Category Archives: Ana. Ducks

Predicting Protected Lists: Anaheim Ducks 

The expansion draft is just over 20 days away, and a lot of teams still have issues with their rosters to sort out. The exposure constrictions handed out by the NHL have handicapped a number of teams, one of those being the Anaheim Ducks. 

Currently, the Ducks have four players on no-movement clauses in Ryan Getzlaf, Corey Perry, Ryan Kesler, and Kevin Bieksa. The first three are not a problem as they would have been protected regardless, however Bieksa presents a predicament. 

The 35-year-old Bieksa has one more year on his deal at a $4 million cap hit. The Ducks already have a logjam of defensemen to protect and Bieksa does not help the situation in the slightest. Currently, Bieksa would be required to be protected, which would leave a very good player, whether it be Silfverberg, Manson, Vatanen, or someone else, exposed. 

There are certainly loopholes around this situation, though. Bob Murray could ask Bieksa to waive his no-movement clause so he could be exposed in the draft. With Vegas looking to get younger, it is highly unlikely that they would take the struggling defenseman. Furthermore, even with conceding his no-movement clause, it is equally as unlikely that Murray would be able to find a trading partner if he wanted to for Bieksa. 

There has been no official wording yet, but some believe that if a player waives his no-movement clause for the expansion draft that he will lose the clause altogether. This is not as much of a factor for Bieksa and the Ducks, but if is a big wrench that remains to be seen for other teams. 

The presumption is that Kevin Bieksa will waive his no-movement clause or be bought out by the Ducks. At the end of the day, Bieksa will not be on the protected list for Anaheim when they are due to submit it. 

However, with the Bieksa ordeal aside, the Ducks still face plenty of questions on the blueline. 

Hampus Lindholm, Sami Vatanen, Josh Manson, and Cam Fowler are all eligible for the expansion draft. Simon Despres is another enticing name on Anaheim’s roster, but injury issues over the past few seasons have decreased his value. 

The Ducks could absolutely keep all four of the young defensemen previously mentioned. But, by doing that, they would lose one of Rickard Rakell or Jakob Silfverberg up front. Both forwards had stellar years and both fit the mold of what Vegas is looking for. Losing either Rakell or Silfverberg would be a huge blow and something the Ducks would have a hard time recovering from. 

With all of that being said, the Ducks trading a defenseman before the expansion draft seems almost certain. Fowler and Lindholm are staying, so it comes down to Sami Vatanen or Josh Manson. Vatanen is injured for a few months, but as a skilled and still young defenseman, he’d still be worth a lot. Manson is a player the Ducks absolutely do not want to lose, but they may be forced to trade him if no other options surface. 

In the end, the protected players list for Anaheim before the upcoming expansion draft could look like this: 

Forwards: Ryan Getzlaf, Corey Perry, Ryan Kesler, Rickard Rakell, Jakob Silfverberg, Andrew Cogliano, Nick Kerdiles

Defense: Hampus Lindholm, Cam Fowler, Sami Vatanen OR Josh Manson

Goalie: John Gibson

If the Ducks do trade Vatanen or Manson, it could be for a forward to fill the last protection slot instead of Kerdiles. 

The Ducks have a lot of internal questions to answer over the next three weeks. They’re one of the teams will the most variables in play heading to the expansion draft and will be an interesting team to keep an eye on. 

Next team: Arizona Coyotes

Kevin, @TheNHLFiles

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April showers bring May flowers: who has the best chance of coming back in Round 2?

As the hockey season moves from April to May, the playing field shrinks. Currently eight teams remain, but soon enough the group will whittle down to four.

As of now, Pittsburgh, Washington, Ottawa, New York (Rangers), St. Louis, Nashville, Edmonton, and Anaheim remain. For these series, Pittsburgh leads Washington 2-0, Ottawa leads New York 2-0, Nashville leads St. Louis 2-1, and Edmonton leads Anaheim 2-1. Each of these are far from over, however the odds have begun to shift to the favor of one team per series. But the questions that begs is who, of the teams currently down in a series, has the best chance of making a comeback and advancing to the Conference Finals?

