The Anaheim Ducks finished two points out of the Western Conference cellar in 2011-12, but an impressive turnaround followed this past season, as Anaheim registered the second-most points in the West and the third-most in the entire NHL.
Their regular season success didn't translate to the postseason, as the Ducks were eliminated in the first round by the Detroit Red Wings, so general manager Bob Murray entered the offseason looking to build upon the foundation with hopes of advancing deeper in 2013-14. A quiet offseason quickly became a massive one on July 5 with the trade of star forward Bobby Ryan.
Will his summer mean a more competitive Ducks squad on the ice come October? Let's look closely at what Anaheim has done thus far.
NHL Draft 2013
Anaheim had five selections in June's seven-round NHL Draft. Ultimately taking players at the No. 26, 45, 85, 147 and 177 overall selections, the club collected three forwards and two defensemen. Here are those picks, organized by selection order:
* Shea Theodore, defenseman
* Nick Sorensen, forward
* Keaton Thompson, defenseman
* Grant Beese, forward
* Miro Aaltonen, forward
Theodore was the club's top-selection. Based upon scouting reports collected by Anaheim Calling, he's a capable puck-moving defenseman who requires development in the defensive component of his game.
Sorensen is described as a talented skater who is capable of grinding pucks out of corners. However, injury issues have raised questions about his development being stunted due to the amount of time he has missed.
Thompson is profiled as a cerebral player with good technique. While scouting reports indicate he might not be the most gifted player, his ability to think the game compensates that deficiency.
Taking care of their own
The Ducks were not players in the free agent market. Instead, the club chose to re-sign players that were on the roster during the 2013 season. They included Matt Belesky, who was extended with a two-year deal and Saku Koivu with a one-year deal.
Anaheim Calling has written about the team's need for a second line center and wondered if a big name addition could come via free agency. To this point, that still hasn't happened.
While a big name signing didn't come to Anaheim on the opening of free agency, a big name trade did.
The Bobby Ryan Trade
Seemingly in the works for years, Ryan was finally traded on the first day of unrestricted free agency. While many assumed Philadelphia was the most likely partner for such a deal, the post-Daniel Alfredsson Ottawa Senators were willing to generate a package enticing enough to finally get the trade done.
The final agreement was:
* Bobby Ryan
* Jakob Silfverberg
* Stefan Noesen
* 2014 first-round draft pick
Silfverberg is a talented winger, who potentially could flourish under a top-pairing assignment with Corey Perry and Ryan Getzlaf. Noesen is expected to be a capable NHL player and the infusion of a first-round pick is obviously a beneficial addition.
Questions in the Middle
The Ducks still have work to do: in particular, cementing the top-six with a second-line center. Veteran forward Teemu Selanne has yet to determine whether he will return next season. The 43-year-old contributed 24 points last season and his absence would create another hole in the team's top-six.
Considering the Ducks' depth in goal with Jonas Hiller and Viktor Fasth, as well as the potential of prospect John Gibson, the club might look to use that depth to improve other areas of need. Regardless, the Ducks will look to continue building upon their quality 2013 and prove that they're capable of extending that success throughout an 82-game season.