Will the Anaheim Ducks be buyers or sellers?
To start the 2021-22 season, this was a one-sided answer.
The consensus was the Ducks would be rebuilders for this season and probably a couple more after that. Here’s a few Anaheim Ducks trades they can make.
Three Anaheim Ducks Trades That Could Target by the Deadline
But the Ducks rookies have surprised, and this young rebuilding team jumped out the gates to begin the season. As the season approached the All-Star break, Anaheim was sitting in second place in the Pacific Division. This surprisingly lofty placement in the standings had Ducks management rethinking their trade deadline plans.
But just as quickly as the expectations had begun to change for the upstart Ducks, reality has begun to creep back in.
The Ducks have stumbled since returning from the All-Star break and now sit three points out of the final WildCard spot.
Three points is a weekend win streak, hardly an insurmountable hill to climb. The Ducks may not be close to Cup contenders, but they sure are good enough to get into the playoffs for at least one round of action.
Do the Ducks Buy or Sell
So the question becomes, how important is playoff experience for general manager Pat Verbeek‘s young team?
That’s only an answer that Verbeek and his management know. And they will implement what needs to be done by the deadline to reveal where the importance of playoff experience at this time of their rebuild lies.
As the saying goes in football, you can’t leave points on the board. So if you have a chance to get into the playoffs, where anything can happen (2006 Edmonton Oilers, 2012 LA Kings, 2019 St. Louis Blues, just to name a few), you go for it.
Playoff experience is invaluable. You’re three points back, you go for it. Don’t abandon the rebuild plan, but give your boys the opportunity to get in. They’ve battled this hard all season, they deserve your faith, Verbeek.
So with that said, let’s take a look at three trades the Anaheim Ducks can make before the trade deadline to get them into the playoffs.
Filip Forsberg (LW) $6 million cap hit. UFA
Okay hear me out! This would be one of the biggest of any Anaheim Ducks trades made in a long time.
First off, this move is ONLY going to happen if Pat Verbeek and Forsberg can agree on a deal with term before he comes over. A little sign-and-trade action. Ducks are not giving up the assets here for a rental.
The Ducks could wait until free agency to try and sway him, and not have to give up any assets. But if Verbeek believes he won’t be available this summer, it wouldn’t be a bad play to make a move on getting his signing rights early.
Forsberg is having a career year and is looking for money and term. But which team is most enticing for him to sign with? The sales pitch in Anaheim is great! They are a young team oozing with talented prospects. The Ducks play in a division that isn’t top-heavy. There is no runaway winner with this division and its crown will be up for grabs yearly. You’re going to get paid your 7.5 million here and will be catching passes from Trevor Zegras while you bury 30 tucks a year. Oh, and it’s sunny California!
The Ducks are an exciting team with plenty of talented prospects ready to come through. But they need that proven goal scorer in their top six. Max Comtois is not the answer. Filip Forsberg is. Let’s go get him!
Potential Trade: Filip Forsberg for Max Comtois, 2022 1st round pick.
*This would be a sign and trade or at least an agreement Forsberg signs with Anaheim in the offseason.
Travis Dermott (D) 1.5 million cap hit. 1 year left.
Dermott is a serviceable defenceman that could find regular ice team with the Ducks. He has become somewhat of a utility man on the Leafs’ blue line and is seeking out a more defined role.
There isn’t much upside with his offence, and he doesn’t have stand-out defensive numbers. But we can chalk some of that up to the fact he is constantly playing with different defensive partners. Hard to develop chemistry and rhythm.
Dermott, the former second-round pick in 2015, isn’t going to fill the hole left by Josh Manson. But he is a step above anyone else in the system that could step in currently. He also comes with an extra year on a cap-friendly deal of 1.5 million. He’s certainly worth a flyer.
Potential Trade: Travis Dermott for a 2023 4th round pick
Brandon Hagel (LW) 1.5 million cap hit. 2 years left.
Now the thought process for management is that the Ducks have a chance for the playoffs BUT they also have three UFA’s that can fetch good assets. The Ducks are most likely not winning a cup, I mean anything can happen but a betting man won’t put his money on this horse. So, you don’t want to run with these UFA’s in the playoffs and then lose them for nothing in the offseason.
Chicago doesn’t want anything to do with rental players, but they would surely be interested in the assets the Ducks are given from the team they do deal these guys to.
Who would be interested in Rakell or Lindholm? Well, the Boston Bruins certainly would. Rakell could be a Jake Debrusk replacement if he is dealt, and Lindholm makes a nice partner to Charlie McAvoy on the backend.
Getting Hagel will help soften the blow of losing a guy like Rakell for the playoffs. Rakell was a monster for the Ducks in the 2016-2017 playoffs, putting up seven goals and 13 points in 15 games. Hagel doesn’t have any playoff experience, so it’s hard to tell what you will get out of him in the playoffs. But he has shown a flair for finishing around the net this season as he’s put up 21 goals in 55 games so far in his first full season.
Hagel is a great addition to the top six or perhaps a scoring third line.
Potential Trade: 3-way trade. Anaheim Ducks receive Brandon Hagel. Boston Bruins receive Rakell or Lindholm (50% retained by Ducks on either player), Chicago Blackhawks receive Urho Vaakanainen (from Boston) and Boston’s 2nd round pick in 2022 draft.