If the Anaheim Ducks had any intention of trading defenseman Hampus Lindholm before this season’s deadline, that is now unlikely to happen. The team has announced that Lindholm suffered a fractured left wrist on Saturday against the Vegas Golden Knights and has been placed on the injured reserve. The good news is that Lindholm is expected to make a full recovery and will return to action before the end of the regular season, barring any setbacks. The bad news is that he will not be evaluated for a possible return for approximately six weeks, at which point the trade deadline will have already expired.
Lindholm, 27, is nothing if not consistent. The Ducks defender plays at a high level year in and year out with little deviation, able to eat major minutes and provide solid defense and competent puck possession. That reliability is worth immense value and for an Anaheim team that struggles to get consistent effort out of too many of its players, it is possible that the team was not planning to part with Lindholm. Nevertheless, with a shallow and unimpressive market for rental defensemen this season, Lindholm is among a group of blue liners with one year remaining on their current contracts who have been discussed as trade targets for contenders this year.
With the Ducks struggling again this season, it seems likely that the team would have at least entertained offers for Lindholm as the deadline grew closer. After all, Anaheim currently sits in last place in the West Division and have lost eight straight games. Now they are losing their top defensemen for upwards of 20+ games in a 56-game season. The Ducks have little to play for this season and as they continue to evaluate the best way to continue their rebuild, a Lindholm trade may have come to fruition. However, a move is unlikely now due to the unknown value of a recovering Lindholm to a contender down the stretch and in the postseason. Perhaps the injury came at just the right time for the Ducks to be able to justify keeping one of the best and most reliable players.