The Winnipeg Jets and Anaheim Ducks swapped a pair of minor-league forwards as the Jets traded Chase De Leo to the Ducks for Nicolas Kerdiles, according to the Ducks. The even swap should give both forwards a fresh start for next season as both are restricted free agents and each were given qualifying offers earlier this week.
For Anaheim, the acquisition of De Leo, is another sign of bringing in a hometown player to the franchise. Born in La Mirada, Calif., the 22-year-old fourth-round pick in 2014 has struggled to improve in the last three years. After posting solid junior numbers, he scored 19 goals as a rookie with the Manitoba Moose of the AHL in the 2015-16 season which included a two-game promotion to the Jets. However, De Leo then wasn’t able to improve on that. His goal output then decreased from 14 the following year and then to 12 this year. Lost in the shuffle of all the young talent in Winnipeg, a move to Anaheim might be exactly what the forward needs. De Leo just finished out his entry-level deal where he made $875K last year.
Kerdiles will provide Winnipeg with a bigger player for their AHL team next year. The 6-foot-2 Kerdiles posted 15 goals last season and had a career-high 34 points last season, but seems to but hasn’t made major improvements in the last few years and he also has a history of being injury-prone as he’s never played a full season of professional hockey. However, after four years in the AHL and just two games in the NHL, a new home might be the answer. The 24-year-old made $650K on a one-year deal last season.