by PuckStopsHere on 11/06/13 at 12:40 AM ET
The first place team in the NHL right now is the Anaheim Ducks. They have a record of 12 wins and four losses, with one regulation tie point, for 25 points. Although they are a strong team that finished third overall in 2013, this is a bit of a surprise. It is a huge step up from their 2011/12 finish which was third from last in the West Conference. Their player personnel hasn't changed much. The big change is coaching. Bruce Boudreau has brought in a successful positive atmosphere that has led to winning. He should have won the 2013 Coach of the Year Award and is making a strong case for it this season.
Corey Perry and Ryan Getzlaf are sold point per game performers but there is little offensive depth here. Mathieu Perreault is currently third in scoring and is the only other player on the team with more than 8 points. Francois Beauchemin is their top defenceman and will be hard-pressed to match an excellent 2013 campaign where he was a Norris Trophy candidate. Cam Fowler is developing into a good defenceman as well after early growing pains. Jonas Hiller has been their number one goalie most of the season, though rookie Frederik Andersen has taken control in goal and is playing quite well as of late.
This team doesn't have the talent to hold onto first overall. The fact that they have done this so far is a testament to the coaching of Bruce Boudreau and some good luck. It is rare to have as good a record as the Ducks have without a bigger goal differential. They Ducks have currently scored 12 more times than opposition, while some teams have a goal differential twice as good as that. I suspect that Anaheim's time in first place in the league will be short-lived, but they should finish a solid playoff team.
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