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Ducks Gameday—Three years of post-deadline rosters

Calgary Flames (33-22-9, 6th in west) at Anaheim Ducks (36-23-7, 3rd in west)

In the spirit of Leap Day (also because I have yet to write anything since the trade deadline), I decided to "leap back" and revisit a post I put together after last year's deadline, and see how the Ducks' roster has changed over the past three years. I think it offers a good look at how Burke has managed this team, plus I think there's some lessons in here somewhere. I've marked players who no longer are Ducks in red, and new Ducks (added since last year's deadline) in blue.

2006 post-deadline Anaheim roster:
C. Kunitz - A. McDonald - T. Selanne
D. Penner - T. Marchant - J. Lupul
J. Friesen - S. Pahlsson - R. Niedermayer
T. Fedoruk - R. Getzlaf - C. Perry
(T. Moen, J. Hedstrom)

S. Niedermayer - F. Beauchemin
R. Salei - S. O'Donnell
V. Vishnevski - J. Dipenta

J. Giguere
I. Bryzgalov

2007 post-deadline Anaheim roster:
C. Kunitz - A. McDonald - T. Selanne
D. Penner - R. Getzlaf - C. Perry
T. Moen - S. Pahlsson - R. Niedermayer
S. Thornton - T. Marchant - B. May
(R. Shannon, G. Parros)

S. Niedermayer - F. Beauchemin
C. Pronger - S. O'Donnell
K. Huskins - J. Dipenta
(R. Jackman)

J. Giguere
I. Bryzgalov

2008 post-deadline Anaheim roster:
T. Bertuzzi - R. Getzlaf - C. Perry
C. Kunitz - D. Weight - T. Selanne
T. Moen - S. Pahlsson - R. Niedermayer
B. Sutherby - T. Marchant - B. May
(G. Parros, R. Carter)

S. Niedermayer - F. Beauchemin
C. Pronger - S. O'Donnell
M. Bergeron - M. Schneider
(K. Huskins, J. Dipenta)

J. Giguere
J. Hiller

Now I don't really want to get too fixated on specific spots I've put players on this year's roster; we have yet to see how Carlyle would play a fully healthy forward lineup or a Bergeron-inclusive blueline. However, before I get a bit more into this year's deadline moves, here's some year-to-year trends worth noting about Burke's club:
  • Continuity matters: Other than Burke's first few months on the job, there's been no major overhauls to this roster. 13 players (8 forwards, 4 defensemen, and Giguere) appear on all three lists, which I think is remarkable, and 10 of those are already under contract for next year as well. Also, there's been good consistency in linemates -- Selanne with Kunitz, Getzlaf with Perry, Pahlsson with Rob, and Frenchie with Scott. There's been some replacements inserted, but there's a good core of the team that's developed together for a while.

  • Rise of the kids: The way that Getzlaf and Perry have been groomed through the Anaheim forward ranks has been impressive. Their rookie years they were given fighter minutes with Fedoruk, a very protected spot for some possibly fragile kids. The next year they were promoted to second-liners, given more ice time but still seeing some easy competition. This year, especially with the absence of Selanne, they were given the top line duties, including the opposition's top defenders, and have been stellar. I gotta commend Burke & Carlyle here; there's no way they'd be ready for this year if they didn't have last year's experience, and I don't know if they would have been ready for last year if they didn't have the year with Fedoruk.

  • The blueline just keeps getting better: Holy smokes. Measure it in top talent: Pronger and Niedermayer are right there with anybody. Measure it in terms of depth: Schneider is murdering in easy minutes. Measure it in terms of scratches: one of Huskins or Bergeron is going to sit once Pronger gets back, which would be a crime on 29 other teams. I just have to pinch myself; it really wasn't that long ago that Keith "Carney Asada" Carney was Anaheim's best defenseman.

  • Hardly anything gets done at the deadline: Burke makes lots of trades in the course of the season, probably more than anyone, but come deadline time, it's always been more tinkering than anything. One thing that's common about all of Burke's trade deadline acquisitions (I'm going off the top of my head here, so kick my ass in the comments): O'Donnell, Friesen, May, Bergeron -- all of them were acquired for draft picks, not roster players. Though he's prominent in the blockbuster rumors, Burke's playing the very inexpensive side of the market come deadline day.
Now to be fair, this whole year-to-year trend thing looks pretty convincing, but let's not forget this season was a complete clusterfuck for a while; Scott and Teemu's mock retirements really skewed the whole roster and Burke's plan could have backfired quite a bit. And as much as that hurt early results, it is important to remember that those absence stretches did make possible the roster we're looking at today (one featuring both star players plus their summer replacements).

As for this year's deadline moves, I guess they're sort of puzzling, but in a "who the hell cares" sort of way. Sure, there's been no crying need for another defenseman like Bergeron or a spare goalie like Aubin (other than to get more decidedly French-Canadien), but I think some of the Ducks' worst-case scenarios have been improved to a degree. And even though I'm having trouble seeing it, perhaps Bergeron can earn his way into the top six and improve a blueline that already is among the best in league history -- he'll at least help in the short term as I guess Pronger wants to miss a game or two with a broken smile.

As always, I'm glad when the Ducks don't win some Player X Sweepstakes at the deadline -- outbidding other teams usually means overpaying, and I'm excited to keep Bobby Ryan and the Oilpick. (Ryan had his first taste of the NHL this year and looked decent; I think it counts as his Fedoruk year in the Getzlaf-Perry plan.) Here's what I said last year, but I think it applies just as well today:
"I can’t help but wonder, though, at what point Burke decided not to make a big splash at the deadline. Is he conniving enough to continue to act as a potential trade competitor, just to drive up demand and prices for other teams’ rental acquisitions? I wouldn’t put it past the guy."
Prediction: Oh yeah, the Flames. Matt and Metrognome are your go-to sources on Flamedom, but I shouldn't be overlooking this team, one that in three successive games beat division-leading Detroit, division-leading Dallas, and division-leading Minnesota, all in regulation. Still, there's no stopping old man Selanne; in his last 82 regular season games Teemu has potted 53 goals. Ducks 3, Flames 2. Goals by Selanne, Pahlsson, and Bergeron.

Go Ducks.