Dynasty Hockey League

Orange County rebuild in effect

Having finally ventured to Southern California, Anaheim general manager Lance Lavelle has been seen pacing in front of his window just as much as he has been seen seated at his desk.

“I don’t like sitting,” Lavelle joked.  “Idle hands and what not.”

Lavelle has been anything but idle since taking the helm of the Ducks in early January.  While he has sanctioned the departures of Cam Talbot, Kris Letang, and James Neal, he has brought in young players who he hopes will help make up the core of the team in future seasons.

“It has been hard seeing these guys leave,” confided Lavelle.  “But taking the long view, the returns will be worth the weaker on-ice performances.  Admittedly, we have a lot more work to do before this team can compete for anything of consequence.”

The genesis of a core is present, with Lavelle taking over a team stocked with a budding center in Bo Horvat, mercurial sniper Evander Kane, standout defenseman Seth Jones, and a solid goaltending option in Scott Darling.  Damon Severson was brought in as part of the Neal trade to strengthen the blueline both now and in the future; Antti Raanta was acquired to serve as a more-than-capable backup to Darling until he gets his chance to take the reins.

Lavelle has also had a hand in the development of Anaheim’s prospect pool, with the likes of defender Jeremy Lauzon and center Sam Steel — though their impact is many seasons in the future.

So what is the plan for adding the missing pieces?

“Quite honestly, we’ll have to trade our way through the rebuild,” the general manager said.  “That means no one is untouchable.  If we can get returns that would benefit the organization and contribute to our rebuild, we’d be foolish not to accept a trade.”

“We have to understand that we’re building a franchise that will find success worth bragging about in half-a-dozen seasons or more, not this season,” Lavelle said about his expectations for this season.  “We’d be foolish to think that we’re playoff-bound.  But I don’t think we’re the worst team in the conference.  We may not score a lot of goals, but we’re going to make our team difficult to play against.”

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