Late last night, the Anaheim Ducks made a move to secure some young talent. The team has acquired Alexander Volkov from the Tampa Bay Lightning in exchange for Antoine Morand and a conditional seventh-round selection in 2023. Ducks GM Bob Murray released a short statement on the move:
We are excited to have Alexander join our organization. We believe a fresh start will help him further develop as we look to continue adding youthful talent.
Volkov, 23, has shown flashes of brilliance in his young career with the Lightning but was stuck behind a deep forward group and playing just a handful of shifts each game. In 19 appearances this season he had registered five points, averaging just under ten minutes a game. Originally selected 48th overall in 2017, the young Russian was a strong offensive force for three seasons with the Syracuse Crunch, but hasn’t yet been able to translate that to the NHL level. In Anaheim he’ll be given a fresh start with a team desperate for young scoring talent.
Importantly, Volkov is a restricted free agent this offseason and will be arbitration-eligible. The Ducks can afford to give him a raise to keep him on North American ice, but the Lightning likely couldn’t commit any more than the league minimum given their cap restraints. For Anaheim he is a worthwhile gamble given how little it cost to acquire him.
Morand, 22, was also a second-round pick in 2017, but hasn’t found any level of offensive success in the AHL so far. In 21 games this season he has just one goal and six points, a far cry from the numbers he put up in the QMJHL. Still, given Morand still has another year on his entry-level deal and will be a restricted free agent after that, perhaps the Lightning believe they can turn a corner in his development. The draft pick that comes along will be a seventh-rounder no matter what but could transfer to 2024 if the 2023 selection is unavailable due to a previous trade.
That’s not much to give up for a talent like Volkov, even if he hasn’t put it all together at this point. Getting NHL games out of Morand is not even close to a guarantee, but after going through protocols the Ducks could put Volkov in the lineup right away.