By Thomas Harrington
So far I’ve gone through the top 15 picks in the drafts and taken a look at who might be interested in dealing with the Ducks for Anaheim’s surplus in net and on defense. Now it’s time to take a look at picks 16 through 20. As with my previous three entries, one of Frederik Andersen or John Gibson, one of Sami Vatanen or Cam Fowler, Clayton Stoner, and/or Simon Despres will form the foundation of any potential deals. However, at this point in the draft, it doesn’t make sense for the Ducks to trade one of their big guys for just a pick, so if a deal is made, other teams may have to give up a bit more to make things work out.
So unless a team is willing to give up a lot, deals will more often focus on Despres instead of Vatanen or Fowler. Forward prospects the Ducks might be interested in and will probably still be available in this range include Brett Howden, Julien Gauthier, Max Jones, German Rubstov, Kieffer Bellows, Michael McLeod, and Luke Kunin. Most, if not all of these players should be available in this range, it’s just a question of Anaheim deciding which one is the best and worth giving up any pieces for.
Trading Detroit For The 16th Pick
First up is Detroit picking at 16th overall. The Wings are pretty solid in net with Jimmy Howard and Peter Mrazek. Howard is signed for over $5 million a season for the next two years so they could look to move him; Mrazek is a restricted free agent. On defense, Detroit has Mike Green, Niklas Kronwall, Jonathan Ericsson, and Brendan Smith signed for next year; they have restricted free agents Danny Dekeyser and Alexey Marchenko as well. Both Dekeyser and Mrazek will probably be seeking pretty healthy raises this summer, and I’m not sure if Marchenko is ready for full time NHL action. Based on that, I think there’s definitely a deal to be made here. Actually, I think there are several possible deals.
The first potential deal I see is Despres straight up for the 16th pick. Probably a bit of an overpayment by the Ducks, so they may ask for another pick to be thrown in, either a second this year or a third next year since Detroit is without a third round pick in this draft. The Ducks get the forward prospect they have their eye on and Detroit improves its defensive core with a solid player in Despres. The Ducks also get some cap space, which they can use to re-sign one of their many restricted free agents.
The second deal is substantially bigger. The Ducks would send both Gibson and Stoner to Detroit for the 16h overall pick, Howard, and a prospect or two. Probably not one of Detroit’s best like Anthony Mantha or Evgeny Svechnikov, but one or two of Zach Nastasiuk, Andreas Athanasiou, or Tyler Bertuzzi could be enough. Both teams would unload a contract they don’t want anymore, both teams would get something valuable, and because the Ducks are giving up Gibson and taking on a more expensive contract, they get a couple extra prospects to boot. It’s certainly not an ideal scenario, but with some tinkering it could work.
The third deal expands on the first deal. Despres and the pick are involved, as are Vatanen and Gustav Nyquist. So the deal would be Despres and Vatanen for Nyquist, the 16th overall pick, as well as a later pick or lesser prospect. Detroit would instantly improve its backend while the Ducks would make roster space for Shea Theodore, gain a valuable secondary scoring threat, and a higher draft pick to use on a forward for the future. Giving up Despres and Vatanen is a lot, but with Theodore NHL ready, and Brandon Montour not far behind, as well as Fowler, Hampus Lindholm, Kevin Bieksa, Josh Manson, and Stoner rounding out the rest of the top six, Anaheim’s defense should still be solid.
Trading Nashville For The 17th Pick
After Detroit, the team that Anaheim lost to is up, the Nashville Predators. As we Anaheim fans witnessed firsthand, Nashville is loaded on defense with Shea Weber, Roman Josi, Ryan Ellis, Mattias Ekholm, and Barret Jackman. Their depth is so good, they were able to trade away Seth Jones during the season and didn’t miss him. In net, Pekka Rinne isn’t the Vezina caliber goaltender he was a few years ago, but he’s still very good, as witnessed in the game seven loss. Basically, based on Anaheim’s surplus, there’s not a deal to be had with Nashville.
Trading Philadelphia For The 18th Pick
The Philadelphia Flyers hold the 18th pick in the draft. The Flyers are one of those interesting teams that could go crazy this summer, or keep things pretty much the same. In net, they have Steve Mason and Michal Neuvirth. Mason had a pretty good season for them, but had a truly awful moment against the Capitals when he gave up the worst goal of the playoffs. Neuvirth played great against Washington in the final couple of games, but he’s never been able to sustain that level of play over a prolonged period of time. Both will be free agents in a year. On defense, the Flyers have Mark Streit, Andrew MacDonald, Michael Del Zotto, Nick Schultz, and rookie of the year candidate Shayne Gostisbehere, and Radko Gudas is a restricted free agent. Right now, only MacDonald is signed beyond next season, and Gostisbehere will get a healthy raise in a year’s time. Based on their contract status, I do believe the Flyers will be looking to at least make a deal to get a defensemen or two signed for a few years, if not a goalie as well.
