Congrats to the Ducks for being based off of a kids movie…at least in name. But seriously, the Ducks are a very young team that has found success pretty early on in their existence, which, after reading about all of these expansion teams, I now know is not the norm.
Here’s the summary:
- Located in the Pacific Division of the Western Conference
- Founded in 1993
- Located in Anaheim, CA
- Arena: Honda Center
- Owner(s): Henry & Susan Samueli
- GM: Bob Murray
- Head Coach: Randy Carlyle
- Captain: Ryan Getzlaf
- Minor League Affiliate: San Diego Gulls
- Stanley Cups: 1
Being a young team, they don’t have much in terms of history. But here’s an outline:
This team was founded by The Walt Disney Company. As is required for expansion teams, a hefty entrance fee was paid by Disney to the NHL, with more than half going to the LA Kings since they would be sharing Southern California. The team was indeed named after the Disney movie, The Mighty Ducks.
Interesting to note, the Mighty Ducks broke records due to their successful debut season as an expansion team, matching the Florida Panthers, who were also an expansion team founded the same year.
1995 saw the arrival of Teemu Selanne from the Winnipeg Jets, ushering in the Selanne/Kariya era. This led to the Ducks making their first post-season appearance, making it to the second round of the Stanley Cup playoffs before getting eliminated by the Detroit Red Wings, the eventual champions.
During the 2000-2001 season, Selanne’s drop in production, among other issues the team had, caused the Ducks to trade him to the San Jose Sharks at the trade deadline. However he would come back a couple of years later as a free agent (in time to win the Stanley Cup with them).
In 2003 the Ducks made it back to the Stanley Cup playoffs in what would be an amazing, yet crushing run. They made it to the finals against the New Jersey Devils, only to lose in game 7. Notable points throughout this run:
- The Ducks swept the Red Wings in the first round, eliminating the team that had knocked them out of contention their last post-season appearance
- During their series against the Dallas Stars (booo), the 4th longest NHL game in history was played; the Ducks scored in the 5OT to give them the series lead
- In the Western Conference Finals, goalie Jean-Sebastian Giguere would post 3 consecutive shutouts against the Minnesota Wild. He let in one goal the entire series in the eventual sweep.
- During the Stanley Cup Finals against the Devils, Rob Niedermayer faced off against his brother, Scott.
- The Ducks managed to force a Game 7, but lost 3-0. Giguere was awarded the Conn Smythe Trophy for his heroic post-season performance, becoming the fifth player in history to win the trophy as part of the losing team.
In 2004, as the League headed towards a lockout, Disney sold the franchise to Henry and Susan Samueli, who pledged to keep the team in Anaheim. The “Mighty Ducks” was dropped from the name, and they officially became known as the “Anaheim Ducks”.
The Ducks won the Stanley Cup in 2007, defeating the Ottawa Senators. This would be their 3rd playoff appearance in franchise history, becoming the first California team to win the Stanley Cup Championship.
The Ducks have managed to make a couple of post-season appearances since then, and have remained at the top of the standings pretty consistently, however they have not managed to make it far into the playoffs since their success in 2007. This past season they were eliminated in the first round by the Nashville Predators.
- Teemu Selanne
- Paul Kariya
- Chris Pronger
- Scott Niedermayer
- Jean-Sebastian Giguere
- Ryan Getzlaf
- Corey Perry
- Ryan Kesler
Despite my general disdain for the Ducks, I do admire them for the success they have had in their relatively short history. This team seemed to have skipped over the struggles that most expansion teams have. This past season ended on an extremely sour note, leading to the firing of head coach Bruce Boudreau (giving him the opportunity to go to the Minnesota Wild, so thanks a lot, Ducks), so it will be interesting to see how the team responds, especially since they decided to bring back Randy Carlyle, the guy that led them to their first Stanley Cup.