Experience is the building block of championship teams, and many Anaheim Ducks players lacked experience during their 2014 Stanley Cup playoff run.
After finishing with the best record in a strong Western Conference, the Ducks advanced past the Dallas Stars in six games before being eliminated by the eventual Stanley Cup champion Los Angeles Kings in a seven-game second-round series.
Ducks defenseman Cam Fowler doesn’t see experience being an issue moving forward.
“The biggest thing was experiencing something like (playing in a Game 7 in Round 2),” Fowler recently told Kyle Shohara of AnaheimDucks.com. “We had a pretty young team, aside from guys like Teemu (Selanne) and Saku (Koivu) – guys who had been in situations like that,”
“For the rest of us, that was our first Game 7 besides when we lost to Detroit the season prior. Just being in that situation, a game away from the Conference Finals, we now have that experience as a team. We know what it takes. That was the main difference. LA had a more experienced group and they knew what that situation was like. That’s why you saw the result you saw. We have that to lean back on. If we get that opportunity again, we’ll know how to approach it.”
The Ducks had several young guys playing key roles last season, especially on the blue line, where Hampus Lindholm, Sami Vatanen and Fowler all made tremendous strides in their development. The playoff experience that they all gained will help them next season, but Anaheim still has experience issues to deal with.
The goaltending situation looks promising, but the likely tandem of John Gibson and Frederik Andersen has a combined 11 games of postseason experience (all from 2014). A lack of experience at the most important position is a weakness for the Ducks, especially when you consider that they are an average puck possession team (ranked 15th in corsi-for percentage last season) and have a young blue line that will make mistakes.
Bob Murray, the reigning General Manager of the Year, should add a veteran backup at some point before the regular season starts in October. At the moment, Anaheim is the third-best team in the West behind the Kings and the Chicago Blackhawks, two teams with more experienced goaltending.
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