Don't Miss

2013-14 NHL Trade Deadline Feature: Anaheim Ducks

Written by Justin Ritzel and can be followed at @justinritzel.

USATSI_7776152_154224518_lowresDespite sitting atop the National Hockey League standings for a better part of the past two months, there is a shred of doubt of the legitimacy on whether the Anaheim Ducks are true Stanley Cup contenders. Perhaps it is their quick playoff exit in the first round of the 2013 NHL Playoffs, or head coach Bruce Boudreau’s lack of playoff success, but the question remains on whether these Ducks can compete with the likes of Chicago, St. Louis, or Los Angeles in a seven-game series.

During his tenure as General Manager in Anaheim, Bob Murray has made exactly one blockbuster trade. The deal was the one that shipped future Hall of Fame Defenseman Chris Pronger to the Philadelphia Flyers for Joffrey Lupul, Luca Sbisa, and a first round draft pick that the Ducks used to select forward Kyle Palmieri. Suffice to say, Murray has been reluctant to take a big swing via trade, electing to fill holes with low-level deals instead.

In all reality, Anaheim is probably a year ahead of schedule as true Stanley Cup contenders. Former first round pick Emerson Etem has spent most of this season tearing up the American Hockey League, and while Palmieri and first-year Duck Jakob Silfverberg have remained with the big club all year, neither has stepped up as a consistent scoring threat they likely will be down the road. On defense, Cam Fowler finally made the leap to the top-pairing defenseman he always had the potential to be, but nobody could have expected the major contribution from 20-year-old Hampus Lindholm so soon.

The fact that the Ducks are ahead of the curve buys Murray some time if he wants to ride out this season and hold on to the many assets he has at his disposal. However, the pieces are there if Murray finally wants to take that big swing.

Keep in mind the Ducks have two first-round picks in the upcoming 2014 NHL Draft; their own, as well as the pick acquired last summer in the Bobby Ryan trade. With Ottawa floundering a bit over this past month, that pick becomes exponentially more valuable.

The Ducks also have a rare situation with their goalie depth. Jonas Hiller is set to hit unrestricted free agency following this season, and under other circumstances might be worthwhile consideration as a trade candidate. However, last season’s surprise star Viktor Fasth has been injury-plagued nearly all season, and while Frederik Andersen has been a mainstay himself, he is still largely unproven. There is also World Junior Championship hero John Gibson waiting in the wings, whom many believe to be a star goalie in the making.

Murray has made it clear that Hiller will not be dealt, as the Ducks appear ready to ride Hiller through this postseason before ultimately allowing him to walk away for nothing this summer. Andersen, who will turn 25 just in time for the 2014-15 season, seems like the likely replacement for Hiller next season, and Gibson is the crown jewel. By process of elimination that leaves Fasth, who comes with an affordable $2.9 million cap hit through next season, as the most likely candidate to be shipped away. Don’t be surprised if Murray kicks the tires with any club that lost out on the Ryan Miller contest to gauge some interest.

When you’re top five in both goals for and goals against, it’s difficult to imagine any glaring holes for a given team, as is the case with Anaheim. However, in a perfect world the Ducks would add another scoring forward and a hard-nosed defensive defenseman as they make their final push during the regular season. Dan Girardi would have been an ideal acquisition before the Rangers locked him up with a new six-year, $33 million deal.

Murray doesn’t seem too keen on selling the farm for expensive rental players, so cross Thomas Vanek, Matt Moulson, Mike Cammaleri, etc. off your Anaheim Ducks wish-list. If he is willing to part with some assets, it would make the most sense for Murray to call Vancouver Canucks GM Mike Gillies and inquire on the status of center Ryan Kesler. Kesler would provide the perfect complement to Ryan Getzlaf down the middle, providing secondary scoring and defensive prowess that will be needed against the high-flying offenses such as Chicago and San Jose down the road. Murray has the pieces to make a deal like that happen if he is willing to.

Don’t be surprised if Murray also expresses interest in Nashville Predators center David Legwand, if he hasn’t already. Legwand, who is in the last season of a six-year $27 million deal, comes from the same mold as Kesler and would likely come at a cheaper price.

Ultimately, however, it seems more and more probable that the Ducks will likely run the same course as they did a year ago during the trade deadline, which is sit tight and avoid bidding wars. Without genuine pressure on the club to win the Stanley Cup, expect Murray to bring in a lower-tier forward or defenseman for depth purposes, and strike with a bigger deal during this upcoming offseason.

