NHL

Ducks looking to get back in Cup hunt

NESN Douglas Flynn
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Since winning the Stanley Cup in 2007, the Ducks have won just one playoff series. They've missed the postseason completely once and lost in the first round twice in the four years since that title, including a disappointing defeat at the hands of Nashville this past spring — despite holding home-ice advantage as the West's fourth seed.

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Anaheim has the talent to stick around longer in the playoffs, especially if Teemu Selanne returns for another season. But they still have to prove it when it matters most, and do it with a roster with precious few remaining members from that championship squad.

2010-11 record: 47-30-5, 99 points (2nd Pacific Division; 4th Western Conference; lost to Nashville 4-2 in first round of playoffs).

Key additions: D Kurtis Foster (traded with Edmonton); F Andrew Cogliano (trade with Edmonton); F J.F. Jacques (free agent); G Jeff Deslauriers (free agent); D Matt Smaby (free agent); F Andrew Gordon (free agent); D Bryan Rodney (free agent); D Mathieu Carle (trade with Montreal); F Mark Bell.

Key losses: D Andy Sutton (traded to Edmonton); F Todd Marchant (retired); F Kyle Chipchura (signed with Phoenix); D Andreas Lilja (signed with Philadelphia); F Brad Winchester (free agent); G Ray Emery (free agent, agreed to tryout with Chicago); F Aaron Voros (free agent); F Jarkko Ruutu (free agent); D Mark Mitera (traded to Montreal).

Ducks at a glance

 
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Burning question: Will Selanne come back for another season?

Selanne turned 41 last month, but he hasn't shown many signs of aging yet on the ice, where he finished second on the Ducks with 31-49-80 totals last season. But despite that impressive production, Selanne was bothered by a knee injury for much of the year and underwent surgery this summer. That procedure has left his future uncertain, and he recently stated that he won't decide on whether he'll return for a 19th season in the NHL until September. The good news for the Ducks is that Selanne doesn't have any interest in playing elsewhere, so it's either Anaheim or retirement for the unrestricted free agent. The bad news for the Ducks, though, would be a last-minute scramble to try to fill the void on offense if he does opt to hang up the skates for good.

2011-12 outlook: Even without Selanne, there is plenty of talent in Anaheim. Reigning Hart Trophy winner Corey Perry leads the way coming off a 50-48-98 campaign last season. He's backed by Ryan Getzlaf (19-57-76), Bobby Ryan (34-37-71) and Saku Koivu (15-30-45) up front.

Gone are the days of Scott Niedermayer and Chris Pronger on defense, but Lubomir Visnovsky (18-50-68) has emerged as one of the top offensive defensemen in the league, and Cam Fowler (10-30-40) will look to build upon a strong rookie season.

The biggest question is in goal, where Jonas Hiller (26-16-3, 2.56 GAA, .924 save percentage) was putting together a solid run before vertigo ended his season early and sidelined him for the playoffs. He'll have to prove his health issues are behind him and regain that form if the Ducks want to make another deep playoff run.

Did you know?: Only two current coaches have been in their positions longer than Anaheim bench boss Randy Carlyle, who was signed to a three-year extension earlier this month. Buffalo's Lindy Ruff and Nashville's Barry Trotz may have seniority on Carlyle, but the Ducks' coach has something both of those guys would love to add to their resume: a Stanley Cup championship.

Tagged: Oilers, Flyers, Ducks, Teemu Selanne, Ryan Getzlaf, Bobby Ryan

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