After much discussion leading in to the draft that the Vancouver Canucks would be sending Kevin Bieksa to northern California, undone by San Jose's unwillingness to trade a 2015 second round pick for him, the defenseman will have a southern California home instead.
Kevin Bieksa traded to #ducks for second-rounder.— Chris Johnston (@reporterchris) June 30, 2015
As initially reported by senior Sportsnet hockey insider Chris Johnston, the Anaheim Ducks acquired the 34-year old defenseman for a 2016 second round draft pick. According to NHLNumbers the 10-year veteran Bieksa is in the final year of a deal with a $4.6 mil. cap hit and will be an unrestricted free agent following the 2015-16 season, but is only owed $2.5 mil. this season.
(Charts by Dominic Galamini- @MimicoHero and are taken from OwnThePuck)
(Regular Season and Playoff statistics taken from Hockey-Reference.com)
Reaction From Around The Web
- Bieksa Traded To Anaheim In Pacific Division Stunner [Puck Daddy]
- Canucks Trade Bieksa To Ducks For Draft Pick [SportsNet]
- Canucks Trade Bieksa To Ducks [Vancouver Sun]
- Ducks Acquire Defenseman Bieksa From Vancouver [Pucks of a Feather]
Thoughts and Analysis
There's a certain hilarity that after all the discussion leading in to the draft and the Sharks resistance to deal this year's second rounder that the Ducks were able to scoop Bieksa up for the same thing the Canucks were offered at the draft. As for what this means going forward for the Ducks, it's pretty much a guarantee now that Francois Beauchemin will be suiting up with another team next season.
Bob Murray confirms Beauchemin will test market: "He told me what he was going to get in free agency, and I didn't get anywhere near that."— Greg Beacham (@gregbeacham) June 30, 2015
#NHLDucks GM Bob Murray says Francois Beauchemin/his camp told him 3 years $5M per was what they expected to get on market.— Stephen Whyno (@SWhyno) June 30, 2015
Murray on Beauchemin: "We made them a 1 or 2 year offer and it wasn’t good enough."— Greg Wyshynski (@wyshynski) June 30, 2015
Bieksa extension with Ducks likely announced tomorrow.— Darren Dreger (@DarrenDreger) June 30, 2015
Replacing Beauchemin with Bieksa seems to fit in line with Murray's ideal of pairing the Ducks puck-moving defensemen with a more physical piece, though Bieksa also has a positive offensive impact as well. The question is whether or not the 34-year old can be better than the 35-year old Beauchemin was this past season, and as the Mimco Hero chart suggests this is another instance where Anaheim is bringing in a defenseman that is not all that great at suppressing shots against. It's a tension that the team was able to overcome this past season in knocking off the seventh and eighth best teams standings-wise in the Western Conference during the postseason, but will be called in to question against the likes of Chicago and Los Angeles.
If anything, a certain important impending unrestricted free agent for next year seems to enjoy the move.
Quack quack @kbieksa3— Ryan Kesler (@Ryan_Kesler) June 30, 2015