The Anaheim Ducks have continued to make minor moves to adjust the fringes of their roster, and were involved in two more trades in the early morning hours. First the team sent Luke Schenn and a 2020 seventh-round pick to the Vancouver Canucks in exchange for Michael Del Zotto, before then acquiring Derek Grant from the Pittsburgh Penguins in exchange for Joseph Blandisi. The Ducks have been involved in four of the last five trades in the NHL as they try to find some sort of fix to their disastrous season.
Anaheim is mired in an incredible 12-game losing streak at the moment and has thrown away any of the success that they found in the first part of the season. While John Gibson was at one point enough to carry them through to wins, the team is now falling faster in the standings than any other NHL team and will soon find themselves closer to a draft lottery spot than the playoffs if they can’t turn things around. The team has now recently sent out Schenn, Blandisi, Pontus Aberg and Andrew Cogliano while bringing up young talent like Troy Terry and Max Jones.
None of those moves though really strike at the core of the Ducks, something that might end up coming closer to the trade deadline or in the summer. Both Del Zotto and Grant are short-term fixes given their status as pending unrestricted free agents, something that can’t really be said about many other players on their roster. Jakob Silfverberg and Ryan Miller are the only two impact UFAs that the Ducks really have to send packing at the deadline, and both are currently on injured reserve. If the team is looking to sell at the deadline they’ll have to find teams willing to take on some term.
For the Canucks, there was little chance that Del Zotto would be coming back. The high-risk defenseman had seen his role on the team diminished greatly and with the likes of Quinn Hughes and Olli Juolevi expected to challenge for full-time roles on the team next year there wasn’t any room left. Now 28, Del Zotto has had a roller coaster of a career, at times looking like a front line puck mover and at others struggling to stay in an NHL lineup. If he isn’t re-signed by the Ducks—or whoever they flip him to if that decision is made—there will likely be several teams interested in giving him another chance in the offseason.
As for the Penguins, acquiring Blandisi gives them another option down the middle if they decide to move on from Derick Brassard. While the acquisition doesn’t necessarily mean that a Brassard deal is imminent, several reports have come out recently that he will be sent somewhere else before the deadline. Blandisi has played only 74 games at the NHL level, but is a good offensive player and could perhaps fill a role in the Pittsburgh bottom-six.