Alternate title: Sleek learns to use table tags in HTML!
A week ago, I put together a post called “Pessimism about the Ducks’ forwards”, which looked back at the 2003-04 stats for our projected lineup and noted that nobody had scored more NHL goals that year than Teemu Selanne’s paltry 16.
Today I am going to turn a little more optimistic. For this post, I want to look at a particular segment of the Ducks’ past season, the games played after the Olympic Break. In Anaheim’s instance, that includes 25 regular season games and 16 playoff games, for a nice ‘half-season’ 41-game sample.
- From the Ducks’ perspective, this is the segment of games most predictive for the coming year. That is, these games mostly took place after the departures of Fedorov, Sykora, Ozolinsh, and Carney, and the promotions of Getzlaf, Perry, and sometimes Penner.
- From a sampling perspective, these 41 games actually are a bit tougher than what one might expect in an 82-game regular season. 30 of the 41 games were played against playoff teams, including 15 against top-3 seeds Detroit, Dallas, and Calgary. There were 20 home games and 21 road games in the sample.
- This segment was a particularly successful run for the Ducks, having gone 13-6-1 at home and 12-8-1 on the road and outscoring opponents 3.20 - 2.56.
So how'd we do it? Here are the top-dozen leading scorers for the Ducks over those 41 games; note that all except Joffrey Lupul will be back next year:
|Player||Games||G-A-Pts||ATOI||Power Play||Within 1 Goal|
The first thing to notice (other than the nice layout of the table) is how dominant Teemu Selanne and Andy McDonald were over that stretch, and generally how decently-spread the rest of the scoring was. The point I really want to emphasize, though, is that even with his 4-goal outburst in G3 at Colorado, Joffrey Lupul wasn't a huge piece of point-scoring puzzle during this winning stretch.
That is not to say that Lupul's goal totals won't be missed; the Ducks won't be able to generate points on assists alone. However, there seems to be good evidence that a healthy Corey Perry (who sustained an injury in the playoffs) or a full-time Dustin Penner (who spent much time in the AHL) have the ability to pick up some of that slack, especially since both will be a year older and wiser.
41 games isn't really a lot to base expectations on, but it's not exactly chump change either. Sure, our forwards don't have a lot of pre-lockout success, but there is evidence that this mostly-intact squad (plus a guy named Pronger) can collectively generate the goals (and wins) needed to succeed in the coming year.
Now we just need to figure out who our best goaltender is...