By Thomas Harrington
A year ago, Bob Murray and the Ducks were quite busy at the Trade Deadline. Overall, the team made four separate trades, some designed to help the team gear up for the playoffs, some to help out San Diego, and some to free up cap and roster space for the future. A year later, it’s safe to say that this was one of Murray’s less successful trade deadlines as none of these moves helped the Ducks get past Nashville in the first round of the playoffs and most of the players Anaheim picked up are no longer with the organization. However, none of these moves could be classified as big deals and the Ducks didn’t lose a ton from their roster or their future. This is partially because the Ducks weren’t willing to meet the ridiculous price some players were traded for (see how much Andrew Ladd went for) and partially because Anaheim had already made a large move about a month and a half earlier when the Ducks acquired David Perron from Pittsburgh for Carl Hagelin.
Of the four moves that Anaheim made, the worst was easily their deal with Edmonton, as the Ducks sent Patrick Maroon to the Oilers for a 2016 fourth round pick and Martin Gernat. The Ducks also retained a quarter of Maroon’s $2 million salary in the deal. At the time of the trade, a combination of bad luck and poor play had Maroon struggling. After scoring a combined 20 goals in the previous two seasons, Maroon had fallen to only four goals in 56 games. It was determined that Maroon wasn’t going to be a part of Anaheim’s future, especially with Nick Ritchie getting his feet wet in the NHL last season. Gernat was acquired solely for defensive depth for San Diego. In Bakersfield, Edmonton’s AHL affiliate, he had appeared in 22 games and recorded three assists. Similar to Maroon, he wasn’t in the team’s long-term plans and the Oilers were looking to move on from him.
A year later, it isn’t even close; this was a terrible deal for the Ducks. Maroon has found a place alongside Connor McDavid and has 20 goals and 31 points on the season. He’s currently third on the team in goals and his 31 points are fifth. That’s after he scored eight goals in 16 games after being dealt a year ago. Meanwhile, Gernat appeared in only five games for the Gulls and went scoreless. He didn’t play at all in the playoffs for San Diego. Getting Maroon’s salary off the books did help create some space for the Ducks to re-sign Rickard Rakell, Hampus Lindholm, and Sami Vatanen, but retaining a quarter of his salary makes this deal that much worse. If there’s one saving grace for the Ducks in this deal it’s the draft pick they received, as they used it to pick forward Jack Kopacka. After scoring 20 goals and 43 points in his rookie season in the OHL, Kopacka has already set a new career high in goals and should easily eclipse his point total from a season ago. If he can make it to the NHL, Kopacka could turn into a useful power forward, but he’s got a long way to go before he gets there. For now, this trade ranks as one of the worst Murray has made in recent years. However, if Kopacka does make it to the NHL someday, this deal won’t look as bad.
Probably the best deal of the day that Anaheim made was when they traded a conditional third round pick to Buffalo for Jamie McGinn. The conditions were that if the Ducks made it to the third round of the playoffs and McGinn played in at least 50% of Anaheim’s playoff games, the pick would become a second round pick. Since that didn’t happen, the Sabres ended up with a third round pick. However, the Sabres sent that pick to Nashville to acquire the rights to Jimmy Vesey, in the hopes that they could sign him before he became a free agent. He chose to not sign with the Sabres and became a free agent and signed with the New York Rangers. McGinn gave Anaheim some nice depth scoring down the stretch, as he scored eight goals and 12 points in 21 games until the end of the season. In the playoffs, he played in all seven playoff games and scored two goals. In the offseason, McGinn chose to not sign with the Ducks and instead signed a three-year deal with the Coyotes. A year later, even though McGinn left, it’s safe to say that the Ducks got the better end of the deal in this one. They got a useful player who provided some nice depth scoring through the rest of the regular season and the first round of the playoffs. The Sabres flipped the pick for a player who ultimately chose to become a free agent, leaving the team with nothing from this deal.
The Ducks made a low-risk/high reward move when they sent a sixth-round draft pick to the Florida Panthers for Brandon Pirri. Pirri had suffered through some major injuries with the Panthers and there was no longer a spot on the roster for him. When the Ducks acquired him, he wasn’t healthy enough to play. It took a little while, but he eventually made it into the lineup and scored three goals and five points in nine games with Anaheim. With the sixth round pick, the Panthers selected forward Maxim Mamin. Mamin is a winger who is putting up decent numbers in the KHL this season. I call this deal a low risk/high reward move because of how little the Ducks gave up and the potential that Pirri brought to the table. Giving up a sixth round pick for a former 20 goal scorer is a deal that I’ll be quite happy with any day of the week. Unfortunately, Pirri spent a lot of time on IR while he was in Anaheim and never really got a huge chance with the team. The Ducks chose to let him become a free agent, as there were concerns about his ability to stay healthy in a physical Western Conference. Ultimately, this deal didn’t work out, but the loss of a sixth round pick is a small price to pay.
Good Deal For The Gulls
The fourth deal that the Ducks made is actually the one deal that is still helping out their organization today. The Ducks traded Tim Jackman and a 2017 seventh round draft pick to the Chicago Blackhawks for forward Corey Tropp. Jackman had been a useful fourth-line grinder for the Ducks, but the Ducks had acquired Ryan Garbutt in January. Besides filling a grinding role, Garbutt was also a useful player on the penalty kill, ultimately making Jackman expendable. Tropp was a third-round pick of Buffalo back in 2007 but had never been able to stick in the NHL. He played 61 games for Columbus in the 2014-15 season, but only scored eight points that season. However, he’s found a lot more success in the AHL over the years, and that’s true with the San Diego Gulls. After the trade, he had 11 points in 15 games for the Gulls and leads San Diego with 40 points this season. While this deal hasn’t been a big win for the Ducks, it’s been a huge one for the Gulls. Giving up a fourth line player and a seventh round draft pick is a small price to pay to help out San Diego.
What Will The 2017 Trade Deadline Bring?
Murray’s track record at the deadline is a mixed bag, but things haven’t gone great these last few seasons. He’s made some deals that looked good at the time but ultimately didn’t work out, like James Wisniewski. Some other good deals were derailed by injuries, like Stephane Robidas and Simon Despres. And some deals that seemed minor at the time but ended up helping out the other team more, like Patrick Maroon. While some deals that just didn’t have the big or long term impact the team hoped for, like picking up Jamie McGinn. With this year’s trade deadline happening tomorrow, hopefully, any moves that Murray makes will work out better than last years did. Murray has already gotten things started with the Patrick Eaves trade, and it will be interesting to see what else Murray does.
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February 28th, 2017