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The Breakdown

October 04, 2005

* 2003-04 record: 29-35-10-8, 76 points, fourth in Pacific Division.

* The coach: Randy Carlyle, first season.

* Who's gone: Steve Rucchin, Mike Leclerc, Vaclav Prospal, Martin Gerber, Niclas Havelid, Jason Krog, Kurt Sauer, Lance Ward.

* Who's new: Scott Niedermayer, Teemu Selanne, Todd Fedoruk, Travis Moen, Jason Marshall, Kip Brennan, Ryan Getzlaf, Corey Perry, Joe DiPenta.

* Projected lines: Fedoruk-Fedorov-Lupul; Sykora-R. Niedermayer-Selanne; Hedstrom-Pahlsson-McDonald; Brennan-Getzlaf-Perry.

* Projected defense pairings: Carney-S. Niedermayer; Salei-Ozolinsh; Vishnevski-Marshall.

* Projected goalie rotation: Giguere is the clear No. 1 and if he is right, he'll probably play 60 to 65 games this season. If he isn't, Ilya Bryzgalov could push for more starts.

* Keys to the season: The Ducks have more weapons and the defense is a point of strength but the real question is whether the holdovers from former coach Mike Babcock will readily accept Carlyle's message and blunt manner. Is Niedermayer ready to make this team his after emerging from Scott Stevens' long shadow in New Jersey? Selanne won't score 50 goals again but they would like 25-30 if his knee is indeed sound. Their success may ultimately fall on the shoulders of Giguere, who had an erratic follow-up to his 2002-03 breakthrough.

* Outlook: The Ducks scored just 184 goals in 2003-04, which ranked third-worst out of 30 teams. Now remade into a speedy, attacking team, the Ducks figure to easily surpass that with the acquisitions of the playmaking Niedermayer and sniper Selanne. They may not overtake San Jose for the Pacific Division title but in the Western Conference, they should make the playoffs.

* Tickets: (877) 945-3946.

THE WEEK AHEAD

2 GAMES

* Wednesday, at Chicago, 5:30 p.m. PDT, FSN West 2 -- The judgment period begins for all the changes the Ducks made during the lockout. The once-proud Blackhawks, who've built a reputation for being cheap under owner Bill Wirtz, have made some bold moves as well. All-Star goalie Nikolai Khabibulin left the Stanley Cup champion Tampa Bay Lightning for a big payday in Chicago.

* Saturday, at Nashville, 5 p.m. PDT, FSN West 2 -- There's still some sentiment around the league that hockey doesn't belong in Nashville, but the up-and-coming Predators now have a headliner in former Duck Paul Kariya and have been mentioned as a sleeper pick to unseat Detroit for the Central Division title.

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