|Corey Perry (AP)|
Anaheim has had some small struggles in recent seasons, using a late push two years ago to reach the postseason and then struggling to one of the worst records in the NHL last season. But had they been able to keep the draft classes together, something tells me that wouldn't have been the case.
We know how this line looks, and it's pretty damn good. You have two outstanding scorers on the wings centered by a play-making center. Oh, and they're all still relatively young, too.
Assuming we're getting the Lupul who played last season in Toronto, this is a strong second line. Parenteau has seemingly come into his own as a play-maker on the wing and he can feed Lupul as well as Cullen. None of these guys are in Anaheim now, but together they're a strong trio.
The best thing about this line in my mind? We actually have legit third-liners to fill these spots. Miller has fit in well playing in that capacity with the Wings and Smith-Pelley was impressing before his injury last season. Brent has been getting more regular ice time and has produced enough, including 12 goals last season for Carolina.
Offensive Scratch: Emerson Etem
He is one of the top prospects in the game, a scorer with speed to burn. We'll keep him around and squeeze him into the lineup on occasion.
Pardon me while I clean up the drool. Gardiner is the older of the two at 22 years old and both have really bright futures. The Leafs believe they have a franchise blue liner. The same can be said of the Ducks and Fowler.
Just in case two young blue-chip defensemen weren't enough, how about a third in Schultz? While he hasn't played yet in the NHL, the consensus on him is that he'll be a star. O'Brien has the fourth guy and almost an afterthought? Other teams should be so lucky.
Defensive Scratch: Ladislav Smid
There are multiple guys we could sub in and out here, it’s a nice problem to have. Jordan Leopold also was in the conversation. Tough to keep these guys in the press box.
The potential here is good, but the margain for error isn't. We have seen what Bryzgalov is capable of doing and that's good, but the variations in his game are drastic. When his game goes south, is Gerber enough to keep them afloat? Considering he spent last season in Sweden, it makes you wonder. A lot. This could be the Achilles heel if Bryz does struggle.