D Steve Eminger, D Scott Niedermayer, D James Wisniewski
THE GOOD NEWS out of Anaheim this summer came late, when the Ducks finally signed restricted-free-agent winger Bobby Ryan (below) to a five-year, $25.5 million contract just four days before camp opened. With the 23-year-old U.S. Olympian and 35-goal scorer locked up, Anaheim now has one of the league's most potent scoring lines, with Ryan Getzlaf (19 goals, 50 assists last year) centering Corey Perry (27 goals) and Ryan.
But to score, the Ducks' forwards need time in the offensive zone. And with the loss of Hall of Fame--caliber defenseman Scott Niedermayer, who retired in June, clearing the puck out of its own end could be a problem for Anaheim's shaky corps of blueliners, who gave up the second-most shots on goal in the NHL last season. The additions of minutes-eater Toni Lydman, who is out indefinitely after an unexplained episode of double vision last month, and rugged Andy Sutton should help in that regard, but the Ducks may have to lean heavily on a middling group.
Marc Crawford (2nd season)