By Mathieu Bernier
On the afternoon of February 24th, a call woke up Patrick Eaves from his nap. On that day, he learned that he has been traded. While he was expecting to go to the American Airlines Center only a few hours later, instead, he left to join his new team at the Honda Center. “I was a little disoriented because I was taking a pregame nap for the game tonight,” Eaves said. “It got me out of bed really quick, that’s for sure. I was excited.”
Dallas Stars traded Patrick Eaves to the Anaheim Ducks in exchange for a 2017 conditional second-round pick. However, if the Ducks advances to the Western Conference Final and Eaves plays in at least half of their games in the two first rounds, that pick becomes a 1st rounder. Some were quite surprised by this trade from Murray. He publicly mentioned that he is not interested in a rental player, especially if it involved one of his young defensemen. In fact, last week, Murray said that if he makes any move prior to the trade deadline, he is looking for a player that can help the team in the long term.
Eaves, 32, has set a career high with 37 points (21G, 16A) in 60 games. Although, there is a reason for his 37 points. He played on the same line that Tyler Seguin and Jamie Benn. Prior to that, the best season Eaves had was in the 2006-2007 season, when he recorded only 32 points with the Ottawa Senators. As Antoine Vermette, he was on the Senators Club when the Anaheim Ducks beats them on the Stanley cup Final. Despite his poor statistics and his advanced age, we will see in this article that Eaves remained, however, an interesting choice for the Ducks.
First of all, despite a cap space of 2,88 million, the addition of Eaves is possible for the Ducks because of his low salary (1 million). Furthermore, he becomes UFA at the end of the season. This was one of the reasons why Murray did have to pay a lot; Eaves was one of the very few available players that can score goals with such a low salary.
Also, Eaves has had success on special units. Eleven of his 21 goals are on the power play, which ranked him 4th in the league. This statistic is very interesting for the Ducks who are currently 14th in the league with a percentage efficiency of 19.5%, while they finished first in the league last season with 23.1%. The arrival of Eaves will certainly help them to find the back of the net when they have a man advantage. Just like Ryan Kesler or Corey Perry, he his that kind of guy who isn’t afraid to be in the front of the net.
Eaves is also known for his talents on the penalty kill. However, Carlyle said that he did not intend to use him for this aspect of the game: “His strengths are to be put in offensive situations. So we didn’t acquire him for his penalty killing”.
The bearded man will certainly be part of the top nine forwards. Considering that Carlyle keeps the Kesler line together and that Perry and Getzlaf are on different lines, a first possibility would be to put Eaves on the Getzlaf or Rakell line. In fact, considering Perry and Getzlaf’s difficulties scoring this season, a player like Eaves could be great for Getzlaf or Perry. Eaves would be another passing option for Getzlaf that could result in goals. Eaves could also join Perry and Rakell, who are quietly developing an interesting chemistry. Carlyle chose this option last Saturday, but the Ducks lost 4-1 to their rival, the L.A Kings. Despite the lost, this line was impressively offensive, while they combined a total of 10 shots on goal, five of them came from the new number 18. Patrick’s hard work also allowed the Ducks to get two power plays in the first period.
However, many are wondering if the addition of Eaves will be enough for the Ducks to get their hands on the Stanley Cup. Still, Murray seems confident enough: “I don’t feel I have to make another move”. Ducks GM also mentioned, “I don’t feel pressure to do anything else but you’re always looking at making your organization better and deeper if you can do it,”
What do you guys think? Is Eaves the answer to the Ducks’ scoring woes? Do you think Murray will make another trade by March 1rst?
For more information on Ducks trade possibilities, take a look at this article: Anaheim Ducks Trade Possibilities.
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February 27th, 2017