While Ryan Strome and Frank Vatrano may take most of the headlines, the Anaheim Ducks have signed a number of other free agents for organizational depth. The team has announced contracts for Chase De Leo (two years, two-way), Glenn Gawdin (two years, one-way in 2023-24), Justin Kirkland (one year, two-way), Austin Strand (one year, two-way), and Colton White (two years, two-way).
Ducks fans will remember De Leo, who played several seasons in their minor league system and even appeared in three NHL games a few years ago. The 26-year-old forward stands just 5’9″ but is an excellent AHL scorer, who put up 56 points in 55 games for the Utica Comets this year.
Kirkland meanwhile broke out in the minors this year, scoring 25 goals to nearly double his career total. The 25-year-old was the 62nd overall pick in 2014 but never has made it to the NHL, instead spending his entire career with the Milwaukee Admirals and Stockton Heat to this point.
Strand, 25, played eight games with the Los Angeles Kings this year, lending his huge frame to the defensive end of the rink. The 6’3″ undrafted defenseman became a Group VI unrestricted free agent this summer because he has only played in 21 games so far but offers a potential injury replacement for the Ducks if needed.
White is the same, as he actually played in 27 games for the Devils this season but still didn’t reach the Group VI cutoff. A fourth-round pick in 2015, he has just 38 games to his name and is likely headed back to the minor leagues.
As we profiled yesterday, Gawdin is perhaps the most interesting of the bunch, given his strong play in the minor leagues, ability to play center, and partial one-way contract. The 25-year-old might get a look with the Ducks at some point in the bottom six, something he rarely was given in Calgary.