ANAHEIM, Calif – The Anaheim Ducks watched their Western Conference rivals, the Chicago Blackhawks, jump out of the starting gate and put distance between themselves and the rest of the conference. Despite the amazing start for the Hawks, the Ducks managed a strong regular season and at one point were less than 10 points out of the conference and President’s Trophy race. Anaheim ended with a 30-12-6 season, good for third in the NHL.
On offense, the Ducks picked up 134 goals total for 8th in the league. During regulation play, they scored 36, 51 and 46 goals each successive period. On the defensive side, they yielded 44, 32 and 36 goals in regulation play. Both the offense and defense strengthened with the progression of regulation play during the season.
On the power play, the Ducks were scoring at a 21.5% or 4th place in the NHL. They did give up 5 shorthanded goals, among the league’s leaders in that stat.
Where the club was average was on the penalty kill. They were successful in killing 81.5% of their penalties for 12th in the league. They gave up a total of 30 goals while shorthanded but did score 5 shorthanded goals of their own.
In goal, there were few teams that could boast the kind of tandem the Ducks have. Jonas Hiller and Viktor Fasth split the duties in the crease and produced nearly identical records. Fasth was 15-6-2 while Hiller went 15-6-4 Fasth pitched four shutouts on the year while Hiller kicked in a club fifth. Fasth beat out Hiller in GAA with a 2.18 versus 2.36. His save percentage was also just a bit better than Hiller’s with a 2.13 versus 2.21.
The forward lines are seemingly set for the near future. And goal is not to be trifled with, at least in this draft.
The Ducks have found satisfaction, albeit fleeting at times, in reaching out to the Swedish leagues and systems for prospects.
It might be fitting for the Ducks to select a good, two-way player with speed and physical size. Given the league’s slide to big defensemen who lean on the opposition and the way the Blackhawks wore down the Bruins “D” in the Final, a big strong forward with defensive skills could very well be the pick for the Ducks in the 26th slot this year.
Jacob De La Rose has been playing for Leksand in the Swedish Elite League–2. In Sweden’s second-tier play De La Rose scored 12 points in 38 games. Scouting services have labeled him unafraid to pursue the puck in the corners and absorb the necessary punishment. Going to the corners and the low slot and coming out unscathed seems to the future for the NHL. A strong left-winger with a solid defensive bent would complement the Ducks’ current core of forwards.
The knock on De La Rose is his offensive skills. The modest 12 goals scored in 38 games is just that, modest. He may not be the big goal scorer to bolster the Ducks up front but their goalies would appreciate a little extra defensive effort. And with defensive prospects ready to move up to Anaheim from the system, De La Rose can be the long-term project and solution.
“With the 26th selection in the 2013 NHL Draft, the Anaheim Ducks are pleased to select Jacob De La Rose from Leksand of the Swedish Allsvenskan.”
Contact the author at Lou.Lafrado@prohockeynews.com