1. Youngsters like Kyle Palmieri, Nick Bonino, Rickard Rakell, Emerson Etem, Devante Smith-Pelly and of course Cam Fowler have played roles in the Ducks' hot start. Are the kids all right? Which ones have impressed you the most?
Martin Madden, the Director of Amateur Scouting brought on by Bob Murray, has completely reformed the team's scouting and draft processes to the benefit of the franchise. We have had really strong draft classes ever since Brian Burke left.
I forget how young Cam Fowler is. He was drafted the same year as Devante Smith-Pelly and Emerson Etem, yet he's in his third year. Up through the second period of the game against LA on Saturday, he was by far the most consistent and improved of all the Ducklings. I give a lot of the credit to Scott Niedermayer, who took Cam under his wing from day one. Yet, the Kings Jarret Stoll smashed Cam's face in to the dasher, he's out for an undetermined amount of time. Huge loss for the team.
The other two impressive Ducklings are Kyle Palmieri and Emerson Etem. Etem didn't make the roster out of camp, so he's only played three games since being called up. He hasn't shown his offensive firepower yet but the kid works his ass off on the ice. I'm really excited for his development. How he's not completely terrified to be deemed the heir-apparent to Teemu Selanne is beyond me. As for Palmieri, he's come on as of late. I was a huuuge proponent of trading him because I thought he was a career AHL player. He's looks much more comfortable on NHL ice this year and has finally become a sniper at this level. Now I look like an ass.
2. Bob Murray's signing of Sheldon Souray last offseason was somewhat controversial considering his age and the length of that contract. To my eye, he had an impressive game against the Sharks last week. How would you rate his performance so far?
I honestly thought he was going to be a major bust right off the bat. He's been effective, to say the least. Paired with Francois Beauchemin, they've become Boudreau's 'shut down' defensemen. I like to think of them as the old guys from The Muppets. I do think the deal was a little too long but I'll take it if he stays healthy ... and we keep an amnesty buyout on the books.
There are things I don't like about him, like when he can't catch up to a player he just hooks, holds and/or slashes at the player with the puck. Yet, he's got that terrifying heavy shot from the point, which makes me overlook the bad stuff. If you watch the Ducks in front of the net when Souray winds up, the seas part as if Moses were there doing it himself.
3. What's the latest on Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry contract negotiations? Are they signing with the Maple Leafs this summer or what?
I would be SHOCKED if they signed with the Leafs. With Burke gone and Carlyle running the team, they are probably going to stay far, far away from Toronto. You have to remember, Carlyle was their coach last season until those two and others started to ignore him and he was fired. With that being said, Getzlaf will stay no matter what. He's said he wants to. I think he likes the lack of pressure on him that comes with playing in Anaheim. Sure us die hard fans know he's lazy and makes poor decisions on the ice, but it's the casual hockey fans who still believe he is the Ryan Getzlaf of 2006-2008. They cheer for him, he likes that.
As for Perry, I want him to stay over Getzlaf. Everyone else in the league hates him, so you know you have a good thing. The problem is cash. Ever since Perry won the Hart, Ducks fans have had to come to the realization of how much extra money he's going to earn on his next contract solely because of the award. We are a budget team playing Sophie's Choice. In comparison to Getzy, he has said nothing about staying or wanting to negotiate a new deal. My gut tells me Perry walks for the highest dollar deal. It will be a sad, sad day when it happens.
I was skewered on AC for suggesting we trade Perry if he's not signed by the deadline. Might as well get something for him. About 90% of our readers disagreed with me.