Western Conference with 113 points. The Ducks then beat the Jets in 4 games, the Flames in 5 games, and finally a heartbreaking 7-game series loss to the eventual Stanley-Cup Champs the Chicago Blackhawks. The Ducks were 1 win away from the Stanley Cup after Matt Beleskey's OT winner in game 5, but the Hawks were able to win game 6 at home and take game 7 in Anaheim. It was another tough playoff loss for Bruce Boudreau and company, the 3rd straight year the Ducks lost a game 7 on home ice. With some big changes in the offseason the Ducks are primed for another big season, here is a look at their 2015/2016 Season Preview:

Pat Maroon - Ryan Getzlaf - Corey Perry
Andrew Cogliano - Ryan Kesler - Jakob Silfverberg
Carl Hagelin - Rickard Rakell - Jiri Sekac
Mike Santorelli - Shawn Horcoff - Chris Stewart
Extra: Nate Thompson, Chris Wagner

The Ducks have one of the deepest forward groups in the NHL, lead by the dynamic duo of Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry. It will be interesting to see who ends up on LW on that line, it will likely start as Pat Maroon but Boudreau has been known to rotate players in and out of that position. The Ducks added some solid depth this summer adding Carl Hagelin, Chris Stewart, Mike Santorelli and Shawn Horcoff. The line of Ryan Kesler, Andrew Cogliano and Jakob Silfverberg was lights out for the Ducks in the playoffs, look for them to continue their success this year. The potential speed of a Hagelin-Rakell-Sekac line could cause nightmares for opposing coaches, especially Hagelin and Sekac on the wing.

Hampus Lindholm - Kevin Bieksa
Cam Fowler - Sami Vatanen
Simon Despres  - Clayton Stoner
Extra: Josh Manson

The Ducks have one of the better offensive-defenseman groups in the NHL, lead by rising-star Sami Vatanen. The 24-year old Finnish defenseman had a breakout year last season with 12 goals and 37 points, look for him to build on that this year. The Ducks added Kevin Bieksa to their core, a solid defensive defenseman who will bring some grit and toughness to the team. A lot of responsibility will be on the trio of Sami Vatanen, Cam Fowler and Hampus Lindholm to lead the way both offensively and defensively this season.

Frederik Andersen
Anton Khudobin

The goalie battle in Anaheim is going to be something to watch this entire season, considering there are 3 goalies all vying for the starting spot. Frederik Andersen had a stellar year last season with a career-high 35 wins, and he will be the #1 going forward. Right behind him is veteran Anton Khudobin, the former Hurricanes goalie was signed this year to add depth to the goaltending position. And lets not forget John Gibson, perhaps the best goal-tending prospect on the planet right now, who has been forced to start the season in the AHL. I have faith in Andersen leading the way this season, but don't be surprised if the Ducks shake things up and change their goalie at some point

2015/2016 Outlook and Prediction:
1st in Pacific Division, 2nd in Western Conference

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