Commentary

Ultimate Standings 2009: No. 11

Anaheim Ducks

Updated: July 1, 2009, 11:33 AM ET
By Jason Catania | ESPN The Magazine

Last Year's Rank: 5
Title Track: 11
Ownership: 26
Coaching: 19
Players: 16
Fan Relations: 13
Affordability: 33
Stadium Experience: 25
Bang for the Buck: 24

The Ducks know all about preventing potholes from becoming pitfalls. Need a young sniper to eventually replace aging franchise face Teemu Selanne? Draft relatively unknown Bobby Ryan with the second pick of the 2005 draft, show patience and enjoy the eventual rewards (36 goals, Calder finalist). So don't think that fixing last-year's second-lowest category rating -- Affordability -- was merely a coincidence. In February, the team became the first in the NHL to announce that prices for tickets, and concessions and parking would stay flat in 2009-10. And the Ducks don't stop there. As VP/COO Tim Ryan says, "Keeping tickets affordable for our fans, especially in light of challenging eco­nomic times, is very important." So say hello to the $18.50 ticket-dog-soda Track Pack, free programs and fan-friendly contests with a prize list that includes road-tripping with the team and watching a game with the GM in his personal suite. Anaheim also has on-ice talent, winning 11 of its final 15 games before upsetting the No. 1 seed Sharks and pushing the Wings to a Game 7. All of that could make a return trip to the Finals as simple as fixing another pothole.