Anaheim Ducks Interest in Kasperi Kapanen Raises Questions

ANAHEIM, CA - NOVEMBER 16: Jakob Silfverberg #33 of the Anaheim Ducks pushes Kasperi Kapanen #24 of the Toronto Maple Leafs (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)
ANAHEIM, CA - NOVEMBER 16: Jakob Silfverberg #33 of the Anaheim Ducks pushes Kasperi Kapanen #24 of the Toronto Maple Leafs (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images) /
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Anaheim Ducks
TORONTO, ON – FEBRUARY 7: Troy Terry #61 of the Anaheim Ducks (Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images) /

Are The Ducks Young Players & Draft Picks On The Trade Block?

The Anaheim Ducks, it seems, were not willing to pony up more than Pittsburgh’s 15th overall draft selection, a recently selected in the 2nd round prospect, for Kapanen. While some other parts were moved, it seems unlikely that they will be extended by the Leafs, and were likely included as part of the overall salary reduction part of the trade equation. We fans should be grateful, Murray didn’t try to trump the Penguins in order to get this trade over the line.

However, as one of the six other teams that Lebrun suggested had spoken to Toronto about Kapanen, one wonders what the Ducks were willing to pay?

Knowing that Toronto wanted to cut salary and to hopefully acquire a first-round draft selection, was the draft pick acquired from the Boston Bruins on the table? It would seem like something that Toronto could have pressed them to give up. Given Hallander was part of the deal, did Toronto want a player of Brayden Tracey’s ilk to be included in the deal?

While it seems popular to imagine that the Ducks would be shopping Josh Manson, who seems like a player Toronto could use, it seems unlikely that he fits what the Leafs were looking for in this particular trade. It also fails to take into account how much the Ducks themselves want to keep Manson.

This isn’t to say that the question about the Ducks first-rounders and/or Tracey was asked, and the Ducks flatly refused them. It is entirely possible. It is also entirely possible that the Ducks were willing to give up the Boston selection, and it came down to Pittsburgh throwing in a better mix of assets that ultimately prevented the Ducks from making this trade.

For many rebuilding teams, this should really be a question. Recent rebuilding teams, such as the New York Rangers, have been quite vocal and transparent that they were in the midst of a rebuild. By saying that, fans knew they could expect their team to attempt to accrue draft assets or young players.

The Anaheim Ducks, however, have not been as transparent. While they’ve acquired a first-round draft selection and a number of younger players such as Sonny Milano, they’ve done so by trading away other young players such as Ondrej Kase. They’ve not moved any of their elder players, and have over the past two seasons, extended the older group for multi-year deals.

With the playing group largely within spitting distance of their “prime” scoring years, the Ducks current lineup is of a team that expects to be a contender. Thus, because the Anaheim Ducks direction is uncertain, the price the Ducks were willing to pay to acquire Kapanen is uncertain.

Have the Anaheim Ducks given up on some of their younger players?

Intrinsically one would think no, however, Terry was demoted to the AHL at the end of last season. It would have to be assumed that the acquisition of another player on the right-wing would only make it harder for him to claw his way back into the team. Something would have to give and with Milano being a recent acquisition and Jakob Silfverberg signed long term, Terry becomes the obvious choice to move.

In some way’s this kind of lateral move in reminiscent of the Bobby Ryan trade. Not necessarily in magnitude, but with regards to the return. At the time, the Ducks had Corey Perry, Teemu Selanne, Kyle Palmieri, Emerson Etem and Devante Smith-Pelley all in the fold. Ryan had been moved from his natural RW to play the left side. The Ducks had an absolute need, at the time, for a second-line center and a top 4 defenceman.

In return, the Ducks marque piece was RW Jakob Silfverberg. A return that eventually necessitated the trade of Kyle Palmieri for a relatively low return, given the Ducks and the Devils expected him to start scoring goals in a big way.

In this Kapanen idea, the Anaheim Ducks would be creating a log jam on the right side, likely requiring a future trade to amend the issue. The added wrinkle is that Kapanen would be yet another forward the Ducks would be required to protect in next summers expansion draft, which could have meant the true cost of the trade would have been X, Y, Z today, as well as whatever Seattle would choose to select later.