The Draft is probably the second busiest trade day of the year, behind the trade deadline. At this point, everyone has eyes for next year and dance partners are limitless. As a result, big deals can happen at the draft.
The Ducks can go a few ways at this draft. They can play it by the numbers, keep their picks and let this scouting department do what it has been doing very well these past few years, or they can make a splash by moving some big name players and getting some key assets moving forward. The recent news that Selanne is pretty much returning might put this draft in a new lense for Bob Murray.
Here are my top movable assets, in no particular order.Bobby Ryan:
This name has been in the rumor mill for a while, and it's not hard to see why. He is the type of player that other teams covet. The truth about Bobby Ryan is that he hasn't been able to find a home on the ice in Anaheim. I believe that as results for the club begin to level out to medicore under Murray (i.e. making the playoffs every other year), he'll inevitably make a trade to save his job. Bobby offers the opportunity to make an impact trade without risking the other two pieces of your core. There is a possibility that Ryan Getzlaf could be in the mix as well, and that would be a way to bring Toronto's 5 pick into play. However, it's hard to see the Ducks doing that AND retaining Corey Perry's services at the end of the year. At the end of the day it's hard for a GM in a small market to sacrifice that much star power.
I won't assign blame as to why Bobby has had trouble fitting in here except to say that it is at least half the organization's fault. Bobby was stuck behind the Twins. Then he was stuck behind Teemu Selanne. I don't think he ever really appreciated that, in the sense that he probably felt he wasn't being made a priority despite being a high pick.
In the end, it might be best to part ways before this can become damaging to either the Ducks or Bobby Ryan. Neither side wants to get caught up in a PR storm. No one - including me - wants to be in drawn out arguments over who is to blame for Bobby's inability to fully fit into the roster here. The Ducks don't want to do something to alienate the Bobby fans. Bobby probably doesn't want to be put in a situation where he might say something he regrets that could tarnish his image to the rest of the league. He's still a good young player. If the Ducks can find a way to amicably part with Bobby, maybe by trading him to a team that is in a better position to make him a priority, then this doesn't need to be a disaster. It can just be two parties who simply coudln't work it out. These things happen in the NHL.
The bad thing about trading Bobby Ryan is that you lose a 30 goal scorer. The good thing about it is that you might be able to work your way into the Top 4 at the draft, and get that second line center of the future everyone wants. It'll take more than a Top 4 pick to get Bobby off the Ducks' hands, but moving up in the draft, while retaining the 6th pick could go a long way in helping this organization move forward. It would also clear a little cap space to go after other players that could help now, either via trade or free agency. Bobby can be expendable to the right team in the Top 12 if they include a piece for the present. Washington is the ideal candidate since they will be looking to replace Alexander Semin and might give up both firsts and a roster player like Brooks Laich.
I have offered a list of starting points for trades with the Top 4 picks. I don't think you do a deal with Toronto because they need a center too, and we are likely trying to circumvent that. Note these aren't complete deals, just starting points for negotiations. It's the player I'd like to see come with the pick.
1. Oilers: Magnus Paajarvi: This was a tough one, because you have to think that Taylor Hall, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins and Jordan Eberle are untouchable. Also, I think that the #1 slot is the place we'd least like to be, as we'd like to have the choice of Galchenyuk or Grigorinko without making them the first overall selection and all the pomp and circumstance that can come with that. Of course, Nail isn't a bad prize either. Paajarvi offers some scoring touch and size and might not be a bad fit with the Finns for a year and then can maybe be dropped to third line duties. Obviously, more picks are coming our way...lots more.
2. Blue Jackets: R.J. Umberger: This was also a difficult choice, but it was made easier by the fact that the Blue Jackets don't have a ton of options. Ryan Johansen is awesome, but probably untouchable as the center of the future. Rick Nash is too expensive, and he's going to fetch the Blue Jackets a return of picks and prospects that they might value more than Ryan. A deal only works if they think they are getting a good replacement for Nash without surrendering the boon that is Nash. Of course, Bobby Ryan could damage their own Nash sale, so acquiring him first and then dealing Nash is advantageous to CBJ. Umberger has size and can probably play the left side on the top line, where his recent stretch of 20+ goals will be appreciated. Again, there will be more picks coming our way.
