At last season’s trade deadline, Anaheim Ducks general manager Pat Verbeek decided to sell, and sell hard. Hampus Lindholm, Josh Manson, and Rickard Rakell all went out the door, changing the makeup of the dressing room considerably. Those three had been with the team for years and made up a good part of their core.
Now, less than a year into Verbeek’s tenure, the club is flailing at the bottom of the NHL standings and appears to be poised for another selling season. The Ducks are dead last in the league with a -30 goal differential and have just five wins through 18 games.
On the latest 32 Thoughts podcast for Sportsnet, Elliotte Friedman discusses the Ducks and suggests that they are already talking to a number of teams about potential trades.
I’m sure we’re going to start hearing a lot of things out of the Ducks. Like I said, I heard they have a lot of people out looking to see what’s out there.
One of those connections is Toronto Maple Leafs and Frank Vatrano, though Friedman pours some cold water on that scenario because of the cap hit involved – Vatrano is signed through the 2024-25 season with a $3.65MM hit.
There are plenty of other names on the Ducks roster that could be of interest to teams though. John Klingberg, Kevin Shattenkirk, Dmitry Kulikov, Derek Grant, Nathan Beaulieu, and Anthony Stolarz are all pending unrestricted free agents, while younger names like Max Comtois and Simon Benoit are set to reach RFA status. Adam Henrique and Jakob Silfverberg have a year remaining after this one before they hit the open market, though they may need to see some salary retention to be moved this season.
One thing to remember when it comes to the Ducks is that the team has all three salary retention slots available, meaning they could be involved in some creative trades over the next few months. The team already has six selections in the top three rounds for the upcoming draft, and will likely be in contention for the first-overall pick.
With some young talent already in place, the idea of a fast-tracked rebuild has to be running through the mind of Verbeek and his staff. He’ll certainly be a popular number as we move through the year.