For me, it’s the New York Rangers. Although their defense, with the likes of Holden, Staal, and Girardi, is shaky, their lightning quick offense and superstar goalie could be enough to propel them on a run past Ottawa.

The Rangers and Senators have been locked in a back-and-forth series through the first two games. In Game 1, Erik Karlsson scored the game winner from the goal line with 4:11 left in regulation. Game 2 was a barn burner that resulted in a 6-5 Senators win in double overtime. The games cannot be defined as anomalies by any means, but regardless the series is not over by any stretch of the imagination.

To win the series, the Rangers need Henrik Lundqvist to go into Conn Smythe form. His save percentage in the series so far is .888, but not all of that can be attributed to him. The defensive core in front of him is less than ideal, but that is the Rangers mantra. They need Lundqvist to bail them out, which is something he did not do in Game 2.

In terms of the other teams, this is not to say that they do not have a chance to come back in the series. Each team is in the second round for a reason.

Anaheim is a rigid, experienced team that needs to take advantage of that fact against Edmonton. But, Connor McDavid and Cam Talbot are unbelievable players capable of turning a series in an instant (which they have done already). 

St. Louis is in the same category as Anaheim to a sense, but Nashville is playing great right now. The series against the Blues has not come as easy as the series against Chicago did, but it is hard to bet against the Predators currently. They are using their fast paced tactics to their advantage perfectly. 

Lastly, Washington has fallen into a deep hole with Pittsburgh once again. It’s hard to go against the Penguins right now given Washington’s history in the second round and against Pittsburgh in general. If they can overcome this challenge, it’s hard to argue against the fact that they will win the Cup. But it’s one hurdle at a time for Alex Ovechkin at company. 

Of the teams down currently, who do you think has the best chance of moving on to the second round?

-Kevin, @TheNHLFiles 

The first instances of expansion prep came this week via Montreal and Anaheim 

The expansion draft is looming. Teams have been planning for this event below the surface for months, but now that we are within half a year of the actual event, more public moves are beginning to be made.

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Eight teams that should protect four defensemen in the expansion draft 

In next summer’s expansion draft, teams have two options in which to protect their players. One is protecting seven forwards, three defensemen, and one goalie. The other choice is protecting eight skaters and one goalie. The former gives you more players to protect but you risk losing a top-four defenseman, whereas the latter allows you to hold onto that fourth (or fifth, if you so please) defenseman, but you are losing out on protecting two top-six forwards. It is a calculated risk that teams have to weigh, and there are eight teams that should choose to take the second option and protect four defensemen.  Read the rest of this entry

How major trades look today: the Spezza and Kesler deals 

Re-visiting major trades from recent years and how they turned out today. This is Part I of a series. 

The Spezza deal

Dallas receives: Jason Spezza, Ludwig Karlsson

Ottawa receives: Nick Paul, Alex Guptill, Alex Chiasson, 2015 2nd 

This was a relatively unimpressive haul for the Senators. Alex Chiasson was just recently traded to Calgary for Patrick Sieloff, a depth defenseman. Alex Guptill is no longer with the organization and is in Buffalo’s farm system. The 2015 second turned out to be Gabriel Gagne, who is putting up average numbers (28 points in 34 games) in the QMJHL. Nick Paul, a fourth round pick in 2013, has seen playing time in Ottawa but only has five points in 24 games. There’s room for improvement with Paul, however. 

As for Dallas, they got a consistent 60 point scorer and a veteran presence. Spezza helped lead Dallas to the best record in the Western Conference this past season. Ludwig Karlsson, an undrafted free agent, is no longer with the Stars organization. 

It essentially turned out as: 
Jason Spezza for Patrick Sieloff, Nick Paul, and Gabriel Gagne

Verdict: Stars win the trade

The Kesler deal 

Anaheim receives: Ryan Kesler, 2015 3rd 

Vancouver receives: Luca Sbisa, Nick Bonino, 2014 1st, 2014 3rd

As for this trade, the Ducks have found consistency in it, where the Canucks have found all but that. Ryan Kesler has slotted in nicely behind Ryan Getzlaf, and even earned himself a new six year deal in the summer of 2015. The contract has the potential to be bad in the future, but it locked up a good asset in the present for the Ducks. As for the 2015 third, the Ducks selected Devan Sideroff, who had 59 points in 63 WHL games last season and played in one AHL game for San Diego with no points. 

