2003 Mighty Ducks vs 2007 Anaheim Ducks

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Paul Kariya
EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - JUNE 9: Paul Kariya #9 of the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim looks to pass against the New Jersey Devils in game seven of the 2003 Stanley Cup Finals at Continental Airlines Arena on June 9, 2003 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. The Devils defeated the Ducks 3-0 to win the Stanley Cup. (Photo by Dave Sandford/Getty Images/NHLI)

Imagine if you will that the 2003 Mighty Ducks of Anaheim and the 2007 Anaheim Ducks met in a Stanley Cup Final game seven.

2003 Mighty Ducks vs the 2007 Anaheim Ducks

Which line up would take home the big trophy? Would Paul Kariya have brought it home? Or would Scott Niedermayer reign victorious? Which forwards would have the edge? What about defensemen, which would stand taller? Which goalie tandem would hold the crease? And which coach would lead better?

Paul Kariya v Scott Niedermayer

How do you compare Niedermayer and Kariya? The pair is both hall of fame players. Both players led teams into the Stanley cup finals. Each also had incredible careers and are highly decorated players. Comparing defensemen to wingers is incredibly difficult. We can’t go based on numbers alone.

Paul Kariya is one of the most naturally gifted goal scorers of his generation.  In numbers alone. Kariya’s career was riddled with injuries limiting him to 989 regular season games with 989 career points (402 goals 587 assists).

Scotty has a more conservative 740 points (172 goals, 568 assists) in 1263 regular season games.  Niedermayer is one of the greatest offensive-minded defensemen to play the game. His goal to force overtime during game 4 of the 2007 of the Western Conference final was arguably the most important goal of that playoff run.

It’s nearly impossible to compare the two as they had different responsibilities on the ice, but because of the “Off the ice, On the boards” goal from the 2003 SCF Kariya has the edge.

Forwards

Because the two series were only separated by 4 years, the teams would have a lot of the same players. We’ll try to work around that. The line combination of Kariya-Adam OatesRob Niedermayer combined for 13 goals and 22 assists. Under the circumstances, the combined 35 points were not enough. The 2007 lines had the very effective shutdown line combination of Rob Niedermayer-Samuel PahlssonTravis Moen that combined for 9 goals and 17 assists. Along with the “young guns” line of Corey PerryRyan GetzlafDustin Penner that combined for 11 goals and 16 assists. The edge definitely goes to the 2007 Ducks.

Defense

The 2007 Ducks boasted a blue line containing Chris Pronger, Francois Beauchemin, and Scott Niedermayer. Those three men were half of the Ducks blue line but they combined for 9 goals and 21 assists. Niedermayer and Pronger were 2/3 of the Ducks Captaincy that season as well. The 2007 defense collectively put up 10 goals and 22 assists in the playoffs. The 2003 defensemen of the Mighty Ducks were far less productive offensively with the 5 goals but they did combine for 19 assists. For that reason, the edge has to go to the 2007 Ducks. No way can you put Beauchemin, Pronger, and Niedermayer together and not have them win a debate.

Goaltending

John Sebastian Giguere, that man is a living legend. He helped lead the Ducks to two Stanley Cup Final series. Won the Conn Smythe in one and bringing Lord Stanley into southern California for the first time. He was the starting goalie in both series so comparing the starters won’t work. Backups it is. Martin Gerber had a less than desirable season recording a 6-11-3 record with a save percentage of .929% and a GAA of 1.95. For that reason, he did not play in the playoffs. Ilya Bryzgalov had a regular season of 10-8-6 with a GAA of 2.47 and a save percentage of .907%. To start the playoffs Giguere had a personal issue to deal with as a result he left it to Bryz to hold it down. Bryz did not disappoint. Amassing a record of 3-1 with GAA of 2.25 and a save percentage of .92M

Coaching

Mike Babcock took over as the head coach of the Ducks organization in the 2002-2003 campaign. He coached the club for two seasons. Coaching the club into the Stanly Cup Final his first year. His second and final year the club did not qualify. In his two seasons with the club, he earned a record of 69-62 in the regular season coupled with a playoff record of 15-6-0. Randy Carlyle took over as head coach in the 2004-2005 season immediately after Babcock’s departure. He has had two tenures as the Ducks head coach. In that time he has become the clubs all-time winningest coach with a record of 319-279 in 598 games. He won the cup with the club in 2007. Carlyle has to lead the club for a combined eight years in two tenures. He has a winning touch in Anaheim. Babcock lead the Detroit Redwings into the playoffs every year he coached them. Winning the cup in 2008. The coaching has gotta go to Carlyle.

BONUS

The wild card, the bonus tool, the “It” factor that the 2003 Ducks did not have at their disposal. Teemu Selanne, the Finnish Flash. Basically, every record worth having in the Ducks organization belongs to Selanne. In the 2007 Stanley Cup playoffs Selanne had 5 goals and 7 assists. Furthermore, he has a veteran leadership presence and a very specific skill set. He can score goals. Had Selanne been a member of the club in 2003, it is very likely that the Ducks would have 2 banners.

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