By Thomas Harrington
With the top 20 done, it’s time to turn our attention to teams picking between 21st and 26th overall in the upcoming NHL Entry Draft and what potential deals, if any, the Ducks could make to move up in the first round. I’ll follow the same criteria as before, so you won’t see Ryan Getzlaf, Adam Henrique, Jakob Silfverberg, David Backes, Cam Fowler, Josh Manson, Rickard Rakell, Hampus Lindholm, and John Gibson included in any deal. Prospects who could be available that Anaheim might be interested in include Mavrik Bourque, Justin Barron, Ridly Greig, Lukas Reichel, Zion Nybeck, and Lukas Cormier.
As the pick gets closer and closer to where Anaheim is picking, what Anaheim is willing to give up will be less and less. So if the 27th pick is used to move up, Anaheim will be packaging far less with it. If a team is interested in one of Anaheim’s better prospects, they’ll have to settle for either the Ducks’ second or third-round picks. The 36th overall pick will be in play in many of these potential deals. A big determination will be whether or not I think a team is willing to trade out of the first round.
21st Pick – Columbus
The Columbus Blue Jackets will pick 21st in the draft. After sweeping Tampa Bay a year ago, the Lightning took their revenge this time around and Columbus was defeated in five close, hard-fought games. Columbus lost a lot of talent in the summer of 2019, but they are a hard-working team and should have a solid group of players next season, including two great, young goaltenders. However, they do not have a second or third-round pick in the draft. If the Ducks really like someone who is available at 21st overall, the deal would be the 27th and 36th picks for the 21st overall pick. Ideally, the Ducks would get this done with the 27th pick and their third-round pick, but I don’t think that would be enough.
22nd Pick – New York Rangers
The Rangers have the 22nd overall pick, acquired from Carolina, and this is their second first-round pick of the draft. After taking Alexis Lafreniere first overall, the Rangers might be convinced to part with this pick. The Rangers also don’t have a second-round pick in the draft, so that’s where this deal starts, with the 36th overall pick. At this point, I think the 36th and 27th picks are too much to give up to move up a few spots in the draft, and I don’t think a second and third-round pick would do it. They did just trade away Marc Staal, so could be looking for another defenseman. So one of Anaheim’s many left-handed defensemen and either a second or third-round pick for the 22nd overall pick is the deal I would put forward.
23rd Pick – Philadelphia
The Philadelphia Flyers lost to the New York Islanders in seven games in the second round and have the 23rd overall pick. The Flyers are a veteran team that could use some younger players. I don’t think they’d want to trade out of the first round, but the 36th overall pick might entice them to do so. The Ducks have a glut of left-handed defensemen and could trade one of them to try to move up. However, Brendan Guhle or Jacob Larsson along with the 36th overall pick feels like a steep price to pay. Instead, I’d offer up one of Guhle or Larsson along with Anaheim’s third-round pick. That’s probably not enough to get it done, but that’s about as far as I would go in this potential deal, so I don’t think something happens between these two teams.
24th Pick – Washington
The Washington Capitals have the 24th overall pick in the draft. Despite losing in the first round to the New York Islanders, they are still a team very much in the win-now mode, and, as a result, I could see them trading out of the first round for the right player. They have one of the stronger forward groups in the league, led by Alexander Ovechkin. I don’t think they’d be that interested in one of Anaheim’s forwards, but the Caps only have four defensemen signed for next season, plus another who is a restricted free agent.
The Capitals also don’t have a second-round pick in this draft. However, giving up the 36th overall pick and a player like Larsson or Guhle feels pretty steep for the 24th overall pick. If the Caps really want that second-round pick, then I’d offer up Simon Benoit along with it. If they accept a lower level pick, then I’d feel more comfortable sending back Larsson or Guhle.
25th Pick – Colorado
The Colorado Avalanche hold the 25th overall pick. They are also one of the best teams in the league and have one of the best prospect systems in the NHL. In particular, they’ve got some amazing young defensemen. They also have one of the best offenses in the league, and they don’t have a second-round pick. However, the 27th overall pick and the 36th overall pick is a steep price to pay for the 25th overall pick. Could a deal happen between Anaheim and Colorado? Yes, but I’m not sure what it would be.
26th Pick – St. Louis
The St. Louis Blues hold the 26th overall pick. Similar to Washington, they are in win-now mode and I could see them trading out of the first round. However, their roster is already pretty set. The only glaring hole is on defense, and that goes away if they re-sign Alex Pietrangelo. While it wouldn’t surprise me to see the Blues make changes to their roster, I think that may be more significant then I can take a guess at. So for now, I don’t see a deal happening between the Ducks and Blues for the 26th overall pick, unless it’s the 27th overall pick and a fourth or fifth-round pick for the 26th overall pick.
Like I said in the very first post, I don’t expect any of these deals to happen, and I’d be surprised to see Anaheim make a move to acquire a third first-round pick at the draft. However, I wouldn’t be surprised to see them make at least a move or two. It’s pretty common for Anaheim to make a move at or around the draft.
With this fun exercise out of the way, it’s time to turn my attention to who Anaheim will select in the draft. My predictions are up next.
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October 4th, 2020