Tomorrow night’s lineup has been announced and not a single one of the players expected to play will have played in the preseason opener against Phoenix. The Ducks will play host to the Vancouver Canucks at Honda Center at 7:00 p.m.
This lineup includes many more junior-level or minor league players than Wednesday’s lineup versus the Coyotes. Ducks fans will also be excited to see Koivu play for the first time, though it’s slightly odd that he isn’t lining up with Selanne at the start. Look for those two to connect with each other at some point in the game.
If you didn’t notice, the fourth line listed above doesn’t include a single NHL player, while the second line includes three NHL regulars. This, plus the fact that Selanne and Koivu will begin on separate lines, leads me to believe that there will be a constant shuffle in the lines tomorrow night. Coach Randy Carlyle will probably continue to expieriment with line combinations until the end of the preseason.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Saku Koivu- Koivu will make his Ducks debut on home ice, so look for him to make an impression. He and Selanne will look to add some much needed secondary scoring and should compete with the RPG (Ryan, Perry, Getzlaf) line for minutes.
Andrew Ebbett- The play of Ebbett will be huge this season. If he can continue to produce at the level he did last season, Carlyle will have to give serious thought to giving up one of the bottom two lines in favor of a third scoring line. If Ebbett does produce, Carlyle will have a ton of options for line combinations and will make defending the Ducks even more difficult.
Mark Mitera- Although Mitera is not expected to challenge for a roster spot this season, he definitely wants to make an impression. He’s a big, solid blue-liner fresh from the University of Michigan. His game time was limited last season due to an injury, but when he made his debut in the AHL he did extremely well, recording two assists and a plus-6 rating in just five games. He’s likely to start the season in the minors, but could easily be called up during the season. He is playing this preseason to make an impression for next year, when he should challenge for a regular role.
If you haven’t noticed, this lineup is absolutely HUGE. There are a good number of players that are above 6’3″, and most are over 200 lbs. Ducks fans can look forward to big things from big men in the future.