Kukla's Korner Hockey
by Paul on 08/30/14 at 07:47 AM ET
from Curtis Zupke at NHL.com,
How much will Kesler help close the gap between Anaheim and the Kings and Chicago Blackhawks? – Kesler is adept in the faceoff circle and will help the Ducks' 22nd-ranked power play. When healthy, he is good for 10-15 power-play goals per season and is also a shorthanded threat.
Defensively, Kesler has won the Selke Trophy (and was a finalist two other times) and provides size and a 200-foot game that is valuable in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
That said, Kesler alone won't put Anaheim on par with Los Angeles and Chicago. The Ducks had to give up Nick Bonino in the trade and veterans Koivu and Perreault were not brought back, so they aren't as deep down the middle on their third and fourth lines.
How does the goaltending shake out? – Frederik Andersen is probably the No. 1 at the moment but that could change in a heartbeat if fellow second-year goalie John Gibson has an outstanding training camp. Andersen and Gibson both usurped Jonas Hiller, who signed with the Calgary Flames, and there might be times this season when Anaheim realizes how much it misses Hiller. That's why Jason LaBarbera was signed to provide veteran leadership.
"We think we've got two really good goalies and an experienced, veteran goalie," coach Bruce Boudreau said. "I think we're OK there, I just don't know how it will shake out."
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