Anaheim Ducks: Trading Down from the 6th Overall Pick is a Viable Option

Bob Murray of the Anaheim Ducks (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Bob Murray of the Anaheim Ducks (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images) /
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Anaheim Ducks, Bob Murray
Bob Murray of the Anaheim Ducks (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images) /

Would trading down from the 6th overall selection in the 2020 NHL Draft be a viable option for the Anaheim Ducks?

It has been a while since the first phase of the NHL’s draft process was completed. While the 1st overall selection is still up in the air, the Anaheim Ducks appear set to have locked in the 6th overall selection, which was their most probable outcome based on the odds.

Like most of the teams that were competing for the lottery, the Ducks have weaknesses all over their roster and no clear strengths that would push them away from selecting any particular player based on position.

Over the past two-combined seasons, the Ducks have a 2.47 goals per game offense, which is good for 30th overall. In the same breath, they have given up 3.09 goals per game, ranking them 20th overall in that category.

Special teams are also a mess, with the 27th ranked power-play, and 25th ranked penalty kill. Thus, the need to draft talent at every position has created some debate about who or even what, the Anaheim Ducks are in need of the most.

At present, a number of mock drafts have the Ducks selecting Jamie Drysdale with the 6th overall selection. In a lot of ways, this selection would be a good fit for the Ducks’ previous history. Consider the following:

  1. Bob Murray is an old school type of team builder who likes to build from the back end out.  We saw this method put in place when he drafted defencemen with his top picks year after year. Twelve of the Anaheim Ducks 30 selections, in the first 3 rounds between 2008 and 2015 were defencemen. Taking into account that a further 4 of these selections were netminders, that then left less than 50% of the Ducks draft selections to be used upon forwards, a position that has the most roster spots to fill.
  2. The Anaheim Ducks have moved away from drafting defencemen in the past few years and despite having traded for multiple defensive prospects, still have a clear weakness throughout the prospect pipeline at this position. Specifically, only 2 of 13 selections in the first 3 rounds have been defencemen since the Ducks selected Josh Mahura in 2016 (3rd round).

Taken together, this would suggest that the Ducks are ripe for selecting a defenceman. It could be assumed that the forwards they’ve selected in the past 4 drafts are still developing and should come on in due time.

Certainly, the Anaheim Ducks faithful will still hold a lot of hope that Max Jones, Sam Steel, and Max Comtois will develop into high-end point producers, as they acclimatize to the NHL. Last year’s 1st round picks (Trevor Zegras and Brayden Tracey) are perhaps a little early to be relied upon in the NHL but have huge expectations upon them already.

With that said, the forward talent the Ducks do hold, lean more heavily towards the playmaking side of the ledger than pure goal-scorer. Tracey and Comtois seem to be relatively well rounded, and the hope will be that they can score prolifically in the NHL, yet it can be said that neither is a high volume shooter or a prolific goal-scoring threat that will challenge for the goal-scoring title each year. The Ducks could sorely use a player who has that kind of upside.

Sitting at the 6th draft selection has the Ducks somewhat at the mercy of the teams selecting ahead of them. For the most part, it can be assumed that Alexis Lafreniere, Quinton Byfield, and Tim Stutzle, will be off the board in some order before the Ducks get to the (virtual?) podium to make their selection.

There are some rumors that the Red Wings like Cole Perfetti (they should know him well since he was based not far from their home all season), and given they selected Moritz Seider in last years draft, it seems there could be some legs to them taking a forward at the very least.

That then leaves Ottawa. If they take the playmaking Stutzle with their 3rd overall selection, do they then take a goal-scoring threat such as Alexander Holtz or Marco Rossi? Do they take a defensive player such as Jake Sanderson or Jamie Drysdale? In any of those events, the Ducks come out with a tough choice to make and very good odds to select an excellent player.

However, can the Anaheim Ducks do more than simply make that selection when their time is called? I would suggest that they can leverage their early selection and use it to add even more talent to their prospect pool. Specifically, I think they should explore trading down in the draft. Two teams the Ducks could explore making relatively easy trades with are the New Jersey Devils and the Minnesota Wild.