The Anaheim Ducks aren’t opposed to trading star forward Rickard Rakell, but at their current asking price they might not find any takers. The 27-year-old winger, who has another year on his contract at a $3.8MM AAV, is undoubtedly worth a nice return. Rakell has recorded 19 points through 30 games so far this season, scoring at the same 50+ point pace as he has the past two years amidst some difficult seasons for Anaheim, and has also shown the potential for far more production when the Ducks were in better shape. With more talent around him, the slick, two-way forward could be a highly valuable piece for a contender. However, The Athletic’s Pierre LeBrun reports that the current ask by the Ducks is a young, experienced NHL player and a first-round pick. Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman notes that the Calgary Flames inquired on Rakell, but balked at that price. He believes that it may be too rich for the Toronto Maple Leafs’ blood as well. In what is expected to be a buyer’s market, the Ducks may need to lower their ask if they are intent on moving Rakell. However, with another year on his contract and plenty of value left to contribute to Anaheim, the Ducks do not have to make a move if they want to hold out for a more suitable offer.
- The Buffalo Sabres made a major move today, firing head coach Ralph Krueger and beginning the search for a permanent replacement. However, their next personnel addition may be in the front office rather than behind the bench. GM Kevyn Adams told the media today that he is also searching for an Assistant GM. Friedman reports that one name previously linked to the vacancy is former Pittsburgh AGM Jason Karmanos. In fact, the Sabres have received permission from the Penguins to speak to Karmanos, who was fired this off-season with term remaining on his contract. Karmanos, who was once highly touted as a possible future GM himself, has close ties with Adams and is the likely frontrunner to join the front office.
- A number of top developmental programs have decided to finally join together in an official capacity. Friedman notes in his latest “31 Thoughts” that many of the prep schools most familiar to hockey fans have come together and formed the Prep Hockey Conference, which will play in its inaugural season next year. They include Culver Academy (Indiana), Mount St. Charles (Rhode Island), Northwood (New York), Shattuck-St. Mary’s (Minnesota), South Kent School (Connecticut), and St. Andrew’s College (Ontario), a group that has contributed to the development of countless NHL stars. The school have long scheduled games against one each other and participated in tournaments together, but now will legitimize their partnership with the formation of the conference. While the geographical differences will force the league to be split into East and West divisions, all the teams will get together at least once during the regular season and will participate in a single-location postseason. The Prep Hockey Conference will immediately rival the New England Prep School Athletic Conference (NEPSAC) and the Minnesota public high school ranks as the top non-junior leagues in all of development hockey.