In continuing with the trend to ask our opponents some questions prior to the game, tonight brings us to the future SBN site Anaheim Calling. Currently, those guys are still working on transferring over to SBN, but you can check them out here in the meantime.
Check after the jump for Arthur's answers to how Lupul and Sbisa are fitting in, what's going on in their crease, and should JVR be given the Bobby Ryan treatment.
1) Trading Joffrey Lupul and Luca Sbisa was mostly considered an acceptable loss. In Philadelphia, Lupul was constantly looked at as inconsistent and overpaid, despite having immense talent. Sbisa was a little harder to give up since he was so young and showed great talent. How have each performed so far, and what do you expect them to do for the Ducks this year and beyond?
I've joked that going to Philadelphia for a forward is like going to the airport for lunch, and Lupul is currently a $10 Big Mac. I mean, I can't argue with the logic of overpaying playoff performers and free agents, but turning around and successfully trading an overpaid player is some GM kung fu.
In the first few games of the season, Lupul's been passing and blocking shots (last we saw him in the West, the thesaurus listed "passer" and "shot-blocker" as acceptable antonyms for "Lupul"). He's also got some elbows and some toughness, courtesy of the Flyers. Thank you, Broad Street Bullies. But I don't know how long Lupul will decide to play this way. Unfortunately, even if he regresses, we might keep him as a Top Sixer until the last year of his contract. We don't have too many pure scorers in the cupboard nipping at his heels, and Selanne and Koivu will most certainly retire this year. He's kind of got us by the short and curlies unless someone else wants him in a trade. Murray's gotta work on that kung fu.
I've been impressed with Sbisa. Offensively, I've heard comparisons to Oleg Tverdovsky's skating, and I see that. But Anaheim is a system where we'd want him to join the rush, not lead it. He's still working on that. What I love about the kid is his talent below his own hash marks. He plays the man well and can push him wide, and he's tough around the net. For that alone, I see him as a top pairing guy who we'll re-sign before the end of next year.
2) With the emergence of Jonas Hiller last year, the Ducks now have two number 1 goalies. Who will be your goalie this year, will one of them be traded, or is one of them going to be happy as a backup?
I don't think we'll have a Number 1 until after the trade deadline. Carlyle certainly has no intention of offering job security to either of them; he'll be going with the hot hand until one of them collapses or Bob Murray trades one.
And I think Murray WILL trade one of them. He has asset-loss-a-phobia, and Hiller's contract expires this season. But
moving Giguere could be difficult until the trade deadline, when a lot of his money is paid and teams get a better idea of what they have in net. With the cap room we have next year, two marketable goaltenders and an entire Olympics worth of negotiating time, Murray should be busy come March 3rd. Until then, I think HIller and Giguere will have to be happy running the crease by committee.
3) Flyers rookie James van Riemsdyk - out for today's game - has been compared to both Patrick Kane (taken ahead of him) and Bobby Ryan (same selection two years earlier). With van Riemsdyk starting the year in Philadelphia, how important was it for Ryan to get time in the AHL, and what was the main reason (other than the salary cap) that kept him out of the NHL?
If you ask Bobby Ryan, he says a lot of it was conditioning; he wasn't living a professional athlete's lifestyle on a professional athlete's diet. And I'm willing to believe that was a part of it. First, because he flew the Ducks' strength and conditioning coach out to the NHL Awards last year, and second, because his physical game has really picked up. It wouldn't be the first time we asked a guy to lose weight; Francois Beauchemin had to shed some pounds before we'd let him in the lineup.
But I think salary, particularly the bonus, was the root of the problem all along, and Ryan has pointed to that as well. You also can't fault Burke for not giving the kid three full and successful NHL seasons to bargain with at the renewal table. Though, that being said, I still think Ryan is going to try to bleed us dry on this next contract.
A few surprises: Luca Sbisa a top pairing defenseman? I thought highly of him myself, but wow. JSG being available at the trade deadline? At least we know we have options in Philly.