Elliotte Friedman reported today on his 32 Thoughts podcast that the Anaheim Ducks and Trevor Zegras have made some small progress on a new contract between the two sides. He goes on to say that he doesn’t believe a contract is nearing completion, but he has the impression that they are taking steps in the right direction.
Zegras, a native of Bedford, New York, is coming off a season in which he posted 23 goals and 42 assists in 81 games and has posted back-to-back seasons of more than 60 points. Last year, however, his ability to drive play took a step back, and the defensive side of his game continued to leave a lot to be desired.
It appears the Ducks want to see more from the 22-year-old before offering a long-term deal, as they have agreed with Zegras on a three-year term, according to TSN’s Pierre LeBrun on Insider Trading. What that cap hit will look like remains to be seen, but there does appear to be progress based on Friedman’s reporting.
Friedman also dispelled a rumor that the Ducks were under investigation by the NHL for the handling of defenseman Jamie Drysdale’s shoulder injury last season that caused him to fall two games short of accruing a season of eligibility toward arbitration rights. Friedman poured cold water on that rumor saying that he investigated it, and it was untrue. He did, however, add that there were some questions about whether Drysdale could have been healthy enough to play those two games to get his service year, but Friedman believes that there is no ongoing investigation into the matter. Furthermore, Friedman says that he doesn’t feel as though anyone is accusing the Ducks of doing anything underhanded, but the question is about whether Drysdale could have played the two games he needed.
Friedman then said that because Drysdale is two years away from being arbitration-eligible, the Ducks hold the leverage in this contract negotiation, and they are using it. Drysdale has very few rights other than to hold out for a new contract, and the Ducks have been using every tool available to them to make the most team-friendly deal that they can.
The 20-year-old Drysdale was held pointless last season, dressing in just eight games for the team. The season prior, when he was healthy, Drysdale had a breakout campaign with four goals and 28 assists in 81 games.