By Michael Walters
The NHL Expansion Draft is almost finally upon us. There have been several reports that anywhere from six to eight teams have deals in place with Las Vegas already. The Anaheim Ducks are believed to be one, in which Vegas General Manager George McPhee will pick an available player(see below) beside Josh Manson or Sami Vatanen. Here are the players that are available for Vegas to pick from Anaheim:In order for Ducks General Manager Bob Murray to have a deal in place, he is likely going to have to offer something that isn’t available on the above list. Murray would likely have to either offer an exempt player(s) and/or draft pick(s). The exempt players that have the most value include Nick Ritchie, Max Jones, Sam Steel, Ondrej Kase, Shea Theodore, Brandon Montour, and Jacob Larsson. As far as draft picks go, the Ducks don’t have a 1st round pick this year in the draft. Anaheim does have a 1st round pick for the 2018 draft, but Murray is not a big fan of giving up 1st round picks. If a draft pick is involved in this deal then it’s likely a 2nd Round Pick from this year’s draft.
Scenario 1: 2017 2nd Round Draft Pick
This is the best scenario for Anaheim. If Murray can convince McPhee to take another player by giving him just a 2nd Round Pick from this year’s draft, then it would not affect Anaheim too much. The draft class this year is weak compared to years past. The Ducks also have two 2nd Round Picks this year so they could give up one and still have another to hold onto.
Scenario 2: An Exempt Player
As I mentioned above the Ducks do have some valuable exempt players. If Murray had to give up a player, then a defensive player would be likely the one to be offered. The Ducks are stacked at the blue line. If Murray wants to trade Sami Vatanen for a forward, then he can use Brandon Montour to fill his spot. Montour played well and made a statement this season. This means that Shea Theodore or Jacob Larsson could be a player he offers up in this scenario. The Ducks don’t have as much depth at the forward position, so it seems less likely he would offer up Nick Ritchie, Max Jones, Sam Steel, or Ondrej Kase. For a full list of exempt players visit Cap Friendly Expansion Tool.
Scenario 3: 2017 2nd Round Draft Pick and An Exempt Player
This would be the worst case scenario for Anaheim. Murray would have to likely offer up a 2nd Round Pick from the draft this year AND and an exempt player mentioned above. Hopefully, Murray can avoid this scenario, but it might be necessary in order to prevent Manson or Vatanen from being picked by Vegas.
In addition to what Murray offers, McPhee will still get to pick a player from the graphic above. If McPhee wants a forward then Nic Kerdiles, Logan Shaw, or Chris Wagner could be ones that he selects. Clayton Stoner could be the one he selects on defense, but if Murray offers up Theodore or Larsson, then McPhee might lean more towards taking a forward. Still, there is a chance he takes Stoner in addition to Theodore or Larsson.
My prediction is Murray will offer up Theodore or Larsson and McPhee will pick either Kerdiles, Shaw, Wagner, or Stoner.
Regardless what happens at the NHL Expansion Draft, the side deals are certainly making it interesting.
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June 20th 2017