Anaheim Ducks

Now one of the best known and best loved teams in the NHL, the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim (renamed as Anaheim Ducks) were founded in 1993 by The Walt Disney Company. The franchise was awarded by the NHL in December 1992, along with the rights to a Miami team that would become the Florida Panthers. An entrance fee of $50 million was required, half of which Disney would pay directly to the Los Angeles Kings in order to "share" the Southern California area. On March 1, 1993, at the brand-new Anaheim Arena- located a short distance east of Disneyland and across the Orange Freeway from Angel Stadium - the team got its name, inspired by the 1992 Disney movie The Mighty Ducks, based on a group of misfit kids who turn their losing youth hockey team into a winning team.

Philadelphia-arena management specialist Tony Tavares was chosen to be team president, and Jack Ferreira, who previously helped create the San Jose Sharks, became the Ducks' general manager. The Ducks selected Ron Wilson to be the first head coach in team history. The Ducks and the expansion Florida Panthers team filled out their rosters in the 1993 NHL Expansion Draft and the 1993 NHL Entry Draft. In the former, a focus on defense led to goaltenders Guy Hebert and Glenn Healy being the first picks, followed by Alexei Kasatonov and Steven King. In the latter, the Ducks selected as the fourth overall pick Paul Kariya, who only began play in 1994 but would turn out to be the face of the franchise for many years. The resulting roster had the lowest payroll of the NHL at only $7.9 million. Kariya was definitely one of those legends whose name will forever be indelibly linked to the Anaheim Ducks.

Led by captain Troy Loney, the Ducks' finished the season 33-46-5, a record-breaking number of wins for an expansion team, which the Florida Panthers also achieved. The Ducks sold out 27 of 41 home games, including the last 25, and filled the Arrowhead Pond to 98.9% of its season capacity. Ducks licensed merchandise shot to number one in sales among NHL clubs, helped by their presence in Disney's theme parks and Disney Stores.The lockout-shortened 1994-95 NHL season saw the debut of Paul Kariya, who would play 47 of the team's 48 games that year, scoring 18 goals and 21 assists for 39 points. The Ducks had another respectable season, going 16-27-5.

The period between 2010 and the present was mixed for the Ducks. In 2010 they finished fourth whilst in 2011-12 they were rocked by the tragic death of former Mighty Duck Ruslan Salei in a plane crash and didn't reach the playoffs. 2012/13 was a vast improvement where they managed to win the Pacific Championship. 2013/14 saw the departure of Teemu Selanne and a record equalling 10 win streak In 2014/15 and 2015/16 they reached the playoffs but fell at the early hurdles while in 2016/17 they also fell in game 6 of the playoffs.

Currently, the Ducks are in a fight for yet another consecutive playoff berth. A fight that very well could go down to the last game of the season given how tight the standings are currently - or perhaps not, given the masterclass in getting older the Ducks gave at the trade deadline. Nonetheless, I think most Ducks fans recognise that, sooner or later, the Ducks will require some sort of a rebuild.

Certainly, there is hope that the prospects currently in the system, such as Troy Terry (should he choose to sign with the Ducks), Jacob Larsson, and Max Jones can buoy the Ducks somewhat. However, with big pieces of the Ducks getting older (i.e. Getzlaf, Perry, Kesler), and much of the remaining Western Conference teams getting younger, the Duck may simply have no say in the matter.

The team is currently pretty strong at the moment but the draft does seem to have some niggling issues. The Ducks absolutely should attempt to wring the last of Ryan Getzlaf's superior talents from him, thus this is not a piece advocating the great tankening of 2018 - it's too late to sell now even if it were. Anyone the Ducks draft this season won't matter a lick to their on-ice performances in the next 2-4 years; conveniently ready to make their mark around the time that Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry will be off the Ducks books. At least so far as their current contracts go.

Jakob Silfverberg, Andrew Cogliano, and Patrick Eaves will also likely be moved on in that time frame. Of the current forward corp, only Ryan Kesler with his 6.875 million dollar contract (and No-Movement Clause), and Rickard Rakell, will still likely be on the books. Their contracts will both be completed in the 2022-2023 season. Thus, the next 2-4 seasons will naturally be a time to rejuvenate the list.