After an incredible regular season, the Anaheim Ducks were defeated by eventual Stanley Cup winners Chicago Blackhawks in the Conference Finals back in May. However, that's in the past. Anaheim will be looking forward to the upcoming season, which gets under way on October 11th. The Ducks have a tricky schedule but are more than capable of negotiating difficult fixtures as they bid to claim their fourth consecutive Pacific Division title.
Anaheim - August 8, 2015 - After an incredible regular season, the Anaheim Ducks were defeated by eventual Stanley Cup winners Chicago Blackhawks in the Conference Finals back in May. The Ducks, who won their one and only Stanley Cup back in 2007, were unfortunate to go down to the Blackhawks but can have no complaints after losing 4-3 in the seven game series. However, that's in the past. Anaheim will be looking forward to the upcoming season, which gets under way on October 11th. The Ducks have a tricky schedule but are more than capable of negotiating difficult fixtures as they bid to claim their fourth consecutive Pacific Division title.
Despite their phenomenal record in the Pacific Division, the Ducks have struggled in the playoffs as they come up against the National Hockey League's better sides. The likes of San Jose Sharks, Los Angeles Kings and Vancouver Canucks have been no match for the Californian-based Ducks, largely thanks to general manager Bob Murray's solid organization. The 2013-14 General Manager of the Year has been instrumental in Anaheim's rise - making key draft decisions and trades. It's certainly worth checking out Anaheim's odds in the Bet365 NHL Betting markets if you are interested in placing a bet on the Stanley Cup. The Ducks will be a force in the Western Conference this season and will be looking to exert revenge on the Blackhawks after the events of last season.
Meanwhile, head coach Bruce Boudreau has kept his job amid reports that he was to be fired after Anaheim's playoff defeat to Chicago. While a dismissal could have been classed as harsh, the people of Anaheim have been waiting many years for a shot at a second Stanley Cup and, after Boudreau's side threw away a 3-2 lead with two games remaining. Despite holding home advantage in the deciding game, the Ducks lost 5-3 to give Chicago the opportunity to win hockey's biggest prize. Although Boudreau remains at the helm, Anaheim acted quickly in the offseason to ensure that they don't suffer a similar fate this season.
In the first round of the 2015 NHL draft, the Ducks selected Frolunda HC defenseman Jacob Larsson. The prospect is highly rated and was ranked as one of the top defensive players available. Meanwhile, Anaheim released James Wisniewski, Emerson Etem and Kyle Palmieri in order to create some much-needed salary cap space. However, they did manage to secure the services of forward Carl Hagelin as part of the Etem deal, which is an excellent acquisition. The attacker has spent his first four NHL seasons with the New York Rangers, scoring 58 goals and setting up 72 during his tenure in the Big Apple. Furthermore, he has also played in 73 postseason matches during that period and will bring crucial experience to the side.
It would be foolish to suggest that Anaheim will walk through the Western Conference but they should stand an excellent chance of reaching the latter stages of the postseason once again. The Pacific Division remains 'theirs to lose' and, with a bit of luck, they could go on to defeat Chicago Blackhawks and feature in their first Stanley Cup series since 2007. Anything less than a Stanley Cup appearance and Boudreau may well be looking for another team at the end of the season.