Player GP G A P +/- PIM PP SH GW S S%
Ryan Getzlaf 57 29 38 67 24 22 4 0 7 152 19.1
Corey Perry 61 30 30 60 24 57 7 0 9 206 14.6
Nick Bonino 57 16 24 40 5 14 6 0 1 107 15
Andrew Cogliano 61 18 14 32 17 20 0 2 3 119 15.1
Cam Fowler 61 6 26 32 12 12 4 1 2 90 6.7
Dustin Penner 48 13 17 30 20 28 5 0 2 100 13
Mathieu Perreault 52 12 18 30 12 20 2 0 1 87 13.8
Saku Koivu 46 9 14 23 6 32 0 1 1 62 14.5
Daniel Winnik 57 2 20 22 6 16 0 1 1 83 2.4
Kyle Palmieri 52 9 13 22 7 28 0 0 4 108 8.3
Hampus Lindholm 58 5 16 21 26 26 1 0 1 88 5.7
Teemu Selanne 48 7 13 20 4 12 4 0 3 85 8.2
Matt Beleskey 38 5 11 16 2 31 0 0 1 76 6.6
Jakob Silfverberg 32 6 9 15 2 8 1 0 0 78 7.7
Patrick Maroon 41 5 9 14 4 62 0 0 1 62 8.1
Sami Vatanen 41 6 8 14 2 20 2 0 0 62 9.7
Ben Lovejoy 59 3 10 13 20 14 0 0 1 88 3.4
Francois Beauchemin 51 1 10 11 26 27 0 0 0 52 1.9
Emerson Etem 28 7 4 11 3 4 1 1 2 43 16.3
Devante Smith-Pelly 16 1 7 8 5 2 0 0 0 17 5.9
Bryan Allen 49 0 7 7 16 53 0 0 0 42 0
Mark Fistric 30 1 4 5 8 24 0 0 0 19 5.3
Tim Jackman 20 1 1 2 -1 48 0 0 0 32 3.1
Alex Grant 2 2 0 2 3 2 0 0 0 2 100
Nolan Yonkman 2 0 1 1 -1 0 0 0 0 3 0
Luca Sbisa 14 0 1 1 -7 35 0 0 0 9 0
Rickard Rakell 7 0 1 1 0 2 0 0 0 11 0
David Steckel 6 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 8 0
Goalie GPI GS Min GAA W L OT SO SA GA Sv%
Jonas Hiller 40 40 2370 2.28 26 9 4 5 1096 90 0.918
Frederik Andersen 18 16 1018 2.06 14 3 0 0 484 35 0.928
Viktor Fasth 5 5 305 2.95 2 2 1 0 131 15 0.885

7 Comments

  1. BackCheck

    March 2, 2014 at 1:29 pm

    IF Ducks deal for D it’s likely stellar rookie Hampus Lindholm or Ben Lovejoy get demoted. Ironically they’re 3rd & 4th on ATOI. Between the two, Lindholm brings a little more offense and seeing TOI on the 2nd PP unit; The Rev is established with Cam Fowler on the top pairing ES and the PK.
    The glaring need is upfront. Gabby’s preferred twosomes include Getzlaf/Perry, Koivu/Cogliano, Perreault/Selanne but Coach hasn’t really established a linemate for Nick Bonino.

  2. Justin Ritzel

    March 2, 2014 at 7:31 pm

    I respectfully disagree. Lovejoy and Fowler is Anaheim’s #1 pairing, and Lindholm is a rookie of the year candidate. Despite all the moving parts on Anaheim’s defense, Lovejoy and Lindholm have consistently been in the line-up. If the Ducks deal for a defenseman, Sbisa will probably be heading the other way, and Fistric, Allen, and Vatanen will be left competing for that last spot.

  3. BackCheck

    March 2, 2014 at 10:12 pm

    Respectfully, you don’t really think Fowler or Beauchemin are going anywhere do you? IF Murray adds a Top 4 stay@home D-man one of Lovejoy or Lindholm will be demoted to the 3rd pairing.
    Good article BTW.

  4. Ian

    March 3, 2014 at 7:47 am

    Back Check I think Justin is reading “demoted” as a trip back to Norfolk. I think we can all agree that you’re correct, that Fowler and Beauchemin are not going anywhere, and that Lovejoy and Lindholm would likely stay around though in diminished roles.

    In adding a Philips or MacDonald, the real floaters become Allen, Sbisa, Fistric, and Vatanen (probably in that order as well).

  5. AJ

    March 3, 2014 at 12:52 pm

    You are both right.

    Sbisa would be involved in a trade or to a lesser probability, Vatanen.
    Had the Ducks traded for Girardi, he would have been paired with Fowler at the top with Lovejoy going 3rd pair with Allen, Sbisa probably traded and Vatanen demoted.
    As it is, a buyout is in the making for Souray imo.

  6. Justin Ritzel

    March 3, 2014 at 1:22 pm

    I misunderstood you Backcheck. When you said demotion, I thought you meant out of the lineup completely.

  7. BackCheck

    March 3, 2014 at 7:54 pm

    My bad Justin, should have stuck with standard use of the term demotion. Lovejoy or Lindholm will probably their respective ES/TOI reduced.