Are the Anaheim Ducks still Attempting to Play at Being a Contender?
The question remains as to whether this is a team the Anaheim Ducks expect to contend for the Stanely Cup with. With their cap space nearly non-existent they have very little room to acquire potential acquisitions such as unrestricted free agents Alex Pietrangelo or Taylor Hall. At least not unless a big trade is swung.
What is somewhat comforting then, at least from the fiscal perspective, is that the Ducks roster is more or less set for next season. They have 21 of their allotted 23 man roster spots filled (only two other teams have more players signed, St Louis and Columbus, respectively), and 41 of their 50 contract limit being used (equal most contracts held in the league, with Chicago).
Where the Ducks may need to create some cap room however is between the pipes. Ryan Miller, the backup netminder of the past few years is presently unsigned, leaving only John Gibson on the roster with his salary counting towards the cap ceiling.
With the Anaheim Ducks having space somewhere in the region of ~$500k ($470k – $545k, depending on the website sourced), they will be hard-pressed to fit another netminder onto the team without making changes.
Anthony Stolarz is the cheapest of the netminders the Ducks currently have in the system, as the entry-level contracts were given to Lukas Dostal, Olle Eriksson-Ek, and Roman Durny all exceed his ~$750k salary. Yet, even he will require some cap management to be slid into the team as the season commences. Miller’s ~$2 million, should he sign at the same price, is a pipe dream at present.
This potential money squeeze will inevitably open up as Ryan Kesler’s LTIR contract comes into effect. However, that will only provide room as the season goes on and will not help them on opening night. Thus, the Ducks may be required to make some moves to become compliant.