It’s officially safe to say that the Anaheim Ducks will begin the 2010-2011 season with at least one less hall-of-famer in uniform. The same was true at the beginning of the 2009-2010 campaign, with the trade of Chris Pronger to the Philadelphia Flyers in the off season. But this is different, quite different. The new Ducks are now without the likes of Chris Pronger, Francois Beauchemin, J.S. Giguere, and Scott Niedermayer who were the four main parts on the back end for the Ducks during their Stanley Cup run in 2007. Making things even worse for ducks nation is the prospect of losing the most prolific goalscorer in the franchise’s storied history to retirement as well. Although Teemu has been quoted as saying he would like to play as long as the team remains a contender, the departure of Scott Niedermayer almost ensures that the Ducks will be rebuilding for at least a year or two.
So what do the Ducks do now?…………………………………………………………….
……….Well, lets be honest, Scott Niedermayer cannot be replaced! But the Ducks upper management will surely do everything they can to fill the giant void left by Niedermayer. They can do this through free agency, where there are potential suitors in Dmen Anton Volchenkov, Paul Martin, Joe Corvo, Andy Sutton, and Dan Hamhuis. Or GM Bob Murray could dangle Bobby Ryan out there in order to land a premier defencemen. Rumors linking Tomas Kaberle and Luke Schenn for Ryan draw surprising merit, in my opinion, given the Leafs desire to land another high scoring winger to match Kessel and their abundance of quality dmen. For the Ducks, Kaberle has a bargain of a cap number and Schenn could grow into a top 2 defenceman in the future. Murray could also make an offer to restricted free agent Niclas Hjalmarsson of the Blackhawks, who are plagued with cap issues. Or Murray could go for someone like Robyn Regehr of the Flames, who look poised to enter rebuilding mode.
But Murray might want to swing for the fences and land someone of greater stature. Shea Weber of Nashville may seem untouchable right now, but the right combination of Bobby Ryan, prospects, and draft picks could possibly net someone of Weber’s caliber. I wouldn’t be surprised if Murray makes a gamble of this magnitude given his experience behind the maverick Brian Burke, the man who sacrificed the Ducks future for some guy named Chris Pronger. By the way, he won a cup in doing so. Murray and the ducks might not be that lucky this time around but at least we’ll have some long-awaited jerseys to display in the rafters at the Honda Center.