Los Angeles Hockey: Vladislav Namestnikov

Ducks hope for more luck in the draft

June, 23, 2011
Few could have predicted last season’s rapid returns.

Holding the No. 12 overall pick in the NHL draft a year ago, the Ducks certainly didn’t expect to land a player who would make the opening-day roster, much less stick around to play 76 regular-season games and six more in the playoffs.

But that very well could’ve been their biggest score last season, somehow ending up with Cam Fowler in their lap.

The offense-minded defenseman turned out to be just the right addition for a team trying to fill the massive hole left at the blue line following the offseason retirement of Scott Niedermayer. Fowler helped lessen the sting, finishing with 11 goals and 33 assists, the latter a club record for a rookie.

A year later, the Ducks are hoping to catch another fallen star, this time with the 22nd overall pick in Friday’s first round, which will be held at Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, Minn.

The possibilities are long and varied.

Will the organization look to further bolster its defensive corps? Not only does the back end still need to recoup some of its losses following Niedermayer’s retirement, but fellow blue-liners Lubomir Visnovsky and Francois Beauchemin are also on the down sides of their careers and getting them through another season unscathed seems more and more of a challenge.

Or does the front office go fishing for a future top six forward, especially with Teemu Selanne just days away from his 41st birthday and still undecided about his plans for next season?

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