The 2018 Anaheim Ducks / Pucks of a Feather General Manager Challenge

LAS VEGAS, NV - DECEMBER 05: John Gibson
LAS VEGAS, NV - DECEMBER 05: John Gibson /

Our staff takes the next step in our quests to be Anaheim Ducks GM. In this series, each participant will put together the best Ducks roster they can for next season (and beyond). Today is Ed Stein’s turn.

A few weeks ago the staff answered some questions about what we would do if we were Anaheim Ducks General Manager Bob Murray. We all had fun with it. What I realized is that although our contributors agree on many things; we also, like everyone else, have some very different ideas on how to make this team a winner.

Ground Rules

So the Anaheim Ducks GM challenge was born. Just like fantasy hockey, we see which one of us does it the best. Those who take the challenge are required to put together a realistic full roster. They must stay within the parameters of both the salary cap and the Anaheim Ducks internal cap, which is in the neighborhood of about five million less.

Would be GMs are allowed to make trades, re-sign restricted free agents (RFA), sign unrestricted free agents (UFA), and buyout contracts (with cap consequences). We agreed in advance to a salary cap total.

The NHL expects the cap to be around $82M in 2018-19, so we went with $81.5M. Additionally, we agreed how much RFAs get paid on their next contract. The results were Ondrej Kase (bridge deal), Andy Welinski, Kevin Roy get $1M, Nick Ritchie, $1.2M, and Brandon Montour (bridge) $1.5M as salaries for next season. The only player with leverage is Nick Ritchie but he had a poor year.

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Ready Player One

Obviously, I had to make some transactions. Among the RFAs, only Ritchie didn’t get a new contract. The reason, I didn’t resign him was because he and Adam Henrique were sent to Detroit for left wing Tyler Bertuzzi and defenseman Nick Jensen. Bertuzzi, also an RFA, will play for $1.75M in 2018-19. The other trade I made was to send Jakob Silfverberg to Dallas for up and coming defenseman Esa Lindell.

The place I wanted to make a huge splash was free agency. That’s why Silfverberg and Henrique had to go. I needed their combined $7.75M. It was also the reason why I told Ryan Kesler to take all the time he needs (hopefully next season) for his hip to recover. RK17 will be put on long-term injured reserve next season. His $6.875M goes back to the pool. For the record I expect Patrick Eaves to return (another reason Silfverberg was expendable) at close to 100%.

With my newfound windfall, I was ready to take out the checkbook. I went hard after the crown jewel of this free agent class. John Tavares got a six-year, $73.5M contract. His annual cap hit will be $12.5M. After locking up JT, I was able to convince “Jumbo” Joe Thornton that we had a great shot at a cup if he could anchor the third line. He accepted a one year, $5M offer. Finally, for some depth, I brought back J.T. Brown for $900K on a one year deal to be the 13th forward.


XFJT Brown$0.90
Tot Cap$81.50
Cap Used$76.16
Cap Remaining$5.34


First of all the goalie situation remains the same with John Gibson the main man and Ryan Miller as the backup. Next, the defense is almost the same unit as last year, except for Lindell., The newcomer plays on the third pairing with Marcus Pettersson and also gets some minutes on the power play. Nick Jensen takes over for Korbinian Holzer as the seventh defenseman. Up front is where the big changes are.

Taveras is the obvious selection to anchor the top line. He’ll have the dangerous Rickard Rakell on his left and with defenses focused on those two, a resurgent Corey Perry on the right succeeds. Captain Ryan Getzlaf will slide down to line two and mentor young wings Bertuzzi (left) and Ondrej Kase (right). Line three can do a little of everything. Andrew Cogliano resumes his duties on the left side but this time around he has Thornton and Eaves with him.

Finally, the fourth line will be the young guys. Anaheim needs to add some freshness (ie speed) which last year’s squad lacked. We now have three veteran leaders down the middle, Taveras, Getzlaf, and Thornton. Sam Steel will learn more by hanging with those quality pivots than he ever could in the minors. To complete his trio, lightning fast Kevin Roy will play on his right and rookie Troy Terry will be to his left. In case of injuries to a top-nine player, any of these players are talented enough to step up. J.T. Brown will be the extra forward.


Next: Did the Ducks made the right call on Shea Theodore?

This team has what it takes to win, starting with the goalies, who need no adjustments. Last year’s defense struggled at times due to key injuries, but when healthy was a very good unit. They will get better with more experience. The forward corps is massively upgraded. A franchise player comes in to lead the team into the next decade.