Anaheim Ducks Fan Mailbag: 10/27/2014 – 11/02/2014

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Oct 19, 2014; Anaheim, CA, USA; Anaheim Ducks defenseman Sami Vatanen shoots and scores a goal against the St. Louis Blues in the first period during the game at Honda Center. Mandatory Credit: Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports

1. I’ve heard some crazy rumors of Sami Vatanen, Kyle Palmieri, and another unnamed player available for trade for another defenseman. With Lovejoy out, I’m worried. Bob Murray wouldn’t trade Vatanen, would he?

– Rick

Jason: I still believe the Ducks could be in the market for a defenseman, but Sami Vatanen won’t be going anywhere. The front office rewarded Vatanen with a bridge deal in the offseason, and he’s been spectacular to start. He has three goals and seven points, all on the power-play, which is much improved with him quarterbacking the first unit. His speed, skating, hockey IQ, and puck skills are so dynamic, and outside of Cam Fowler, Anaheim doesn’t have a player with that skillset on the team. He blocks shots and plays big minutes on special teams. His recent promotion to the top pairing from the third pairing has had no ill effects either. Vatanen was a major factor in why the Ducks forced Game 7 against the Kings last postseason after starting the series 0-2.

Kyle Palmieri could be an interesting candidate for Bob Murray to deal. The Ducks currently have nine wingers competing for eight spots, and Palmieri will soon make it ten when he returns from his high ankle sprain. He has another year left on his contract after this one and would still be a restricted free agent under the collective bargaining agreement (though he would have arbitration rights). The Ducks’ group of wingers have been mostly impressive, so a package involving a couple of forwards could be made.

Despite Lovejoy’s injury, the defense has been solid without him. When he returns, Vatanen will probably move back down to the third pairing, but he has already proven that he can handle the tougher minutes. The team is better with Vatanen, and he shouldn’t be expected to go anywhere.