Can the second act of Ducks Coach Randy Carlyle rewrite the long-running play of four straight Game 7 losses? Carlyle was brought back for stability while Ryan Getzlaf, Corey Perry and Ryan Kesler form one of the NHL’s best forward trios. But Anaheim needs to improve offensively while unsigned free agents Rickard Rakell and Hampus Lindholm hang in limbo. It’s the 10th anniversary season of their 2007 Stanley Cup, but, to paraphrase former Boston Celtics coach Rick Pitino, Scott Niedermayer and Chris Pronger are not walking through that door. Below are projected lines, defensive pairings and goalies:
Line 1: LW Nick Ritchie 37, C Ryan Getzlaf 15, RW Corey Perry 10
Longtime linemates Getzlaf and Perry will be split up and reunited depending on how the offense performs. Ritchie, 20, showed up to camp leaner and is being asked to produce more.
Line 2: LW Andrew Cogliano 7, C Ryan Kesler 17, RW Nick Sorensen 59
Kesler was a Selke Trophy finalist (best defensive forward) and is a staple with Cogliano, who has played 704 consecutive games. Sorensen earned a look to start with a surprise camp.
Line 3: LW Mason Raymond 39, C Antoine Vermette 50, RW Jakob Silfverberg 33
Vermette should pay immediate returns because of his faceoff ability. Silfverberg, one of their best two-way forwards, probably will be moved around. Raymond is trying to rediscover his scoring touch.
Line 4: LW Ryan Garbutt 16, C Chris Wagner 21, RW Jared Boll 40
Wagner anchors a traditional energy line that won’t lack ruggedness with Garbutt and Boll, who are known for their agitation and fists. Wagner signed a two-year contract extension in April.
Defense 1: Cam Fowler 4, Josh Manson 42
Fowler led Ducks defensemen in average ice time last season and will be relied on to help make up for Lindholm’s absence on the offensive end. Manson continues to develop into an imposing stay-at-home role.
Defense 2: Simon Despres 6, Kevin Bieksa 2
Bieksa, 35, provides leadership and experience but had a team-leading 99 penalty minutes in his first season with Anaheim. Despres is healthy after he played through concussion symptoms last season.
Defense 3: Jacob Larsson 51, Sami Vatanen 45
Vatanen had a career-high 38 points last season, against 20 penalty minutes, and is their power-play quarterback. Larsson, 19, won a job in camp with his precocious defensive responsibility.
Goalies: John Gibson 36, Jonathan Bernier 1
The spotlight will be bright on Gibson as he attempts to become a full-time NHL goalie at 23. Bernier performed well in preseason and will push Gibson for starts. Spares: Defensemen Clayton Stoner and Korbinian Holzer will fill in on the third pairing. Center Nate Thompson is out until midseason with a torn Achilles and rookie left wing Joseph Cramarossa made the final cut as a spare forward.
Special teams: The bar was set last season when the Ducks became the first team since the 1984-85 New York Islanders to finish No.1 on the power play (23.1%) and penalty killing (87.2%). Assistant coaches Paul MacLean and Trent Yawney return to guide those units, although some of the personnel is gone or unavailable.
Who’s new: Bernier was the marquee acquisition of the summer, via trade with Toronto for a 2017 conditional draft pick. Vermette, Raymond and Boll were free-agent signings.
Who’s gone: Goalie Frederik Andersen was traded to Toronto for a 2016 first-round draft pick and a second-round pick in 2017. Forwards Jamie McGinn and David Perron signed with Arizona and St. Louis, respectively. Forwards Mike Santorelli, Brandon Pirri, Chris Stewart and goalie Anton Khudobin left through free agency; Shawn Horcoff retired.