The Anaheim Ducks Cap Situation
The Anaheim Ducks cap situation is somewhat flexible this season. Currently, they sit with a little wiggle room below the cap, projecting a $2.1 million in cap space. However, this ignores the ability to place Ryan Kesler and Patrick Eaves onto Long Term Injured Reserve. Doing this would allow them a $10.1 million-dollar buffer for the season. Plenty of room to take on a large contract.
This excess in cap space, however, somewhat disappears next season. Firstly and foremost, Corey Perry’s buyout recapture jumps from $2.65 million this season to $6.6 million next season. It will then drop in the following 2 seasons, but the Ducks need to be wary about who they make take on. Ryan Kesler, as well, cannot be counted next season. While he will likely never play again, his cap hold will be counted against the cap, as it is not automatically deducted when a player is placed upon LTIR. That is to say, on day 1 of the season, the Ducks will need to be cap compliant inclusive of Kesler’s contract.
The Ducks contract situation will also need to be resolved over the offseason unless they can acquire useful assets in trade now. Next season, they will have only 12 forwards, 4 defencemen, and 1 netminder, under contract. The restricted free agent list is unlikely to cause too many problems, as Devin Shore, Chase De Leo, Daniel Sprong, Jacob Larsson, and Troy Terry, are all unlikely to command large raises on their current contracts. If they are retained at all.
The unrestricted free agent list, too is unlikely to cause problems, however, who knows who will stay or who will go. Patrick Eaves is finished as a player so he will certainly come away. Nicolas Deslauriers could also walk if he’s given an offer elsewhere. Which leaves Korbinain Holzer, Michael Del Zotto, Derek Grant, and Ryan Miller. None of which are essential to the Anaheim Ducks fortunes, but all have been solid foot soldiers. They may need to be replaced and given the league minimum deals they’re currently on, may require raises.
Taken together, it doesn’t seem like an insurmountable task to organize the roster well enough to take on salary. This becomes far easier if the Anaheim Ducks do decide to go with a youth movement and play prospects and young players, instead of the pseudo-rebuild they attempted to do on the fly this current season. For interest’s sake, the Ducks forward group is presently the 3rd oldest in the NHL. Additionally, the Ducks have only played 11 skaters aged 24 and under since the season commenced.
This group of 11 does include Nick Ritchie and Ondrej Kase, who has been in the system for a few years already. Assuming the Anaheim Ducks were to take on prospects and young players instead of perhaps more highly prized draft picks, it would seem likely that they could flesh out a roster of youth and embark upon a rebuild with earnest.