Team Building with Limited Cap Space
The Anaheim Ducks are in a unique situation in which they are both older and more expensive than most teams in the league. They’re older than the 2019-2020 playoff teams and far more expensive than most of the rebuilding ones.
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This duality has created a situation in which creativity is required to build a Stanely Cup team. Compounding that situation is the flat cap situation created by the global Covid-19 pandemic.
At the best of times, team building requires the ability to create and take advantage of options. In many ways, creating cap space creates those options, in much the same way that financial independence creates a sense of freedom for the individual. By nature of the Ducks decision making up until now, that ability to create options has been mitigated and thus the team is largely how it will be for a large portion of the coming season.
With Ryan Kesler on LTIR this season, cap space will open up on a pro-rata basis and trade can be made. Additionally, David Backes will come off the books, and Corey Perry’s buyout recapture cost will decrease by ~$4.5 million dollars. In fact, at present, the Anaheim Ducks are looking like having ~$29 million dollars in cap space after the completion of next season, including Ryan Kesler’s contract which will likely still be on LTIR.
However, that is for next season. This current season looks to be a lost season before it begins. A weak team on paper with little excitement coming from the prospect pool into the main team. Trevor Zegras, Brayden Tracey, and perhaps even Benoit-Oliver Groulx, will make their debuts for the AHL team, but that won’t likely impact the Anaheim Ducks a great deal.
Perhaps as teams positions solidify and the Ducks are able to access the cap space from Kesler’s LTIR contract, we may see some movement. However, taken together this will very likely not be the Ducks year to win. Or to rebuild. And it all comes back to the money.
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