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Five things to watch with the Ducks

A goaltending competition and a shaken up defense will be of interest this season.

October 02, 2009|Helene Elliott

1 The goaltending competition between Jean-Sebastien Giguere and Jonas Hiller will have a ripple effect. If Hiller prevails, the Ducks will have to ask Giguere to waive his no-trade clause because they can't take a $6-million salary cap hit this season and next for a backup. He could be attractive to teams whose goalies are hurt or struggling.

2 Their defense lost its meanness when they traded Chris Pronger and lost Francois Beauchemin to free agency. James Wisniewski can level people, but he can't be the only one. Luca Sbisa is an up-and-comer, but he's only 19 and has 39 games' NHL experience. After Wisniewski, Scott Niedermayer and Ryan Whitney, everyone is interchangeable.

3 They had difficulty scoring most of last season and lacked a strong second line. If former Montreal captain Saku Koivu can adjust to a new team and conference, that problem could be solved. They must still find a winger who fits with him and Teemu Selanne.

4 Ryan Getzlaf missed most of training camp while recovering from hernia surgery. The Ducks can't afford to have him lagging at the start. He tied for sixth in the NHL scoring race last season with a career-high 91 points and has yet to reach his peak.

5 Coach Randy Carlyle can be abrasive, but winning soothes wounded feelings. Teams often tune coaches out after a while, and this will be his fifth season behind the bench. His success has been impressive, but can he keep things fresh?

-- Helene Elliott

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