A Trade-Up Scenario
While the premise of the article is that the Anaheim Ducks could trade down to accrue more assets, it would be remise to imagine they couldn’t also attempt to move up. While it may seem counterintuitive at first, the Los Angeles Kings may actually make for a very good trade partner.
The Kings rebuild is in full swing and may possibly be closer to completion that most Ducks fans would care to imagine. They have a stable of young forwards coming up, including Alex Turcotte, Tyler Madden, Sam Fagemo, Arthur Kaliyev, Gabe Vilardi, Carl Grundstrom, Akil Thomas, and Rasmus Kupari.
Enough forward talent at least, for them to be ranked the #1 prospect system in the league. This would likely only grow with the selection of Quinton Byfield or Tim Stutzle with the #2 overall selection in this coming draft.
Yet, after the forward talent, there isn’t a great deal coming up. Tobias Bjornfot, looks to be a very steady defenceman, and the closest thing the Kings have to a blue-chip prospect on the blue line. However, he looks to be a steadying presence and not an out and out star. Sean Durzi and Cale Klague are on the prospect list, but neither is projected as dominant blueliners.
In net, the Kings have found Cal Petersen this past season, yet at 25 years of age, are they certain he’s the answer going forward? Certainly, they will take the chance and hope he continues to play well, but I’m sure they would like at least one further option in that position.
Which is where the Ducks can come in. At the #6 selection, it would appear almost certain that Drysdale or Sanderson will be available. Either would add a player in a position that the Kings are relatively weak in going forward, and neither is a player the Kings could really select with the #2 pick. Yet, it is a pick they probably need to make. Of course, no one trades down on a whim, and in this instance, the Kings should be able to demand compensation.
Lukas Dostal, the Ducks prized netminding prospect is part of that package. Following an outstanding season in Finland, his stock is on the rise, and being 5 years younger than Peterson he has room for growth. His contract will also likely fit in nicely with the King’s core group when they hit their second contracts.
The Anaheim Ducks would also likely have to give up the Boston pick. While Dostal is a prize, he isn’t one of the top 10 goaltending prospects, and thus would be unlikely to command such a move to the #2 selection. Thus the Kings would be able to secure a blue-chip defensive prospect, an extremely good goaltending prospect, and given the Kings talent in selecting in the second round of late (Thomas and Kaliyev), the Boston pick is sure to net them talent there as well. They simply become a more rounded team.
The Ducks, of course, get the chance to select a unicorn. Byfield is a player with the potential that the Ducks haven’t had since Bobby Ryan was drafted. A clear cut top 6 option, and a good chance to be a Malkin-esque top liner is an opportunity the Ducks shouldn’t fail to capitalize on.
Certainly, losing Dostal could hurt, however, John Gibson is set to man the crease for the foreseeable future. The Ducks also have Olle Eriksson-Ek and Roman Durny in the pipeline, though it should be said that neither has the results that Dostal has. Nonetheless, a 1-2 punch of Byfield and Trevor Zegras should be enough for most fans to quickly forget about anything they may have to give up to make the trade happen.