The Canucks, like Anaheim, locked up a player from the deal to a new contact. Luca Sbisa got a three year deal with Vancouver at the end of the 2014-2015 season, but has been relatively unimpressive since. Nick Bonino was flipped for Brandon Sutter in a deal that also sent a second round pick to Pittsburgh. Sutter missed most of the 2015-2016 campaign with injury while Bonino helped propel the Penguins to a Stanley Cup. Lastly, the two picks for Vancouver turned out to be Jared McCann and Derek Dorsett. McCann was recently traded in a deal that sent Erik Gudbranson to Vancouver. Dorsett was signed to a four year deal at the same time Sbisa signed his deal, and he now carried a gruesome 2.65m cap hit for three more years. 

It essentially turned out as:

Ryan Kesler and Devan Siederoff for Luca Sbisa, Erik Gudbranson, Derek Dorsett, and Brandon Sutter

Verdict: Ducks win the trade

-Kevin, @TheNHLFiles

Trade Winds: one more month until the NHL trade deadline 

The trade deadline is rapidly approaching and is now about one month away. Teams are beginning to see whether or not they want to sell their players at the deadline meaning the speculation will continue to increase. 

The Buffalo Sabres are still shopping Tyler Ennis but to no avail yet. He has been disappointing this year and with a crowded top-six of young players in Buffalo, he may not have a spot. Due to his high salary, some will have to be retained. Jamie McGinn is also being looked at around the league, but Buffalo likes him. Could he pull a Matt Moulson and sign back with Buffalo in the summer after being traded? We’ll see. 

The Canucks have been looking around the league for potential suitors for Radim Vrbata and Dan Hamhuis. The latter has had injury problems this year, however Vrbata would be a nice pickup for a team in the playoff hunt. Someone like Florida, Nashville, or one of the New York teams could have interest in the forward. 

The Coyotes are very reluctant to move Mikkel Boedker although nothing is impossible. The Danish left winger is due for a big pay increase from his current 3.75 million.

You wonder what the deal is with Yevgeni Medvedev and the Flyers is. He is a good defenseman and would be great for a playoff run for any team but the Flyers are still in the thick of the playoff race themselves. The Flyers also have an influx of young defensemen coming up through the system which could make Medvedev expendable. 

Keith Yandle continues to be shopped but nothing as of yet. It might be in best interest for the Rangers, given their closing window, to get this playoff run out of him. 

Columbus is expected to be very aggressive at the trade deadline. Although they have no big unrestricted free agents, certain names could be moved out such as Kerby Rychel. The David Clarkson contract has been thrown out there but to no takers. 

The Islanders seem to be at a gridlock with Travis Hamonic and Kyle Okposo. Hamonic’s trade won’t come until the offseason and the Islanders don’t want to give up Okposo for futures so they may end up keeping him and risk losing him to free agency. 

The Jets have equally looked around for Andrew Ladd and Dustin Byfuglien. Nothing is out of the question for the deadline for either player. Ladd is the more feasible option for the team, however. 

Don’t be surprised if the Anaheim Ducks make another move prior to February 29th. Likely a defense for offense move. 

More to come as the trade deadline draws nearer. 

-Kevin, @TheNHLFiles

Montreal, Anaheim, and St. Louis emerge as frontrunners for Jonathan Drouin

The Jonathan Drouin saga has been going on for a couple of weeks now and frontrunner have emerged. From the west, the Ducks and Blues have the most interest. In the east, Montreal will be making a big push for him. That does not rule out another team like Buffalo or Nashville, but these three teams have expressed serious interest thus far. 

Anaheim Ducks 

The Ducks seem to be in the best position regarding Drouin at this point. They have a lot of depth on defense and they desperately need goal scoring. Sami Vatanen has been a name that has gotten thrown out there. Nick Ritchie as well. The Ducks are extremely reluctant to move Shea Theodore but it all depends on how desperate they are for Drouin and potential goal scoring. 

