Mandatory Credit: Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports

Anaheim Ducks Puzzle Almost Complete

There is no way to sugar coat it, losing 6-2 in Game 7, to an arch-rival, on home ice is pretty much every Anaheim Ducks fan (myself included) worst nightmare. And yet as we all awoke on May 17, we realized it was a reality.

There weren’t many positives to take away from the game and there will be a wide variety of articles coming out suggesting all that was done wrong and the problems that plagued the team. However there are positives to take away from the season and the team.

In the Ducks 20th anniversary season they won their second consecutive Pacific Division Title, and they set franchise records in points (116), and goals for (266). As part of those 266 goals they had a 40+ goal scorer in Corey Perry, a 30+ goal scorer in Ryan Getzlaf,  four players hit at least 20 goals and nine players get to double-digit totals in goals.

This all was achieved with a very young team. Taking out the ages of soon to be retirees Teemu Selanne and Saku Koivu, the Ducks forward core average age is 25 years old, defensive core is 26 years old, and what seems to be the new goaltending duo of Frederik Andersen and John Gibson being 24 and 20 years old respectively. A team who on the whole is the average age of 25 just finished second in the league in points and went to Game 7 of the West Semi-Final against a team that is just two years removed from winning a Stanley Cup and still boasts much of that core.

Now I’m not suggesting this season should be termed a success, anytime you come up short of the Cup it can’t be a success. And there will be big holes to replace and questions to be answered this summer. There is no doubt some skilled veterans should be brought in to supplement the youth but anyone waiting for a team “house cleaning” best keep waiting. They are only a piece or two away, not a team that needs to be blown up.

This team achieved and took big strides for the future. If the team that showed up all season and for the first round of the playoffs showed up last night, then today could have a very different feel. And we’d be talking about getting even closer to a Cup instead of the off-season.

Bottom line is this is a good team and they will be a very good for a long time to come. Unfortunately and painfully at times like this the lyrics from Aerosmith’s “Dream On” ring true, “You gotta lose to know how to win”. That is what is happening now for this team and I believe the lessons learned are going to culminate in a Stanley Cup in the near future.

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