3. Montreal: Jarred Tinordi: This one was easy. With the Ducks picking 6th, the likes of P.K. Subban are a touch unnecessary. We'll get a defenseman who can probably be just as good with the 6th pick. In fact, some scouts have compared Matt Dumba to Subban but with less crazy. Tinordi is a good physical defenseman who is probably ready to make the jump to the NHL and will be an affordable bottom pairing guy who can probably crack the Top 4 before it's all said and done. The Ducks will probably get the "leftover" center, but that's still a very good prize. Of all the teams we can deal with, I think Montreal would be my number one target. Another piece has to come, but at this point it would just be details.
4. Islanders: Kyle Okposo: Okposo is a bit of a reclamation project. He cracked 20 goals for the first time last year. He has hovered around that number his entire career, except for an injury shortened season two years ago. He has solid tools and is a former first rounder, so he could do well here, and maybe if we tell him how much we like him, he'll put in a good word with P.A. Parenteau. At 4, the Ducks can't guarantee a center, but they'll have the choice of one of the centers or Ryan Murray. That frees up the 6th to make another move or to compound the defensive depth.
Alright, now for the sprint.
Toni has been pushed out of the Top 4 by Luca Sbisa and Cam Fowler. He's still a strong defensive-defenseman, but with our overall lack of physicality on the back end, we need a defender who can be physical AND defensively responsible. Lydman doesn't supply that, and we pay him too much to not be both. I won't speculate as to what I want, but a strong second pick or decent prospect is certainly a starting point. Lydman is the most expendable piece we have on the blue line. If we can save money on him, then that will be good for getting in on other discussions later in the summer.
I did a post at the deadline arguing that we should move Visnovsky. Earl Sleek over at BoC and I got into a pretty heavy discussion on the merits. I think both of us were right in some ways. Lubo's value was probably going to be high and those assets could have really helped us this summer, but Lubo was also a very serviceable defender. Anaheim fans know his good points well, and I won't reiterate them. If Justin Schultz was still in play for us, I would say it's a no brainer: move him and give his Top 4 spot and PP time to Schultz. But with Schultz's seemingly imminent departure and the ability to get top 4 defenseman dwindling, holding onto Lubo isn't necessarily a bad idea. Still, teams will come calling and if they can offer the mid to late first or a very solid third line player with second line potential then moving Lubo might be doable. The Rangers' Artem Anisimov comes to mind, Visnovsky is probably the second most valuable NHL player on our team that we would be willing to trade. I think it becomes more doable if the Ducks are willing to move Ryan for NHL level defense.
Cogliano isn't a center. He's pretty good on the wing. I imagine the Ducks want to see more of that before they get rid of him, but he's making 2.39 against the cap and 2.35 in salary, not a huge savings. He just had the worst offensive year of his career. Not a ringing endorsement for a guy who's struggles were once pegged on those awful Edmonton teams for which he played. The Ducks are deep in the wing and Cogs' PK acumen doesn't seem like a good enough reason to keep him in the way of any of our young wingers who might be ready. He's good at the defensive side of the game, and if he was making 4th line money, I'd be completely happy with his offensive output. Unfortunately, he was brought here to upgrade our scoring depth, and he failed at that. He'll be available as a salary dump. There might be a team that spends to the cap that doesn't have a problem paying that much money for the limited output.
The 6th pick:
I'm not a big fan of moving this pick. I think it's foolish for the Ducks to consider picking anywhere outside of the top 10. However, when you are at the draft, your pick is always worth something and the Ducks will have to at least listen to offers. I don't think you talk about the 6th for anything less than a Top 6 forward or a Top 4 defender though. There will be other assets involved, but it should be that caliber player with a few years on his contract.