By Thomas Harrington
Despite not having a first-round selection, the Anaheim Ducks still made some news during the draft tonight, as it was announced that Patrick Eaves had been re-signed for three years at $9.45 million. Eaves came over at the deadline from Dallas and is the reason why Anaheim lacked a first round pick this year. By re-signing Eaves, it really lessens the sting of no first round pick this year.
Before this year, Eaves had only scored 20 goals in a season once, all the way back in the 2005-2006 season. He’s never been a big time scorer, and injuries have limited him at times, but he absolutely exploded this season. In 59 games with Dallas, he scored 21 goals, setting a new career high. When he joined Anaheim, he got even better, as he scored 11 goals in just 20 games and formed instant chemistry with Ryan Getzlaf. Overall, he finished with 14 points in those 20 games. Before getting injured, he scored two goals and four points in seven playoff games. With Eaves and Getzlaf playing together so well, it allowed Randy Carlyle to move Corey Perry around, helping to spread out Anaheim’s offense. Eaves was one of the primary reasons why Anaheim had such a strong finish to the regular season and helped lead the Ducks to their fifth straight Pacific Division title. He was also a catalyst for Anaheim’s powerplay, which was dormant for much of the season before he arrived.
Eaves is 33, so a three-year term is about right. He should be an effective player over the next three seasons, though he probably won’t hit the 30 goal mark again. However, if he and Getzlaf can maintain their chemistry, 20 goals should be doable. His cap hit will be $3.15 million a season. If he can score at or near the 20 goal mark for all three seasons of this deal, that’s a great price for Eaves. Even if his scoring falters and he scores more in the 10 to 15 range, that’s still not a bad price for him. Eaves’ cap hit essentially replaces Clayton Stoner’s $3.25 million. So by convincing Vegas to take Stoner by trading Shea Theodore to the Golden Knights, the Ducks were able to bring back the player they spent a first round pick to get. Stoner would have played very little with Anaheim this coming season, whereas Eaves should see time in Anaheim’s top nine for the next three years. Losing Theodore hurts, but this helps lessen the sting of that loss as well.
There are two potential downsides to this deal. The first, Eaves is 33, but since it’s only a three-year deal, age hopefully won’t end up being an issue. The second, injuries. Eaves has never played a full 82 game season. The 79 he played this past season was a career high for him. However, getting injured during the regular season isn’t my biggest concern with Eaves, it’s if he gets injured during the playoffs again. Without Eaves, Anaheim’s offense, and their power play especially, took a big hit. For this deal to work out for Anaheim, they’ll need Eaves to be healthy and scoring timely goals in the postseason.
Overall, I really like this deal for the Ducks. While Eaves is 33 and has an injury history, there’s not a lot of term and the price isn’t too bad. Even if he doesn’t work out, it’s not a huge risk for the Ducks. However, if he can play anywhere near the level that he did after being acquired by Anaheim and stay healthy, this is a great deal for the Ducks. Plus, he’s got that fantastic beard.
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June 24th, 2017