Over the summer, I made the argument that the Ducks should have done more to provide Selanne with a winner. My point was simple: the Ducks should make a move in order to give Selanne a better chance to do more than simply compete for a playoff spot. In the comments of the thread, the issue was raised that no single player was worth the future of the franchise. A recent article by Puck Daddy chief Greg Wyshynski claims the Ducks chances of making the playoffs are somewhere in the neighborhood of 3.8%. The Ducks have managed to come full circle, in a weird way. However, instead of us wondering if the future health of the organization is worth a single player, we are now wondering if the future health of the organization is worth a playoff run.With long odds of making the playoffs, one has to wonder if it is worth it to hold onto tradeable assets. The problem isn't points; it's teams. The Ducks are on a ridiculous 15-3-4 tear since the calendar switched from 2011 to 2012. That's eight different kinds of impressive. The Ducks are the kind of hot that could turn atheists into believers. Except, despite all the winning, the Ducks have only moved one spot in the standings. That's right, one spot. In this week's schedule there will be at least 5 games that feature two teams who are directly ahead of the Ducks. To put it more bluntly, at least 5 times this week, the Ducks will either lose, or be unable to make up ground in the playoff chase. That number goes up to 7 if you include the Blackhawks in the list of teams the Ducks can catch. It's easy to look at the point total and say the Ducks can make it if they keep winning. However, the reality of the situation is that 3 of the 5 teams between the Ducks and the 8th seed, are in the same division, and they'll be playing each other more than a few times. Mix in the games they'll be playing against other teams in the 5, like Los Angeles, and Dallas, and you're starting to paint a very bleak picture.
Which brings us to the moral of the blog post, unless the Ducks actually end up in the 8th seed by the trade deadline, something that's pretty impossible, they should consider themselves sellers. It's nice that the boys in the locker room don't want to be broken up, but Bob Murray has to be serious about what his summer is going to look like. He's going to need extra picks to get a blue line upgrade and another top 6 forward if Selanne retires. Even with all the money coming off the books, there's no guarantee the Ducks will be able to woo any of the big names this summer. I firmly believe we are better off trying to pull a sign and trade for Weber than getting Suter as a UFA. Parise is a long shot at best, and let's be real: do we really want Semin? After that, it's pretty slim pickings. That means the Ducks are only getting better through trade. It also means, that they need to be real about this deadline. They have pieces that people are going to want and they can get very important assets to make deals over the summer. If we can pick up an extra first round pick by moving Lubo, my dream of drafting Dumba will be ruined, but we'd be able to trade our high pick for an impact player and still draft a quality player in the latter half of the first round. We'd be drafting in the same place we always have, only without the first round playoff exit to show for it.
Another option is for Bob Murray to channel his old 2009 trade deadline self and try to make lateral moves. In other words, trading for a combination of picks, prospects and NHL ready talent. Acquiring Jeff Schultz from Washington fits this category of move. As long as he doesn't decide to get Wisniewski again, I can live with this approach. The ultimate goal is to make the team better for next year. If the Ducks decide to stand pat and then miss the playoffs, they will have wasted an opportunity to pick up extra assets. Unloading UFAs is a good way for teams who miss the playoffs to increase their store of pieces and try to gain an advantage going into the offseason. If the Ducks fail to pick up the extra assets, they might be operating from a weaker positions when trying to acquire key players over the summer.
It would be a mistake to think that Boudreau is somehow the answer to our prayers. The Ducks have been consistently inconsistent for a few years. The third line is clicking now, but we need to be better in the circle, and we need our blue line to get a little younger without dipping all the way down to prospect age. There's no guarantee the Ducks make the playoffs this year, but by making sure to sell the key tradeable assets, Blake, Hagman, and maybe Visnovsky they can almost guarantee that this will be an anomaly rather than a common occurrence.