Anaheim Ducks: Are They Championship Material? – Part One

This is the first installment of a new three-part series. We go through the Anaheim Ducks roster, individual by individual and assess whether or not the person in question is championship material.

In addition to being a hockey fan (i.e. Anaheim Ducks fan) and blogger, I’m an avid fantasy hockey player and I’m very, very good at it. Everyone falls in love with a player or two whether it be real life or fantasy sports. I’m no different.

To snap myself back into “reality”, periodically, I ask myself some tough questions. If I were an actual NHL general manager, it would be a vital part of my job.

Question 1) Would a championship team have “Player X” on its roster?

Question 2) Is there some stat that “Player X” excels in that makes him valuable to my team and enough to cover his other flaws?

Question 3) Can I get someone else to do what “Player X” does for less and use my resources in other areas?

Question 4) Finally, a question that applies to real life teams. Does “Player X” have intangibles that don’t always show up on the stat sheet which makes him an important member of the team?

Using those questions, I will put the Anaheim Ducks roster and decision makers under the microscope.

This series will be in three parts: 1) Management, Coaching, and Goalies; 2) Defensemen; and 3) Forwards. At the end of the analysis is a yes or no answer for each person.

General Manager Bob Murray

Bob Murray is championship caliber executive. He takes heat from the fans over some of the deals he makes, but they don’t consider the restraints he has. First and foremost, it’s rare that Murray is allowed to spend up to the ceiling of the cap.

Bob Murray does more with fewer resources than almost every GM in the league. He must be a hard negotiator with both agents and other GMs. Good thing he is a master of balancing cost control and talent management. Conclusion: Yes

Head Coach Randy Carlyle

You can’t say a championship team wouldn’t have a coach like Randy Carlyle, because he has won a Stanley Cup. Unfortunately for the Ducks, Carlyle was a championship coach 12 seasons ago. We have covered the coach’s shortcomings in detail at Pucks of a Feather. To keep it short, recent events indicate the game has passed Carlyle by. Conclusion: No

Goalie Ryan Miller

Any team, I mean ANY team, would love to have a backup goalie the caliber of Ryan Miller. He had a great season going 12-6-6, with a 2.35 ERA, .924 SV%, and four shutouts. At $2M per season, he is a steal for the player he is on the ice and the mentor he is off the ice.

It’s hard to beat Miller’s pedigree. He’s a former Vezina Trophy winner as the NHL’s best goalie. In addition, Miller has played in the cup finals and played for an Olympic gold medal. Conclusion: Yes, as a backup.

Goalie John Gibson

From a talent standpoint, there is no question about John Gibson. He’s flat out dynamite between the pipes. The number speak for themselves, in 178 career games, his record is 93-55-20, with a minuscule 2.33 GAA, .923 SV%, and 16 shutouts. He’s a former World Junior Championship gold medal winner as Team USA’s primary netminder.

The knock on Gibson is his injury history. Its hard to be a contributor to a championship team if you don’t play. Conclusion: Yes, if you have a reliable backup.

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