Friday, June 08, 2007

Can this Ducks team repeat?

I've heard a lot of media outlets saying that this Ducks team is young and will be contending for a while in the future. While that may be possible, let's not get too far ahead of ourselves.

There is speculation of Scott Niedermayer retiring at the age of 36, while he is on top. That is almost an insurmountable blow.

From what I am seeing, the Ducks have the following players locked up:
-Pronger for 3 more years.
-Scott and Robb Niedermayer, McDonald and Marchant for 2 more years.
-Bryzgalov, Perry, Kunitz and Getzlaf for one more year.

That leaves a lot of players unsigned, and Brian Burke a busy busy man. What is Teemu Selanne going to decide? Would he want more than his $3.75 million if he stays? How much more are Giguere ($3.705 million), O'Donnell ($1.52 million), Pahlsson ($650,000), Moen ($475,000), Beauchemin ($500,000) and Dipenta ($500,000) going to demand? Giguere may be on his way out as his rate would be driven skywards in a bidding war after July 1. The same applies to Beauchemin and Pahlsson. How much room is Burke going to have left under the cap?
The player landscape will change in Anaheim because the cap will force it to, barring some Burkian miracle.
Different personnel means different chemistry.

3. The easiest way to to prove uncertainty of repetition is to look at the recent Cup champions. The Hurricanes added some experience to their skilled roster with Recchi and Weight at last year's trade deadline and won the Cup. Recchi and Weight signed elsewhere in the summer, Stillman was injured long term at the start of the season, and the Canes suffered from a major Cup hangover, including Eric Staal, who was NOT supposed to dry up.
The Lightning suffered Cup hangovers as well in 2005-06 after their 2004 Cup win. They snuck into the playoffs in 8th spot but were destroyed in the first round by the Senators. Their biggest issue seemed to be the loss of Khabibulin to Chicago for megabucks and the newfound futility of St. Louis and Lecavalier, whom were made multi-millionaires the previous summer.

Speaking of raises, it is a benefit to Anaheim for Bryzgalov, Kuntitz, Getzlaf and Perry to be in the final years of their contracts next season. Their stocks are going up, and they will play their hearts out.

It is also a curse. The salary cap provides opportunity for a wider variety of teams to challenge for Lord Stanley's Mug. The worst part of it is that young and successful teams like the Ducks only have so much time in which to utilize their cheaper, talented youth core before their prices get driven up. Anaheim's window for a repeat Cup victory may be very small depending on the success of soon-to-be free agents like the Kid Line and Bryzgalov. And that must be frustrating for Burke.

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At June 8, 2007 at 12:30 p.m. , Blogger Earl Sleek said...

A few things:

a) Losing Scott Niedermayer frees up $6.75 M in salary. I don't know if it's insurmountable--there's plenty you can do with that money.

b) Beauchemin and Pahlsson signed 2-year extensions during this season. Beauchemin will make $1.65M annually and Pahlsson is still a steal at $1.4M annually.

c) Word is that Moen and Parros negotiated 2-year extensions before the playoffs were done, but the announcements haven't been officially made and the dollar amounts aren't known. It shouldn't be too bad with these guys; Penner will get a good raise, though.

I'm not too worried about most of the players, actually. Losing Giguere would hurt, but would free up $4M in replacement money. Selanne might retire and free up another $6M or so (his performance bonuses aren't publicly defined).

The real bright side is that anyone who is a threat to leave can be replaced for the money they free up. I'll do a post about it sometime next week, I'm sure.

The Ducks might be in trouble down the line, but next year looks very manageable, from where I'm sitting.

At June 8, 2007 at 1:15 p.m. , Blogger Zanstorm said...

Thanks for the clarifications, Earl. The site I used for reference wasn't updated I guess!
Those Beauchemin and Pahlsson extensions are brilliant!
I guess the only part that I may have correct is the chemistry with a change of personnel and perhaps a hangover this fall.
But yeah, any losses of Selanne, Niedermayer or Jiggy do free up a lot of cash indeed. You just can't always buy the same team chemistry.


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Waiting For Stanley was created in June 2006.