Yesterday Los Angeles wrapped up its 2010 NHL entry draft with a fizzle, as quickly as it came teams from around the league wheeled and dealed for picks and players after that big question was finally answered. Who comes first? Seguin or Hall? Though both the Edmonton Oilers and Boston Bruins got great players as it was almost a toss-up, other teams had to rely on a bit of luck to secure the future of their franchises.
In most pre-draft picks, Cam Fowler was in the top five in the first round, and in some cases top three, so for him to suddenly drop to 12th pick in the draft was truly mind-boggling. A puck moving defenseman with precision passing and speed that could easily be plugged into any team’s blue line for the 2010-2011 season is now the member of the Anaheim Ducks, and will most likely BE plugged in to the reshaping of the Ducks blue line. With the changing of the guard finally official now that Niedermania has finally ended in Anaheim, GM Murray and the Ducks will hopefully see a ray of light at the end of a miserable season tunnel. One that changed a team so much over the course of a year that Ducks fan’s had almost lost hope, this past year for the ducks had marked the end of a great chapter in the history of the team. It all started after game 7 of the 2008-2009 Western conference semi finals between the Ducks and Redwings. That crushing goal that some how slipped past Jonas Hiller and was never able to get back as the clock ran out left so many question marks for a team that looked like it was definitely going to be back in the playoff saddle again in 2010. Though that was not the case.
Ducks fans were shocked weeks later when they saw the news that Pronger would be traded to the Philadelphia Flyers for Joffery Lupol, Luca Sbisa, and first round draft pics in 2009 and 2010. At the time Ducks fans felt sour about it all, as questions like “Lupol for Sbisa? Seriously?” ran through comments on facebook and other networking sites as they took little to no consideration for the draft pics they did receive.
Then came Niedermayer, no not that one, the other one, the one that would shut down offenses’ around the league with Marchant and Moen (In the good ol’ days that is). He was never signed and his memory was quickly swept under the rug as if he never happened at all. This upset me and a number of other fan’s, especially since he signed with New Jersey. Not a good way to end a guy’s career with your team especially since he helped bring his brother and perhaps best defenseman in the league to your team, oh and let’s not forget that big shinny thing he helped bring, what’s it called again? Oh that’s right, Lord Stanley’s Cup. This was the turning point for me and others when I completely lost confidence in GM Bob Murray as a proper successor to GM Brian Burke. This was like a hint at all the changes to come.
As the 2009-2010 NHL season got started more rumors were bounced around about other players that were appearing in trade rumors around the NHL. As Sbisa showed fans that he was not ready to take the step into the NHL, he was sent down to the minors to have guys like Brendan Mikkleson take his place. Joffery Lupol, ehhh he could be better, but what can we expect for a guy who has been passed around in the NHL like village prostitute moving from team to team, even after he had a good season with Philly he was traded again, back to the organization that brought him in, but soon ended up fading away within the roster, being injured, coming back, being injured again and then having surgery that kept him out for the rest of the season.
So after the first half of the season, Ducks fans still remained optimistic about the situation of losing a number of games, drawing on the 08-09 season for hope from when the Ducks battled back in the final weeks of the season to obtain an 8th seed birth and then topping the top seed Sharks. But then came the other trade, one that began the page turn from Stanley Cup era to rebuild. Jean-Sebastian Giguere was traded to Toronto for a terrible Jason Blake, a really terrible Vesa Toskala, and a draft pick. Thinking “what the hell is Murray doing” I realized that he was opening cap space on the Ducks roster, and putting Hiller in the driver’s seat once and for all, so Myself and all ducks fans went with it, though it hurt, we remained optimistic.
Finally after realizing players like Koivu and Eminger did nothing for the team to replace Pronger, and after realizing that this season was a bust as the Ducks never made it into the playoffs, Niedermayer retired, for good. Our captain and soul, the guy who started the “playoff years” for the Ducks is now gone while marking a very depressing time for Ducks fan’s and thus clearly making evident that the Ducks REALLY are rebuilding.
With the hangover of the Stanley cup now in the review mirror we set our sites to the 2010 NHL draft, remembering those draft picks we had, ya know the ones we got for Pronger, now looking like chump change since the Flyers ended up going to the cup, thinking (It might as well be a 2nd round pick). But on June 26, or as like to call it” JUNE 26: A NEW HOPE” will mark the beginning of a new chapter in Ducks hockey. With the 12 and 29th picks, the Duck’s selected Cam Fowler and Southern California native Emerson Etem. Two amazing players that can easily join the team in the fall, that’s right the NHL team, the Ducks. As I explained with Fowler earlier, he is an amazing puck moving defenseman that can join right away and maybe has the ability to be a Mike Green, OR a Scott Niedermayer within a year as with Drew Doughty and the Kings. With Etem, you get a solid legitimate goal scorer, one the ducks have been looking for and were not able to find with Saku Koivu, (who I hope leaves the Ducks this summer I might add). So with this little ray of sunshine in another off-season of question marks, we can finally say “good job Bob Murray” and at least try to forget the Pronger, Giguere trades, the non signing of Rob Niedermayer, and the retirement of Scotty, founder and captain of Niedermania. As with so many teams in the NHL that have turned their clubs around within a couple of years (Pittsburgh, Chicago, Los Angeles) to find success in the playoffs, General Manager Bob Murray has finally made clear to me his plan for my beloved Ducks.
LETS GO DUCKS!!!!!!!!