Commentary

Summer Skate: Anaheim Ducks

Cam Fowler, Emerson Etem figure to make an impression in 2012-13

Updated: August 14, 2012, 12:45 PM ET
By Robert Vollman and Craig Custance | Hockey Prospectus/ESPN Insider
Cam FowlerAP Photo/LM OteroCam Fowler should enjoy an offensive uptick in the coming season.

Using the VUKOTA projection system of Hockey Prospectus, Insider is taking the temperature of key players on every NHL team, continuing with the Anaheim Ducks. For a detailed explanation of Prospectus' proprietary GVT value metric, read more here.

Summer Skate -- Anaheim Ducks

Despite dropping 19 points and missing the playoffs, Anaheim was actually a slightly better team last season, just not nearly as lucky. For example, the Ducks' overtime and shootout record went from 13-5 in 2010-11 to 5-12 last season, a swing that could account for up to 15 of the 19 points by itself.

Fortunately their possession game improved from 28th overall in 2010-11 to 22nd last season, a boost that was especially noticeable under new coach Bruce Boudreau.

They've also really solidified their blue line by replacing Sheldon Brookbank and Lubomir Visnovsky with Bryan Allen and Sheldon Souray.

Though Daniel Winnik will help, unfortunately they still suffer from a serious lack of forward depth, forcing them to heap the tough minutes onto the broad shoulders of stars like Corey Perry and Ryan Getzlaf, which should limit their production and relegate Anaheim to playoff bubble team status at best.

Trending up: D Cam Fowler
Last season: 0.9 GVT | VUKOTA projection: 5.7 GVT

Not only will Lubomir Visnovsky's departure allow the 20-year-old Fowler to retain all of Anaheim's best offensive opportunities, but the arrival of Bryan Allen and Souray, joining Francois Beauchemin and Toni Lydman, means he'll be relieved of some of his defensive responsibilities, too.