St. Louis Blues 

Robby Fabbri’s name has been thrown into discussions, which would be a nice piece for Tampa Bay to add if they are giving up Drouin. A one-for-one with Kevin Shattenkirk is highly unlikely, although he still could be involved. A trade between the Blues and Lightning would include a lot of moving pieces giving the availability of Blues players and their position in the standings right now. We all saw how long the trade with Bartley, Elliott, and Tinordi took to orchestrate, so don’t hold your breathe. 

Montreal Canadiens 

The Canadiens don’t have the depth on the blueline that Anaheim, per say, has, but they still have the pieces to make it work. Nathan Beaulieu is a name that can be thrown in. Due to the lack of high-quality defensemen they can move, a mid-to-high quality forward plus a pick and/or prospect(s) would be included. Montreal would have to overpay if they want Drouin due to being in the same division as Tampa Bay. 

-Kevin, @TheNHLFiles

Montreal, Anaheim, and St. Louis emerge as frontrunners for Jonathan Drouin

The Jonathan Drouin saga has been going on for a couple of weeks now and frontrunner have emerged. From the west, the Ducks and Blues have the most interest. In the east, Montreal will be making a big push for him. That does not rule out another team like Buffalo or Nashville, but these three teams have expressed serious interest thus far. 

Anaheim Ducks 

The Ducks seem to be in the best position regarding Drouin at this point. They have a lot of depth on defense and they desperately need goal scoring. Sami Vatanen has been a name that has gotten thrown out there. Nick Ritchie as well. The Ducks are extremely reluctant to move Shea Theodore but it all depends on how desperate they are for Drouin and potential goal scoring. 

St. Louis Blues 

Robby Fabbri’s name has been thrown into discussions, which would be a nice piece for Tampa Bay to add if they are giving up Drouin. A one-for-one with Kevin Shattenkirk is highly unlikely, although he still could be involved. A trade between the Blues and Lightning would include a lot of moving pieces giving the availability of Blues players and their position in the standings right now. We all saw how long the trade with Bartley, Elliott, and Tinordi took to orchestrate, so don’t hold your breathe. 

Montreal Canadiens 

The Canadiens don’t have the depth on the blueline that Anaheim, per say, has, but they still have the pieces to make it work. Nathan Beaulieu is a name that can be thrown in. Due to the lack of high-quality defensemen they can move, a mid-to-high quality forward plus a pick and/or prospect(s) would be included. 

-Kevin, @TheNHLFiles

Anaheim may be looking to trade Frederik Andersen

The Ducks crease was busy to begin with, and now it has only gotten busier with the acquisition of Dustin Tokarski from Montreal. John Gibson left the Ducks game on Wednesday early but the injury is not believed to be serious. That leaves the team with five goaltenders (Gibson, Andersen, Hackett, Khudobin, Tokarski) for essentially four spots. 

John Gibson has grabbed the reigns of Anaheim’s crease lately and is running with it. Once considered the top goalie prospect in the league, he is finally coming around despite having injury struggles. At this point, he is least likely to get traded but nothing is out of the question. 

Anton Khudobin and Matt Hackett both have little to no value. Khudobin was not claimed on waivers earlier this year, and Hackett has not been good in the AHL. Matt Hackett still has promise at 25 years old, but Khudobin could be looking at a last chance at 29 in a league that’s becoming increasingly competitive with roster spots. A trade with either of these two is not out of the question either, but it is not the road the Ducks want to take if they want value back to make a late season push. 

That leaves Danish-born Frederik Andersen. He has put up consistent numbers over the past few seasons (.914 SV% last year and .913 this year) but has fallen out of contention recently in favor of Gibson. Andersen has one year left on his deal, but he is an RFA which would leave the team he is dealt to in control. Gibson, on the other hand, is on the books for three more years after this at a reasonable 2.3 million dollars per year. Andersen will demand more than that, and they probably could afford to give both of them time in the crease, but they need to decide if they want to. 

It’s risky business, but the Ducks should be shopping Andersen. Andersen is due for a large pay increase, and you are running the risk that he will possibly become an expensive backup for you or at least the 1B. It’s still a viable situation but not ideal for both parties. 

Andersen should get his fair shot to prove himself to the Ducks over the next few games or weeks, but the Ducks will have to make a decision by trade deadline day (even though it could come a lot sooner). Andersen’s value could yield them a solid offensive player. It is a risk they have to take with Gibson, Khudobin, and Tokarski if they want to improve up front. 

