This post is just to point out what changes were made in both the San Jose roster and the Anaheim roster over the course of 2005-06, and how it helped them even get into the playoff picture, let alone contend in the playoffs.
Both these teams suffered early, with Anaheim losing 8 straight games Nov. 3-20. Not to be outdone, San Jose lost 10 straight from Nov. 5-30.
So let's take a look at what happened that made these teams contenders:
- November 30--acquired Joe Thornton.
- February 8--put Vesa Toskala in the net full-time
- November 15--traded Sergei Fedorov to Columbus for Francois Beauchemin and Todd Marchant (essentially)
- January 9--traded away Petr Sykora to the NY Rangers, promoted Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry to the big club.
- March 9--in separate deals, traded away Keith Carney to Vancouver and Sandis Ozolinsh to the NY Rangers, acquired Sean O'Donnell from Phoenix and Jeff Friesen from Washington.
The events themselves seem dissimilar enough, in that San Jose gave up depth to get the best player, whereas Anaheim gave up top-line talent in order to promote from within.
In the end, though, both teams ended up as young speedy teams highlighted with some top-name talent (Thornton and Marleau, Selanne and Niedermayer). They are mobile, deep, and dangerous. The end result seems similar, while the path-to-success is quite different.
As a Ducks fan, I was impressed at how our squad had been sneaking up the playoff ladder, but every time I looked San Jose was climbing right behind us (and passed us in the end). A playoff series (should it occur) would definitely be interesting, but apparently the Edmonton hopefuls have other plans.