Is Tyler Myers a potential acquisition target for the Anaheim Ducks?

Anaheim Ducks, Tyler Myers (Mandatory Credit: Bob Frid-USA TODAY Sports)
Anaheim Ducks, Tyler Myers (Mandatory Credit: Bob Frid-USA TODAY Sports) /

It turns out that the Anaheim Ducks have a lot of money to spend this offseason. According to Puck Pedia, they’re currently sitting on ~$43,000,000 of contract dollars with a current roster of 15 players and 31 total contracts signed. This would leave the Ducks with ~39,000,000 in cap space if they decided they wanted to go all in and buy their way to a cup.

However, the cap floor is $61,000,000 and there is a long way to go for that. It is worth noting that these figures are different from those projected by, but the basis is the same. The Ducks don’t have many expensive hockey players on their books and thus, their overall expenses are quite low.

In truth this lack of long-term expenditure was, or at least it should have been, one of the draw cards in the Duck’s search for a General Manager not so long ago. With a highly rated prospect pool, the bulk of the on-ice talent being under 25 years old, and all their draft picks plus some extra’s, the Ducks are currently a canvas for a creative mind to paint. What that means, however, may be different for different people.

The Anaheim Ducks need younger players for a better future

In some respects, the new General Manager, Pat Verbeek, flagged his intentions at the trade deadline when he pursued and sort-of, almost, made a trade for the Vegas Knights Evgenii Dadonov. The 33-year-old forward was a ~$5,000,000 cap hit for one year and taking him from the Vegas team would have netted them some draft collateral.

In other words, this type of trade would provide some forward support to the younger players up front until they hit their strides, alleviate the Duck’s cap-floor concerns for this coming season, and give them some more bullets to fire in future drafts.

While many fans have hypothesized that the Ducks will use their excess of second-round draft picks over the next two seasons to acquire players in the same manner that the Colorado Avalanche acquired Devon Toews, I think it’s more likely that the Ducks will continue to pursue trades like the failed Dadonov parlay.

I say this for two reasons: 1) Verbeek and the Ducks have already flagged their intentions to make these types of deals and it seems out of character to back away from that train of thought so shortly after considering it, and 2) Pat Verbeek was poached from one of the few teams in the NHL with a stronger prospect pool than the Ducks.

It seems at face value that developing a strong baseline for success is a key ingredient for the Duck’s new General Manager, and indeed he has alluded to creating a team that may sustain “long-term success” on multiple occasions.

No doubt there are several players who fit the profile of being a playoff team’s cap dump. Some teams like the Toronto Maple Leafs have numerous young and expensive talents they could consider moving away.

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Mitch Marner and William Nylander have seemingly been the targets of media trade speculation since they made the team, and it is very plausible that this is the season that a shake-up of the Leafs is undertaken. With speculation that Jack Campbell will leave, rumours that they would enquire about John Gibson are seemingly everywhere.

I’m not sure why they wouldn’t be able to pay Campbell less than the $6,800,000 that Gibson will make, but perhaps the idea is that the Ducks will retain 50% of his salary. Nonetheless, it’s a plausible outcome to swap Gibson for Nylander as the main pieces in a larger deal.

However, a deal closer to the Dadonov trade prior to its reversal may be one with the Vancouver Canucks. They are a team starved for success and are more or less on the bubble, depending on how strongly you believe in Bruce Boudreau’s coaching chops. Like the Ducks, much of their talent is on the younger side, with key players like Quinn Hughes and Elias Pettersson both under 23 years old.

However, the difference between the teams lies with the Canucks pushing their playoff hopes forward over the next two seasons, while the Ducks appear to be content developing slowly and hitting their straps when the current super teams like the Avalanche are fading away. This provides an avenue to make a deal, as small as that avenue may be between divisional rivals.

For the Canucks to make a play for a stronger post-season effort, they’ll need to acquire a little bit more talent. It’s not a condemnation of what they have entirely, but there is little doubt that comparing the Canucks roster to the Avalanche’s that one team comes away somewhat underwhelming. To bring in that talent, whether, via trade or free agency, they’ll want to have money to spend.

The rumours are that they would like to move Oliver Ekman-Larsson and the remaining 4-years of his $7,260,000 annual average salary, but realistically that is going to be a stretch. The 32-year-old Tyler Myers with $12,000,000 over the next two seasons, however, is much more palatable. Two seasons is slightly longer than the Ducks would have taken on with Dadonov, however, it isn’t impossible for them to absorb the deal this year and make moves next season when the time comes.

Expect to see the Anaheim Ducks make interesting moves in offseason

The likelihood is that the Ducks will still be rebuilding next season as well, however, if they wanted to make a push, they could retain salary and attempt to shift Myers then. Alternatively, a buyout wouldn’t overly hurt them given their cheap young talent.

Whether this deal is a good one for the Ducks will depend a lot on what they would be giving up and what else they might get back in return for helping a division rival. It is worth noting right here that Pat Verbeek has flagged wanting to add some size on the blue line, and while Myers is not a physical player, he has a tremendous reach on his 6’8 frame. It may be close enough to what he’s looking for, while players like Drew Helleson and Henry Thrun develop under the soon-to-be-new coaching staff in San Diego.

That aside, there is the possibility that Myers wouldn’t be as bad as some would imagine at face value. Yes, his overall results can just under break even (49.1 CF%, 49.4 xGF%, 48.9 SCF%), however when paired with Quinn Hughes his numbers were significantly stronger (57 CF%, 62.5 xGF%, 53.2 SCF%). Certainly, Hughes turned it on this past season and played like the player everyone has expected him to be and it’s always easier to look good next to good players.

Ducks don’t necessarily have that partner for Myers, however, it’s arguable that Jamie Drysdale plays a somewhat similar game to Hughes, even if he isn’t quite there yet. This might suggest some upside to the trade for the Ducks in terms of on-ice results should they go this route. It’s not a lot to hang your hat on, but for a trade that would be ultimately made to accrue draft capital and alleviate cap concerns, it’s probably enough.

So, what would likely be the trade for Tyler Myers? For $6,000,000 one would imagine something in the range of a second- or third-round draft pick. Given, that his contract will go on for over two seasons, two draft picks could be forthcoming. The Canucks don’t have a second-round pick this coming draft but do have all their picks in the 2023 and 2024 Entry Drafts. If the Ducks don’t mind waiting, accruing picks in these drafts could be more beneficial to them.

The 2023 draft because it’s projecting to be a strong draft and more picks will be better, and the 2024 draft, because that may just be the time frame that using picks to acquire good players might kick their rebuild into a playoff push. As far as what the Ducks might be required to give up on their end, if the rate is two second-round picks, then perhaps the Ducks could give up two fourth-round picks (2022 and 2023 Drafts).

This would essentially be the Ducks moving up two rounds in the respective drafts, for taking on $12,000,000 over two seasons. It’s not a sexy return, but it’s not a bad one. The Canucks get some salary-cap freedom and keep their first-round picks to make big trades with, and the Ducks add draft collateral and fix an issue that may become problematic.

Next. Three musts on offseason checklist of the Ducks. dark

I wouldn’t necessarily suggest that the Canucks dumping Myers on the Ducks and moving back a couple of rounds in the draft is necessarily a slam dunk trade that will happen. However, I do think it provides a framework that could work for both teams right now. It isn’t a sexy trade that really gives either team an advantage, though it does take away some disadvantages for both. That just might be enough to get a deal done.