Despite what appeared to be a great season in the standings, we are hard pressed to see how the Ducks can succeed on the same level next season without significant roster changes. While the team as a whole is presently constructed with middle tier players on the Advanced Bracton (AB) scale, the Ducks combined for a slightly negative AB score for the season (-2.43) – FOR AN EXPLANATION OF TERMS PLEASE SEE HOCKEYFREEFORALL.COM.
The negative AB is consistent with the Ducks only scoring 10 more goals than they allowed, almost exactly within our model. Normally teams with a +10 goal differential do not finish first overall in the conference. In fact next year, if were to apply Advanced Bracton to the Ducks without roster changes, we see them at roughly the 7th overall spot but making the playoffs if teams such as Winnipeg (-17.43 AB) and Vancouver (-13.09 AB) remain squarely negative. Notably, all the teams with positive ABs for the year, (calculated for players that appeared in 20 or more games for the club, of which the Western Conference had six teams), made the NHL playoffs.
Moreover, when we compared the Advanced Bracton (AB) Scores of all the teams participating in the playoffs, we observed that of the 14 series played prior to the Final round, the team with the higher AB score won 12 of 14. This includes a convincing eight of eight (100%) of first round matchups. This is an extremely high correlation, despite the low sample size, between AB and playoff success. After all, more playoff dates translate to greater hockey related revenues given more home games, something teams that do not qualify for the playoffs forego.
As for the Ducks, they were the only team in the first two rounds to win a playoff series against a team with a higher AB when they ousted Calgary (+13.11) in five games. When they lost to Chicago (+20.06 AB), the overall prowess of the Blackhawks to prevent unscored goals at the margin (UGM) as measured by the AB score ultimately, and not surprisingly, prevailed.
In order for the Ducks to increase their odds for next year, they need to sign/resign Matt Beleskey, Francois Beauchemin, and Tomas Fleischmann. More importantly, Jakob Silfverberg is a crucial cog in the future success of the Ducks. At a +3.87 AB, Silfverberg was among the best bargain players per contribution to team success in the NHL. Successful teams, i.e., the ones that made the playoffs – all having positive AB scores, would greatly benefit from this excellent young (inexpensive) two way player. Additionally, the Ducks MUST upgrade from Clayton Stoner (-3.85), Simon Despres (-4.20) and Patrick Maroon (-4.28) to players at their respective positions who have a less negative or even positive AB.