According to Bob McKenzie of TSN, the Anaheim Ducks are going to have to make a deal after completing contracts with their currently pending restricted free agents Rickard Rakell and Hampus Lindholm. As discussed on this site yesterday, Rakell isn’t any closer to a deal with the Ducks, however McKenzie does hear that the two sides are close on money and term and that it’s something else holding up the deal.
Either way, when Rakell and Lindholm come in for something around $9MM combined, the Ducks will be way over the cap and need to shed some salary. McKenzie says as much in a tweet today, in which he suggests that Cam Fowler will be the odd man out in Anaheim and be on the move while the ink is still drying.
If it is Fowler, one would imagine many teams would be after the 24-year old. The former first-round pick will have over 450 games in the NHL before his 25th birthday, bringing a mixture of youth and experience to whichever team lands him. Fowler is owed $8MM over the next two seasons, a fine number for a player who many would consider a top-4 defenseman. He’ll become an unrestricted free agent following the 2017-18 season, and be looking for a long-term deal.
The Ducks seemingly have painted themselves into a corner this summer, with the addition of Jonathan Bernier’s deal. If Frederik Andersen being shipped to Toronto was a cost-saving measure, it has been completely undone by taking the former Leafs goaltender back. The Ducks are expected to start John Gibson for the majority of their games this season, despite making almost $2MM less than Bernier.
There is also the impending expansion draft, in which one of the Ducks young defenders is sure to be at risk, as the picture stands currently. If the team was to start moving pieces like Fowler out however, perhaps they’ll be able to keep their whole pipeline intact.