When Anaheim General Manager Bob Murray hired Randy Carlyle to be the new head coach, he said the team had a small window to win now.That statement is a little hard to believe given the team's needs and current cap situation. If the Ducks want to get better, they will have to unload some contracts - namely Stoner - and hunt for some forward talent via trade. So, here's a quick list of people Bob should be calling to improve the his situation.
The Coyotes have so much cap space. So...much...cap space. They are a budget team, and they have a handful of defenseman who need RFA Contracts. Regardless, they might be convinced to take a contract off our hands, especially a forward. It might even be worth it to float Pirri for a replacement pick or a different prospect under an ELC. Pirri is talented, but allowing someone else to give him 2 million might be in our best interest. There is also an outside chance that they'd be interested in Stoner, if they want to crawl back to the cap floor and aren't confident enough in their younger D.
The team everyone wants to speculate about, given their preponderance of young offensive talent. The Ducks have the young top 4 defender Edmonton covets. The only real problem is that the Oilers want a right handed shot, but the Ducks just re-signed Vatanen. There's a chance that Fowler can get you into a conversation for Hall, but the All-Star forward will cost far more than that. Still, there are lots of options here, maybe even a lower level package around Manson and Yakupov, who has had some of that first overall polish wear off over the years. Edmonton has a full roster and 12 million in cap space. They might be able to take on salary to facilitate a deal.
The Stars have their forward situation pretty much worked out. Valeri Nichushkin and Jamie Oleksiak are the only RFAs who need contract. Dallas only have 4 defenseman under contract for next year, after trading Goligoski. They'll want to get a top 4 replacement for him, but they might be willing to take on Stoner's contract to round out their defense. Incentives would be required, but it's an option.
Another team with a ton of cap space and only a few players signed to play defense. The Devils have to sign a bunch of forwards, but they can probably absorb most, if not all, of Stoner's contract.
Tim Murray recently announced he'd be willing to move the 8th overall pick for a "young, top-end, left-shot defenceman...". They also have Zemgus Girgensons, a former 14th overall pick who hasn't made a huge splash in the NHL yet. Other than that, there probably isn't anything they'd be willing to part with that would help the team now. Seems like it could be a good landing place for Fowler if Murray can't shake something good out of Edmonton.
We'll call it the comment board special. It's been said around here that maybe the Ducks can parlay Pavel Datsyuk's contract into something helpful for the team. It makes some sense; the Ducks don't typically spend to the cap, and wouldn't have to pay a defecting Datsyuk any cash. It gets a little more interesting if you can convince Detroit to take Stoner off your hands as part of the deal. They save almost 4 million against the cap, and we get rid of a contract we don't need. Of course, we'd be picking Stoner's contract all over again, cutting into our limited cap space.
Why not? Murray has trouble contacting new teams anyway. Might as well call the people he knows.
The Penguins are over the cap. There's no way we can get Bonino back after the chemistry he showed with Kessel. Eric Fehr might make for a good bottom 6 option though. Justin Schultz might not be a fantastic top 6 defenseman, but he might be cheap and improve depth after shipping off one of our good defenseman someplace else.
Ever since Patrick Roy came down on Matt Duchene for celebrating a meaningless goal in the middle of a blowout, the speculation that Duchene is on the way out of town will not desist. Trading Duchene would be 12 different kinds of foolish, but if the Avs are interested in doing it, the Ducks need to call. Colorado isn't sure it can hold onto Tyson Barrie. Offering a good top 4 defender as a replacement could open the door to discussions. It would give Colorado the option of shipping Barrie to another team to get an offensive "replacement' for Duchene.
Those probably aren't all the options, but it's a start. There are deals to be made at the draft. Let's all hope they make the team better for the upcoming season.