With a retool right around the corner, the Anaheim Ducks need to consider adding some pieces via trade or free agency.
Saying the Anaheim Ducks had significant struggles last season is an understatement. Be that as it may, General Manager Bob Murray was adamant the Ducks are not in need of a rebuild, but a retooling. After GMBM took over the reins as Head Coach, thus famously becoming GMHCBM, several promising rookies and previously missing-in-action veterans prompted skeptics to believe his assertion.
There’s little doubt several Ducks will be morphed into different creatures or acts of nature via trade, buy-out, waivers, etc. In addition, GMBM will be tasked with making several additions to the current roster in hopes of legitimizing Anaheim’s chances of contending during Ryan Getlzaf’s finals years as a number 1 center. The expectations is Free Agency will be quiet and any major additions will likely come through trade, but there is a slight possibility of adding a prized free agent.
In the past, Murray has been hesitant to utilize cap space afforded to the team for players on Long Term Injured Reserve. It is largely due to the salary cap ramifications it would create if/when the player returns from injury. With Ryan Kesler and Patrick Eaves careers likely over, a trip to the LTIR would free up some valuable cap space GMBM could utilize to add a high-end weapon to the roster.
One way or another, the roster needs to add high-end talent that’s ready to contribute. I analyze the best fit among players reportedly on the market via free agency or trade. Let the big-game hunting begin.
Artturi Lehkonen, LW Montreal – The Finnish native has a high-end skill set but has lacked the ability to capitalize on his scoring chances. Adding his speed to the bottom 6 would be a welcomed addition; however, his potential is likely a good 3rd line player. He is the most realistic option, but where’s the fun in that?
Brandon Saad, LW/RW Chicago – Another player that would add speed, but also has goal scoring ability. He has consistently been in the rumor mill, so Murray could look to add the player who burned the Anaheim Ducks in the 2014 Western Conference Finals.
Nolan Patrick, C Philadelphia – The former second overall draft pick was a surprising name sifting around the rumor mill last season. Failing to live up to his draft slot after two seasons, the talented center could be looking for a change of scenery.
Kris Letang, RD Pittsburgh – Murray wanted to add a right shot, physical defenseman with size, which he reportedly accomplished in signing Jani Hakanpaa. However, he also wanted to add a big shot he could utilize on the PP and there’s still a vacancy on the second line. Letang is reportedly available and has a championship pedigree, but he’s already 32 years old and fans would be groaning the addition of another player exiting his prime.
Brayden Schenn, C St Louis – Before the Blues climbed from the NHL cellar and became serious contenders, Schenn was a popular trade candidate. Although the scoring forward only has one more year on his contract, he would be a welcomed addition to the Anaheim Ducks roster and provide a formidable center duo with Getzlaf. However, it’s unlikely Murray will add a rental to a team he’s not sure will be true contenders, so any trade would require an extension to be in place and that’s unlikely to happen.