The trade could easily be Hackett or Khudobin at the end of the day if Andersen starts playing well again, but a fourth round pick or later is the return they would get. 

Teams that could be interested in Andersen include Buffalo, Calgary, and Arizona. 

-Kevin, @TheNHLFiles

Five NHL questions you didn’t think you would have to ask at the Christmas break

The NHL started it’s Christmas break today. This year seems a bit odd for many reasons, from scoring to standings. Many things are not what anybody expected from this year’s league and there are a lot a questions to be asked. 

What’s wrong with the Pacific Division?

The Central Division has held the title of “toughest division” for the past couple of years, with little disparity between first and last place. However, the Pacific Division was always considered to be the second strongest division out there, beating out the “weaker” Eastern Conference. That is not the case this year. Six of the seven teams have more losses (including overtime losses) than wins. The Kings have control of the division by six points. This is also strange because the Sharks, Coyotes and Oilers are all doing better than they did last year. There’s still time to turn it around and make those teams feared again, but the start of the season has indicated the opposite. 

Can the Anaheim Ducks and Ryan Getzlaf turn it around?

Going along with the Pacific Division topic, the Ducks are currently sitting last in that division and second to last in the league, although they do have some games in hand. Last year’s Western Conference leaders have taken a significant drop off despite not making any major offseason moves outside of the Hagelin-for-Etem trade. Their captain Ryan Getzlaf has started cold and is continuing to be cold with one goal in 29 games, after scoring at least 25 in the two seasons prior. The Ducks are running out of time quick but may be saved by the poor play in their division. 

How about them Panthers? 

I had the Panthers as a bubble team this year, but so far they’ve blown away expectations. They are one point away from leading the Atlantic with a game in hand on Montreal. Jagr has continued his dominance, and the emergence of young players like Nick Bjugstad and Aleksander Barkov have fueled this team to make it to the top. The Panthers look to be in line to be players at the trade deadline this year. Radim Vrbata, anyone?

How will the Johansen situation solve itself? 

Ryan Johansen and Columbus seemed to be on pretty good terms last year, despite missing the playoffs and having a lengthy and stressful contract situation during the offseason. It’s all gone downhill now, however. His relationship with new coach John Tortorella is strained to say the very least and has come with multiple benching incidents and even a healthy scratch. Rumblings around the league have suggested that Johansen is being shopped to some aggressive degree. Whether or not Columbus is willing to move him while his value is at an all time low is the quandary. 

Can the Penguins correct themselves? 

The Penguins were labeled a frontrunner for the Metropolitan Division in July when they acquired Phil Kessel, despite having suspect defense. This issue, along with a lack of production from players including Sidney Crosby, has pushed the Penguins to five points out of a playoff spot as of the morning of December 23rd. They fired Mike Johnston and brought in Mike Sullivan, but can he fix the sinking ship that is the Penguins? 

Only time will tell how some of these stories play out, especially as we inch closer to the trade deadline. The league has gotten more and more competitive so as time goes on it’ll be tougher and tougher for teams like Pittsburgh and Anaheim to fix their issues and climb the standings. The midway point of the season is just around the corner, folks. 

-Kevin, @TheNHLFiles

Trades Highlight Day Two of 2015 NHL Draft

Although nothing will out-do the hours leading up to the draft yesterday, day two was no bust on the trade front. The GMs worked tirelessly to improve their teams whilst trying to find gems in the later round of the draft. Day two saw the trade of Cam Talbot finally, but still no Patrick Sharp or Phil Kessel. 
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Montreal Sheds More Long Term Salary, Sends Bourque to Anaheim for Allen

Just nine days after acquiring veteran Sergei Gonchar from Dallas to enhance their blueline, the Canadiens made another move to increase that depth even further. The Habs traded Rene Bourque, who was currently in the AHL, to Anaheim for Bryan Allen. Bourque had two assists in 13 games this year and posted a -9 rating. He cleared waivers, and played 4 games in Hamilton and got 4 points before being traded to Anaheim today. Allen had 1 points in 6 games this year and averaged 18 minutes of ice tome per night.
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