The Anaheim Ducks seem like they should be obvious sellers at the upcoming trade deadline, given their place at the bottom of the West Division standings. The team is 9-17-6 and has allowed the third-most goals against in the entire league. Their -39 goal differential through 32 games tracks ahead of only the Buffalo Sabres (-40) and the Ottawa Senators (-43), two teams that have no hope of contending for a playoff spot this season. Despite all that, Ducks GM Bob Murray explains to Pierre LeBrun of The Athletic that things are still extremely quiet, implying that the deadline might not be very busy for Anaheim.
As LeBrun writes, the Ducks do not hold many pure rental players–that is those who will be unrestricted free agents at the end of the season. Instead, most of their biggest trade chips have some term left, meaning they could be dealt in the offseason instead when the market is a bit more flexible. Once again, LeBrun suggests Rickard Rakell as the best “hockey deal” the Ducks could make, with Murray agreeing that the veteran winger would be more appealing to contenders now than in the summer, giving them two playoff runs.
- It’s not just in Anaheim that things are quiet. As Dan Rosen of NHL.com writes, many teams around the league still haven’t determined the best way to attack a deadline that is clouded by the shadow of quarantine protocols and a flat salary cap. Rosen writes that the cost for the top rentals—of which he suggests Taylor Hall, Eric Staal, Kyle Palmieri and even Ryan Getzlaf are among—is expected to be high. Names like Mattias Ekholm and Filip Forsberg with term attached will cost even more. This seems to go against the prevailing thought process that supply may be higher than demand at this year’s deadline given how few teams can take on cap or salary. Perhaps even then the allure of a Stanley Cup run will drive prices up, allowing the bottom teams to cash in on a few assets with their feet already out of the door.
- Terrible news for top 2021 draft pick Luke Hughes, whose season is over after suffering a lower-body injury last week according to Corey Pronman of The Athletic. That means the star defenseman will miss the All-American Prospects Game and U18 World Championships in April, both events that are expected to have huge ramifications on draft boards this summer. Pronman does write that Hughes is expected to be back skating by the summer, which makes him a candidate for the U.S. World Junior camp.