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A real life franchise that started out as a Disney movie, the Anaheim Ducks jumped off the big screen and onto the ice in 1993. Following the success of the 1992 film The Mighty Ducks, the Walt Disney Company was awarded an NHL franchise and settled into the southern California city of Anaheim.
Much like in the film, the team was not originally comprised of big time stars, but rather journeymen that Anaheim was able scoop up and mold into a complete roster. Despite their lack of star power, the Ducks put together a respectable season. Their 1993 1st round draft pick (4th overall), Paul Kariya, ended up blossoming into the club’s first star and was the face of the franchise for years to come. Midway through the next season, Anaheim was able to secure through a trade a young phenom in Teemu Selanne. The tandem of Kariya and Selanne would define Ducks hockey for the next decade, with Selanne emerging as the most important figure in the history of the franchise.
By 1997, the Ducks had earned a berth in the NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs, and won their first playoff series against the Phoenix Coyotes in seven games before being swept by the Detroit Red Wings. Another sweep by the Red Wings following the 1998-1999 season kept the Ducks from another postseason win. They would return to the playoffs in 2003 and make a big impact. On the other end of things this time, the Ducks swept the Red Wings before moving on to defeat the Dallas Stars in six games and then sweeping the Minnesota Wild in the Western Conference Finals. A Stanley Cup Final matchup against the New Jersey Devils went the distance, with the Devils ultimately prevailing in game seven. Two years later, the Ducks returned to the Conference Finals where they lost to Edmonton in five games.
Led by Captain Scott Niedermayer in 2007, the Ducks finished with a record of 48-20-14, good enough to earn them first place in their division. Beating Minnesota and Vancouver in the first two rounds (each in five games), the Ducks again matched up against the Detroit Red Wings, this time in the Western Conference Finals. Moving past Detroit in six games, the Ducks returned to the NHL’s biggest stage, facing off against the Ottawa Senators in the Stanley Cup Finals. Overpowering the Canadian team, Anaheim took the series in six games to capture their first Stanley Cup Championship. Scott Niedermayer was awarded the MVP.
Anaheim is a premier team in the league, having missed the playoffs only twice since the lockout. They were two wins away from another Stanley Cup appearance in 2017, losing in the Conference Finals to Nashville. Last season saw the Ducks eliminated early in a disappointing first round sweep at the hands of the San Jose Sharks. Making it to the Conference Finals two out of the last four years, management has decided to relieve head coach Randy Carlyle of his duties and pass the reigns along to someone else in hopes of getting over the hump and taking home the Cup. General Manager Bob Murray will serve as the interim coach for the remainder of the year before evaluating his options for the next Ducks bench boss. In the meantime, he would like to take a shot at punching his team’s ticket to the big show. Teeming with talent, his roster seems to have everything it will need to make another run.
Ryan Getzlaf, the longtime Duck and current captain, continues to lead this team by example. His intimidating demeanor and famous grit coupled with his ability to get on the score sheet keep his teammates motivated throughout the season. Aside from Getzlaf, Carlyle has a number of high powered weapons in his arsenal with players such as Corey Perry, Ryan Kesler, Rickard Rakell, Jakob Silfverberg, Cam Fowler, Patrick Eaves, and more. Add to this even more talent in Adam Henrique. Veteran netminder Ryan Miller joined the team last season to bolster their play at the goaltender position, in a backup role behind John Gibson. Fetching an eight year contract worth more than $51 million, Gibson is the unquestioned starter for the Ducks.
Poised to make another run at the Cup, the Anaheim Ducks are ready to take on all comers in the Western Conference and dominate in the Pacific Division. Every player on their roster intends to add their name to the list of most famous Ducks to grace Anaheim with their play. Included on this list are Teemu Selanne, Paul Kariya, Scott Niedermayer, Ryan Getzlaf, JS Giguere, Chris Pronger, Guy Herbert, Corey Perry, and Bobby Ryan. More about the history of the Anaheim Ducks as well as information pertaining to the current squad can be found by clicking here.