The Anaheim Ducks have avoided arbitration with restricted free agent Isac Lundestrom, reaching a two-year agreement worth a total of $3.6MM. Lundestrom was scheduled for the first arbitration hearing of the summer on Wednesday and would have had to file salary figures later today. That hearing will no longer be required.
While everyone was watching Trevor Zegras, Troy Terry, and Jamie Drysdale in Anaheim this year, Lundestrom quietly had a strong season in his own right. He actually ranked fourth on the team in goals with 16 despite tough defensive deployment and showed he could be a real difference-maker on the penalty kill. His four short-handed tallies trailed only Alex Formenton and Trevor Moore (who both had five) for the league lead, and his other 12 goals all came at even-strength.
In more than 1,000 even-strength minutes, Lundestrom was on the ice for only 43 goals against despite starting just 135 of his nearly 1,500 shifts in the offensive zone. With Ryan Strome joining the team in free agency, it appears as though the 22-year-old will stay in that defensive role, for the time being, giving the Ducks a rather deep group down the middle.
At a $1.8MM cap hit, there is a real opportunity for some surplus value in this case too, especially if his knack for goal scoring continues. It also gives the team a chance to sign him to a longer deal down the road, as he’ll still be a restricted free agent at its expiry.
The Ducks don’t have many long-term commitments at this point, with only Strome, Cam Fowler, Frank Vatrano, and John Gibson signed to one-way contracts through 2024-25. With Zegras, Terry, and Drysdale now eligible for extensions, that could be changing soon. Getting Lundestrom locked in at a relatively low price will give the team a little more understanding of how much they have to work with next season.
Elliotte Friedman of Sportsnet broke the news on Twitter.