Feeling Ducky: A Left Wing Trio Battle?

Dany Heatley
Dany Heatley
Jerome Miron USA TODAY Sports

The funny thing when auditioning for a position in the NHL is you never know who will actually work out. Briefly last year, the Anaheim Ducks found success with Dustin Penner but eventually Penner began to slump and was ultimately traded to the Washington Capitals. Then the revolving door really began for Bruce Boudreau. In all, around ten players were tried at the left wing position.

That is why Dany Heatley was brought in on a low-risk one-year deal. Simply this is his final chance. There may not be another one at this stage of the game. People forget once upon a time that the forward was a 50-goal, 100-point talent. If Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry can carry Penner, they most certainly can carry Heatley who still has some power play and 5-on-5 ability left.

So if there were three candidates for the left wing position in Anaheim, who would they be? There is some conflict as the NHL fantasy folks had Heatley in the bottom six but Anaheim has been hell bent on elevating the forward to the top line. Now let’s get to work!

The Trilogy Of Ducks Left Wingers?

Dany Heatley — Likely LW1

Okay! He was brought in because of his chemistry with Ryan Getzlaf. In training camp, Heatley will be given every chance to be that LW1 that fantasy hockey owners swoon over for cheap. Auction drafts will be interesting especially if this trio clicks during preseason. The consensus is that it will and Heatley will be sheltered defensively much like Penner was. Even the schedule sets up for a very hot start to be had. All Heatley has to do is simply not blow his opportunity. This should not be hard at all. This left winger still does have something in the tank. However, competition is there to be had.

Patrick Maroon — LW2 perhaps?

Maroon was tried in the coveted LW1 slot for a little bit but it did not quite work out. The forward has worked hard to shake the bad habits that he developed in the Philadelphia organization and has become a possibility for the second left wing position. If he has a strong enough camp, maybe he can make a case for the top spot at some juncture during the year. The problem is does he have the ability, but maybe he is some time away from a top six role. Just do not sleep on him quite yet.

Devante Smith-Pelly — Bottom Six?

Out of the three left wingers, Smith-Pelly may actually have the most talent but he also has the most to work on. It is not easy to play with Getzlaf and Perry as the forward found out in 2013-14. He showed flashes of potential with 10 points in 19 games. Smith-Pelly even saw a little bit of time with the top line and the experience was telling. Just think, he is only 22 and is a 225-pound tank. It is tough for NHL players to move him out of the crease and if he develops the other aspects of his game, then maybe that vaunted third line offensive checking line is in his future. If he has a very strong camp, then who knows. Other players will have a shot but Smith-Pelly has the most potential with Getzlaf and Perry long term fantasy hockey fans.

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Chris Wassel
Chris Wassel writes for XN Sports, The Hockey Writers, Dobberhockey, and many others. He is a member of the Fantasy Sports Writers Association. He has never turned a question away in 10+ years of writing so ask away @ChrisWasselTHW.