Based upon his play against Washington, I think the Flyers would prefer to keep Neuvirth and move Mason instead. If the Ducks were to take Mason back, they’d be trading Andersen instead of Gibson, and asking for something extra in return to make up for taking on a $4 million backup, or have Philadelphia retain some of the salary. I don’t see the Ducks taking on Mason, so any potential deal would be centered around Despres for the 18th pick. The Flyers currently hold 10 picks in this year’s draft, so Anaheim will definitely be asking for another pick as well. Despres is a young top four defenseman signed to a very reasonable deal for the next five years; he’s worth more than the 18th pick alone. Asking for one of Philadelphia’s second round picks or even both of third round picks could be enough to get this deal done.
Trading New York For The 19th Pick
The New York Islanders hold the 19th overall pick. The Islanders won their first playoff series since the early 1990s this past spring. They did it without their starting goaltender as Thomas Greiss played for the injured Jaroslav Halak. On defense, the Islanders have a very good group in Johnny Boychuk, Nick Leddy, Travis Hamonic, Thomas Hickey, Calvin de Haan, Ryan Pulock, and Adam Pelech. It’s not the strongest defensive core in the NHL, but given their relative youth (Boychuk is the only one over 27), I’d say their best days are likely ahead of them. New York clearly doesn’t need help on the backend, so if a deal is to be done, it will be a goalie swap.
Given how well Greiss played in the playoffs, there is definitely a chance the Islanders could decide to go with him next season and see what they can get for Halak. However, if the Islanders do decide to shop Halak, the only way the Ducks would even consider him in a deal is if Andersen was going the other way. If the Islanders want to give Greiss the starting role, this deal doesn’t make much sense for them. If they decide to trade Greiss instead, the Ducks might be interested. If they do trade one of their goalies, they’ll need a new backup next season. If the Islanders trade Greiss, they’d want Gibson instead of Andersen. So, the deal would look something like Gibson for Greiss and the 19th overall pick. Personally, I don’t really like that deal from an Anaheim perspective, unless the Islanders added some more to it, but I don’t think they will. So I don’t see a deal happening with the Islanders.
Trading Arizona For The 20th Pick
The Arizona Coyotes hold the 20th overall pick, acquired from the New York Rangers when they sent Keith Yandle to the big apple before the trade deadline in 2015. Arizona of course also holds the seventh overall pick. Previously, I had proposed trading Andersen and a third round pick for Mike Smith, the seventh overall pick, and one of Arizona’s better prospects. However, given that the draft is now several picks later, that deal is obviously off the table from an Anaheim perspective. The only way it would happen would be if Arizona included one of their top forward prospects, which they won’t be doing. There probably isn’t a goalie deal to work out with them at this point, but there could be one on the backend.
Oliver Ekman-Larsson and Zbynek Michalek are the only two defenseman signed for next season, and Ekman-Larsson is the only one signed beyond that. They do have several restricted free agents, including Michael Stone, Connor Murphy, Jarred Tinordi, Kevin Connauton, and Klas Dahlbeck. The Coyotes also just acquired the rights to pending unrestricted free agent Alex Goligoski. If Arizona can get him signed, they’ll be less likely to make a deal, but if they don’t have him signed by the draft, I think they will look for help via trade. Even if he is signed, the Coyotes could still use some complimentary pieces on the backend.
Given the fact that they are a budget team, the Coyotes won’t be taking on Stoner’s contract unless they can unload Smith, so that’s out, leaving Despres as the ideal trade candidate. Again Despres’ name pops up because of how valuable an addition he can be to an NHL roster given everything he brings to the table combined with his age and contract. The only reason the Ducks would consider trading him is because of the young talent, like Theodore, coming up. Despres alone is too valuable to give up for the 20th pick, but Despres for the 20th pick and one of Arizona’s two second round picks could work out for Anaheim. Since the Ducks don’t have a second round pick, they will definitely be trying to acquire one in the draft and this could be one of the ways that happens. So the deal would be Despres for the 20th pick and a second round pick.
So there you have it, the first 20 picks and a quick look to see what teams would be interested in trading with Anaheim based on their needs and Anaheim’s surplus. With the Ducks picking at 24th, I won’t be looking at picks 21-23, since I’m betting the Ducks have a few players in that range they’ll be happy with and won’t feel the need to jump up and grab. The exception to this would be if a player the Ducks really like falls farther than expected and they think he might be grabbed by one of the teams picking right in front of them, then Anaheim could try and make a deal for one of those three picks. But I don’t think that happens.
Look for my prediction on who I think Anaheim will select with the 24th pick next week, a day or two before the draft.
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