43-27-12, sixth in West; lost in conference finals to Edmonton
KEY ADDITIONS D
KEY LOSSES RW
Joffrey Lupul, D Ruslan Salei, D Vitaly Vishnevski
Life in the O.C.
got even sunnier in July when superstar defenseman Chris Pronger was acquired
in a trade with Edmonton that unites him with another Norris Trophy winner,
Scott Niedermayer. (Pronger won it in 2000, Niedermayer in '04.) The Ducks, who
play an aggressive, high-tempo game, will have at least one of those elite
blueliners on the ice virtually all the time--and that immediately makes them a
Stanley Cup favorite.
like a thoroughbred; Chris is like a Clydesdale," says G.M. Brian Burke.
"In terms of skating the puck out of trouble, Scottie has a clear
advantage. [And] he's such a smooth passer. Chris is more physical and uses his
stick more to beat people with a pass. They'll complement each other
In exchange for
the 6'6", 215-pound Pronger, who is in the second year of a five-year, $31
million deal, Anaheim gave up promising forward Joffrey Lupul, defenseman
Ladislav Smid, a 2007 first-round pick, a 2008 second-round pick and a
conditional first-round pick. But the Ducks, who have top scorers Teemu Selanne
(40 goals) and Andy McDonald (34) coming back, have the depth to overcome those
losses. More important, after watching the Pronger-led Oilers dominate his
Ducks in the conference finals, Burke was convinced Pronger was the missing
piece on his team.
wishing I had Chris when I saw him warming up for the first game [of the
series]," Burke says. "I've been coveting this player ever since I
drafted him [for the Hartford Whalers] in 1993."
By adding Pronger
to his current team, Burke now has everything in place for the Ducks to win the