By Michael Walters and Guest Writer Tim Hyde
Last night the Anaheim Ducks traded Carl Hagelin to the Pittsburgh for David Perron and Adam Clendening. The move made more cap space available for the Ducks, as well as added depth and lineup options. In terms of who will benefit more on ice from the trade? That will have to be determined closer toward the end of the season depending on how the traded players perform. For more analysis on the trade visit here: Hagelin Is Traded, Ducks Create Cap Space
So with the recent moves of Friberg and Hagelin, what could be next for Anaheim?
Andersen started the season as the Ducks number one goalie with Khudobin being the backup. John Gibson started the season in San Diego. Late in November Andersen experienced a severe flu where he couldn’t keep food down for about a week. As a result, Gibson was called up and Khudobin was sent to San Diego. Gibson played extremely well and was named the Rookie of Month in December by the NHL. Recently Andersen played in the last two starts for Anaheim, earning two wins and only giving up three goals in those two contests.
The concern is if Andersen is traded for anything other than another goalie, then the Ducks will have to turn to Gibson and Khudobin. Gibson has been on fire as of late, but he has been known to have injury concerns in the past. If Andersen is traded and Gibson becomes injured, then the Ducks would have to rely on Khudobin down the stretch. I don’t think that’s a risk that Bob Murray would want to take.
With the emergence of Gibson, Khudobin has been assigned to the San Diego Gulls. Khudobin was streaky at times with Anaheim, but he also played early in the season when the Ducks were struggling out of the gate to start the season. He wants a chance with an NHL team and could be the likely goalie to be traded.
It would appear that Khudobin would be the goalie to be traded, especially with the addition of Tokarski. Khudobin’s salary cap hit is $2.25 million as opposed to Andersen’s $1.15 million, so that could make trading Khudobin a bit more difficult. If the Ducks want to move Khudobin, then a package deal might need to be made.
Even with the addition of Clendening, the Ducks already have Kevin Bieksa, Simon Despres, Cam Fowler, Korbinian Holzer, Hampus Lindholm, Josh Manson, Clayton Stoner, Shea Theodore, and Sami Vatanen. This is an extremely talented group of defensemen for the Anaheim blue line. If Clendening is sent to San Diego, the Ducks will still have nine total defensemen that can start for Anaheim. The Ducks can afford to trade a defenseman to try to pick up an offensive forward.
Bieksa was originally acquired to replace the departed Francois Beauchemin. Bieksa has played in all of Anaheim’s 43 games, recording one goal and six assists for seven total points. Beauchemin has played in 45 games for Colorado, recording five goals and 17 assists for 22 points. Bieksa hasn’t lived up to expectations, but he has played better on the Ducks home stand as of late. He has one goal and two assists in his last six games.
Bieksa has a no trade clause, so any trade would have to be approved by him. If Bieksa did approve a trade, then the Ducks could get out of his contract where he is owed $8 million over the next two years($4 million each year).
Stoner has appeared in 35 games this season. He has recorded one goal and three assists. He has missed several games this season due to a lower body injury, which is not surprising with his physical style of play. The downfall with his play has been his tendency to turnover the puck in the Ducks defensive zone.
Stoner’s contract is $6.5 million for the next two seasons ($3.25 million each year). He doesn’t have a no trade or no movement clause, so it could be easier for Murray to move him. However due to the value of his contract, Murray may have to offer Stoner in a package deal or retain salary in order to make a deal happen.
Vatanen has led all Ducks defensemen with six goals and 16 assists for 22 points. He has been the best Ducks defenseman in terms of offense and his two way game. There have been rumors that Vatanen could be desired by Tampa Bay who is looking for a defenseman and prospect for Jonathan Drouin.
Vatanen is a restricted free agent along with Lindholm, Jiri Sekac, Rickard Rakell, and Frederik Andersen. The trade of Hagelin does free up about $12.829 million according to over the rest of this year and the next three seasons combined. The Ducks may be able to re-sign all the above RFAs, but Vatanen could be moved to get a desirable offensive player.
The Ducks have given up the 4th fewest goals against in the NHL and have the league’s leading penalty kill. Defense has not been an issue even with the injuries to two of their top defensemen in Cam Fowler and Simon Despres. When Despres and Fowler are back healthy, the Ducks will have nine NHL caliber defensemen. Despres was sent to the AHL affiliate in San Diego, for a physical conditioning stint and is expected to return to the Ducks lineup within 1-2 weeks while Cam Fowler is out a minimum of 2-3 more weeks. Both players returning before the trade deadline will give Bob Murray a chance to see how they both perform in a few games before the Feburary 29th trade deadline.
Once Fowler and Despres are back, then at least two of the following, Holzer, Manson, and Theodore could be sent back to San Diego. This is assuming the Clendening is sent to the AHL also. Anaheim could keep seven defensemen and rotate them, sitting a one each game keeping the blue line fresh.
Overall, it is a very good problem to have for Anaheim General Manager Bob Murray. The Ducks could have a total of nine healthy defensemen, which means that something has to give. The question for Bob Murray is whether you trade a defenseman and acquire a young much needed scorer or send down Holzer, Manson, and/or Theodore who’ve both played well in their stints with the big club and maybe trade a goalie instead.
During a conference call with reporters today, Murray answered questions about Jonathan Drouin and future moves. “There’s more than just him(Drouin) that’s probably out there and available right now. Let’s just leave it at that. We’re looking at a whole bunch of things. We know he’s there, but there’s a few others out there, too, that haven’t requested trades. Requesting trades on entry level, that’s something new for you and I. … Entry-level players requesting trades. Amazing.”
Regardless what Murray decides, don’t be surprised if more moves are made.
Follow us Twitter @DucksNPucks !
Like us on Facebook at DucksNPucks !
Follow us on Instagram at DucksNPucks !