For dramatically different reasons, Ducks' GM Bob Murray and Coyotes' GM Don Maloney were two of the league's busiest men over the past few days. The former trying desperately to push his team into true Cup Contender status and the latter selling off everything that wasn't nailed down in an attempt to
tank for Connor McDavid/Jack Eichel rebuild. Starting tonight we get to see how those moves paid off.
Starting with the Ducks, they'll obviously be without Ben Lovejoy while Eric Brewer and Rene Bourque are no longer clogging up the team sheet/press box/ice. The biggest acquisition of the deadline period, former and now current Duck James Wisniewski will not be available for another week or two due to a bone bruise on his foot. According to his post trade press call, he will join the team on Wednesday but hopes to be ready to get back in the Ducks' lineup sometime during the upcoming road trip starting in Vancouver on Monday.
The most intriguing new Duck is probably Simon Despres, a 23 year old defenseman who came over from Pittsburgh in exchange for Ben Lovejoy. I say that because he is ostensibly still a prospect, but one with lots of upside. I'm curious to see where he falls in the depth chart, specifically in relation to Josh Manson. I assume that his 144 games of NHL experience over four seasons with the Penguins puts him ahead of Mason (25 NHL GP this year) at the very least. After the trade dust settled, the Ducks are now carrying seven healthy blueliners. The great hope for us here at AC is that he gets a run out while Wiz is injured, he impresses in those games and Bruce Boudreau is forced to scratch Clayton Stoner when Wiz is healthy. But when wishful thinking like that starts to creep in, we have to remember that Boudreau played Bryan Allen in Game 2 vs. LA. #7seconds
The other trades made yesterday really only affect the Admirals for the rest of the season (knock wood) but Saturday's trade of a third round pick and Dany Heatley (properly ordered, as the value entirely lies in the pick) for Tomas Fleischmann and a second should come in handy. Fleischmann (who needs a new nickname since Flash is kind of already spoken for here) just missed the team in Dallas but should be ready to hop in the lineup tonight.
I personally don't think Bob Murray's moves over the past week or so push the Ducks into that upper echelon of the Los Angeleses and Chicagos of the world, but Puck Daddy's Josh Cooper seems confident, so let's hope he's right.
Aside from all of the trade excitement Bruce Boudreau admitted that Frederik Andersen will be back on the ice for one of these two back to back games, either tonight in Glendale or tomorrow back home to Montreal. If the idea is to ease him back in, the logical start would be tonight against a team near the bottom of the West, rather than tomorrow against a team near the top of the East.
Speaking of the Coyotes, there was a Yandle Alert on Sunday, but much to the chagrin of our very own Kyle Nicolas it wasn't because he was coming here. The Massachusetts native ended up in a New York Rangers Blueshirt with Chris Summers (D) and a 2015 fourth round pick in exchange for John Moore (D), Anthony Duclair (F) a 2016 first and a second this year. Other notable moves out of the desert in recent days include another potential Ducks' target in Zebnyk Michalek to the Blues for prospect Maxim Letunov and Antoine Vermette to Chicago for Klas Dahlbeck (another prospect) and this year's first round pick (Chicago's won't likely be very high).
On the injury front, Arizona has Mikel Boedker and Martin Hanzal out for the season with upper body and back injuries respectively, which can only help them in the race to the bottom of the league. They currently sit with the third best chance at the first overall pick, behind Buffalo and Edmonton.
Lastly, the Ducks (un?)fortunately missed being the Coyotes' opponent for throwback night, where they will wear these classics, by one game.
What Can We Learn From This Game:
Aside from what I've been talking about for this entire post so far, it's another opportunity to see if the Ducks are really turning the corner after their atrocious February. The game against the Kings was a significant improvement, even though they fell behind by two goals yet again and they played from the front or tied the entire way against Dallas on Sunday, even winning by more than one goal. More good signs.
But after they had to scratch and claw to beat Edmonton the previous weekend they still have to prove that they can get up for games against teams not currently in the playoff hunt.