Summer is what former Kings GM Dave Taylor called hockey’s financial season. We agree. With money and contracts in mind, we take a look at our Ducks following the Bobby Ryan trade.
Conventional wisdom dictated that if our Ducks were to move Ryan it would be for a 2nd line center, not cap room. If we have come to expect anything from Bob Murray it’s that he is unconventional. In his post trade interview, Murph said “Anytime you can upgrade and make your hockey team better and stronger and deeper, you try to do it….”
Ducks are definitely deeper but the better and stronger parts remain to be seen. Murph didn’t mention team speed but we’re definitely faster regardless of who replaces Ryan.
In the hours following the Ryan trade, Saku Koivu re-upped for one year at $2.5m about a million less than his previous stipend. Obviously, he left money on the table. Today, Ducks announced RFA Matt Beleskey has inked a 2 yr commitment reportedly to be for $2.7m.
Kyle Palmieri and Teemu Selanne remain unsigned as of this writing. Murph did say he expects to chat with Teemu sometime next week
Per CapGeek, Ducks have 22 players signed with $7.84m in cap space. Palmieri and Selanne will likely cost in the $4.5 -5m range, leaving nearly $3m in the cap float. This represents some hard-earned flexibility going forward.
Coach Bruce Boudreau sets his forward lines identically to how previous coach Randy Carlyle did. Gabby sets two guys together and rotates a third in and out, up and down the depth chart. At the moment, he has exactly two sets of two forwards, Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry; Saku Koivu and Daniel Winnick. Everything else is to be determined at camp.
Nick Bonino, Peter Holland and Rickard Rakell resume their competition for the two open center spots. This year they could be pushed by Antoine Laganiere and William Karlsson.
At LW, Emerson Etem, Matt Beleskey and newcomer Jakub Silfverberg will each get an opportunity to make The Twins twosome a go to threesome. Patrik Maroon will also get a look. The Twins enjoyed Devante Smith-Pelly and gave him lots of encouragement two seasons ago. DSP shouldn’t be ruled out of the mix but he is a long shot to break into the top six at this point. Max Friberg will be looking to make an impression.
Kyle Palmieri is currently RFA and will certainly compete for the top spot if and when signed.
On RW Corey Perry is a lock on the top line. Pencil in Andrew Cogliano to remain alongside Koivu/Winnick on the checking line. This leaves two spots open. Emerson Etem and Matt Beleskey can play either wing giving Coach options. Devante Smith-Pelly and Brad Staubitz will be looking to earn some TOI. Newcomer Stefan Noesen is eager to move up and could but he’ll probably start the year in Norfolk.
On the back line Ducks will enter camp with a top 7 vying for spots. Write in Francois Beauchemin and Cam Fowler as next season’s TOI leaders. Ben Lovejoy earned a spot among the top 4. Sheldon Souray will keep his role on the PP but could see reduced TOI in ES situations as the season drags on. Bryan Allen, Luca Sbisa and Sami Vatanen will compete for #5-6 spots. Hampus Lindholm could make that decision very difficult.
Ducks are loaded between the pipes with Jonas Hiller and Viktor Fasth. Rookies Frederik Andersen , John Gibson and Igor Bobkov will likely compete for spots in Norfolk.
One of Hiller, Fasth or Andersen. Andrew Cogliano, Luca Sbisa.
1 top six center, 1 top four D-man
Unless a great trade opportunity is presented look for our Ducks to open camp with the current roster. Those who fretted our team had become top heavy are probably having a cow since the Ryan trade was announced.
This team will be in serious trouble if Ryan Getzlaf doesn’t dominate from puck drop in October. A slow start will be a disaster not only on the ice but also reflected in the revenue streams occurring at the gate, on television and in merchandise sales.
Ducks fans can and should expect more from Corey Perry and Cam Fowler in the stat department. Emerson Etem and Kyle Palmieri look ready to produce 20+ goal seasons. Andrew Cogliano, Saku Koivu, Jakub Silfverberg and Matt Beleskey, Nick Bonino and Peter Holland must provide consistent secondary scoring.
Any additional scoring we get from the blueline and the depth forwards is a bonus.
The goaltending is strong and can overcome defensive lapses and give the team a chance to win most every night. Each of Jonas Hiller and Viktor Fasth has shown the ability to steal a game our guys really didn’t deserve to win.
Overall it’s way too soon to make a projection or prediction.