To put it simply, Anaheim has no movement clause issues, which are going to result in the Ducks losing a very good player. As it stands Anaheim has given no move clauses to Getzlaf, Perry, Kesler, and Bieksa. Out of those four, Kevin Bieksa is the man giving Anaheim major issues. This is because on a defensive core which boasts Fowler, Vatanen, Lindholm, and Manson who needs to be protected, wasting a spot on Bieksa means losing one of those players. It also means that Anaheim is forced to go the 4-4-1 route meaning four forwards, four defensemen, and one goalie to retain most of their assets. This means that up front they’ll have to protect Kesler, Getzlaf, Perry and then choose between Cogliano, Rakell, and Silfverberg. To summarize, since the Ducks have these restrictions, they are forced to lose one of their better defenseman or one of their better forwards outside of their top three of Getzlaf, Kesler, and Perry. There is, however, a simple solution to this conundrum: a trade.
Here are some potential trade partners for the Ducks, and who they may exchange.
Tampa Bay Lightning
The Lightning have the opposite problem that the Ducks do, they have a surplus of forwards and a need for defense. Last season, Sportsnet reported that there were rumors that the Ducks and Lightning were in trade talks involving Drouin and Vatanen, so there’s a connection there. The Lightning have to protect Filppula, Stamkos, and Callahan and then have only four spots for Kucherov, Palat, Drouin, Johnson, Killorn, Namestikov, and Boyle. Tampa Bay is ridiculously deep on offense but they have a prevailing issue on the blue line as arguably the only two top-four defensemen they have are Stralman and Hedman. A trade here makes a lot of sense for both sides as the Ducks can take a forward and go with the 7-3-1 route and not lose any of Rakell, Cogliano, or Silfverberg. A trade scenario off the top of my head could look like Fowler for Palat. This gives the Lightning a defenseman to anchor the second pairing and gives Anaheim a left winger to play with Getzlaf and Perry.
New York Rangers
The Rangers are in a similar predicament to the Lightning for this upcoming Expansion Draft, as they also have too many key forwards to protect with Nash, Stepan, Kreider, Zuccarello, Miller, Hayes, Zibanejad, and Fast to protect along with maybe candidates in Pirri and Grabner. The one wrinkle in this, of course, is New York’s defense corps, mainly Girardi and Staal – who both have full no move clauses. The only way a trade with Anaheim makes sense is if the Rangers can offload one of those two as the only other defenseman that the Rangers would protect is McDonagh. As far as what a trade would like, you would have to look at New York’s left shooters which to me would either be Kevin Hayes or J.T. Miller. These players could both be considered expendable as recent additions Vesey and Buchnevich both shoot left and can replace either of Miller or Hayes in the lineup. What Anaheim would send back in a trade would be one of their defensemen, most likely a right shooter to play top pairing with McDonagh, such as Vatanen.
Detroit Red Wings
Finally, the Detroit Red Wings, who need to protect Zetterberg, Mantha, Nielson, Nyquist, Abdelkader, Helm, Tatar, and Sheahan along with prospects Jurco and Athanasiou. Although they do have three defensemen in Green, Kronwall, and DeKeyser who could be protected, I personally feel they will leave one of Kronwall or Green as bait for the Las Vegas franchise to take a veteran top-four defenseman. Using that, it gives Detroit an opening to acquire a much needed top-four defenseman under the age of 30 as Green and Kronwall are 31 and 35 respectively. Acquiring either a left or right shooter would help shore up Detroit’s defensive core which is partially responsible for the team’s -47 team shot differential in 2016. As far as names that could be moved, I could see Detroit willing to give up Tatar and a prospect for Fowler as having a defenseman to anchor a pairing along with DeKeyser would go a long way to improving the defense corps.
So, what do you think? Which team will swing a trade with Anaheim to alleviate expansion problems? Make sure to leave your thoughts in the comments section below.