Boudreau: It’s ‘not a rule’ that Cup winners need an elite d-man
The one time the Anaheim Ducks won the Stanley Cup, they had Scott Niedermayer and Chris Pronger on defense.
In the past couple of years, they’ve been eliminated by teams with Drew Doughty and Duncan Keith, each of whom went on to hoist the Cup with the Kings and Blackhawks, respectively.
And so the Ducks will enter another season with hopes that one of their d-men can be “that guy” for them.
Head coach Bruce Boudreau is fully aware that most Cup winners have that one stud back there.
“In recent memory, it’s always happened,” he told the O.C. Register.
“It’s not a rule that it has to be.”
Indeed it’s not. For example, the 2006 Carolina Hurricanes. Their six d-men when they dispatched the Oilers were Mike Commodore, Bret Hedican, Aaron Ward, Frantisek Kaberle, Glen Wesley, and Niclas Wallin.
Suffice to say, that team’s main strength was not the blue line.
This year, the Ducks have seven d-men on one-way contracts: Hampus Lindholm, Cam Fowler, Sami Vatanen, Kevin Bieksa, Clayton Stoner, Simon Despres, and Korbinian Holzer.
If Lindholm or Fowler can develop into a Norris Trophy candidate, great. (Both seem to have the desire. Lindholm, 21, says he wants to be “that key guy to always have an impact in a game"; Fowler, 23, feels “like it’s my time now to kind of show what I can do.”)
If not, the Ducks’ defense boasts an impressive mix of talent and experience regardless, with blue-chipper Shea Theodore still to come.