As you all know by now, the Ducks made a bit of a splash yesterday, shipping out Viktor Fasth for a fifth round pick in this year's draft and a third rounder next year as well as Dustin Penner for a 2014 fourth round pick, which was dealt in turn to Dallas for Stephane Robidas. On top of that, for a little while they seemed to be the front runners to nab one of the biggest name rentals of this trade deadline in Thomas Vanek, though that focus seems to have shifted to Ryan Kesler, according to those supposedly in the know.
As Kyle, Eric and I discussed on the podcast recorded last night (listen now while it's somewhat fresh), we like the deals so far. One of the goalies had to go, and choosing between a 31-year-old, six foot goalie .915 a save percentage and a 2.32 GAA and sudden injury issues and a 24-year-old, 6'4" netminder with better numbers (.929 and 2.11) even over a slightly shorter period (30 games to 19, respectively), I'd say Murray did the right thing.
As for Penner and Robidas, the former had played well above expectations this year but the Ducks have other players in Patrick Maroon and Devante Smith-Pelly who can fill a similar role while younger and cheaper, and the latter is simply a giant pain in the ass to play against, so better to have him on your side.
The three of us also agreed that we would prefer Kesler to Vanek if given the choice, the question is the asking price. Kesler's value is a bit higher, seeing as he's a more versatile player, a center and has two more years left on his contract, not to mention Vancouver being an intra-division trading partner.
So would you give up a player, prospect and a pick for either of those guys, considering the prospects in question could range from Emerson Etem to Sami Vatanen, Rickard Rakell or DSP and the roster players from Mathieu Perreault to Luca Sbisa, Mark Fistric, Matt Beleskey or others, not to mention one of the two first round picks the Ducks currently hold (their own and Ottawa's from the Bobby Ryan trade)? Personally, I say maybe for Kesler and no for Vanek.
We'll find out in a matter of hours. Heck, you readers of the future may even know already!
Happy Trade Deadline everybody.
Keys to the Game: The Ducks also happen to be one of the eight teams in action tonight, facing off against the Montreal Canadiens. The last time these two teams met was way back in October on the Ducks' season long eight game road trip, where Montreal got the better of them by a score of 4-1. The Ducks were never really in that game, falling behind 3-0 just past the midway point, but that seems like ancient history now.
With 20 games remaining, the rest of the schedule is all about maintaining good habits and parlaying that into a second straight division title. So pick your coach-speak cliches: smooth zone entries, win the puck battles, take care of the house, front net presence, center lane drive, gap control.... play your game for 60 minutes, come out the other end with two points.
What Can We Learn From this Game: Barring something really strange, the Ducks won't have any new player(s) in the lineup. Robidas is reportedly a couple of weeks away from returning to action after having broken his leg earlier in the season. So the key things to watch out for, much like Sunday versus Carolina is Jakob Silfverberg at center in place of Perreault (upper body) and keeping the intensity up for a full 60 minutes, which they failed miserably at on Sunday.
Fearless Prediction: Crickets.
Stay tuned here for updates throughout the day (lineup news, etc.) and start commenting. We'll have a quick stats pack shortly before puck drop for the in-game comments to flow.