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Strap In: The Offseason Is Here

A rundown of the expansion draft and free-agency period from the Ducks perspective.

2014 NHL Awards - Inside Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images

It’s June 12th. As of last night, the Pittsburgh Penguins have repeated as Stanley Cup Champions.

Welcome to the offseason.

The next month is going to be a whirlwind of activity for all NHL teams; perhaps none as hectic as the Anaheim Ducks.

Let’s take a look at what we can expect from the Ducks in what is shaping up to be potentially the biggest offseason in franchise history.

Expansion Draft

Check out this article from our friends at Broad Street Hockey for a refresher on the expansion draft rules and other details.

For context, let’s take a look at the major deadlines for roster movement as they pertain to the expansion draft:

June 13th: 5 pm ET — Deadline for teams to request players waive no-movement clauses

June 17th: 5 pm ET — Deadline for submission of protection lists by all NHL teams

June 18th 10 am ET — Protection lists released to the public

June 18th-21st — Vegas exclusive negotiation window to sign UFAs and unprotected RFAs

June 21st, 10 am ET — Vegas submits expansion draft player selections

June 21st, 8 pm ET — NHL Awards Show / Announcement of Vegas picks

It’s common knowledge by now that Anaheim is in one of the most precarious positions when it comes to this year’s expansion draft for the Vegas Golden Knights. A plethora of young, talented defensemen will force the them to make moves they likely otherwise wouldn’t make in a regular offseason.

The Ducks have 4 eligible defensemen that are worthy of a protection slot: Cam Fowler, Hampus Lindholm, Josh Manson, and Sami Vatanen. Shea Theodore and Brandon Montour are exempt as first/second year pros.

Rumors have been flying that Bob Murray wants to move Vatanen and that teams are lining up for him.

Based on the expansion draft schedule, the Ducks have two choices:

  1. Do not trade Vatanen (or another eligible defenseman, for that matter) and expose one of Fowler, Lindholm, Manson, or Vatanen and almost certainly lose one of them for nothing
  2. Make an official trade by 5 pm on Saturday, June 17th when finalized team protection lists are due.

Technically Vegas doesn’t submit its selections until June 21st, but if the Ducks trade a defenseman and get an eligible forward in return like they are hoping, said player will likely need to be on the protected list by the June 17th deadline.

That means that we will probably know a lot more about next season’s Ducks roster by the time Saturday rolls around.

Free Agency

By June 21st, we will know what roster Vegas will be icing next season and how it has effected each of the other 30 teams.

But there’s little time to breathe as the next big offseason event kicks off less than a week later: The NHL Entry Draft followed by the free agency period.

Here are the relevant windows for this period:

June 23rd - June 24th — 2017 NHL Entry Draft

June 25th - June 30th — Teams can negotiate with any pending unrestricted free agents (this includes extending potential UFAs up to a year away from free agency *cough Cam Fowler *cough).

July 1st — Free agency period begins. Teams can officially sign any UFA.

What does this look like for the Ducks?

Cam Fowler is under contract with Anaheim for one more season at a cap hit of $4 million. Elliot Friedman of Sportsnet believes that the Ducks will extend him once the free agency period begins. His prediction for price and term? 8 years at $6.5 million per year, making Fowler the Ducks highest-paid defenseman.

Another free agent question mark is Patrick Eaves. The 33 year old had a career year putting up 51 points (32G, 19A) in 79 games. At only a $1 million cap hit, Eaves is due for a big raise after his performance this year. Given the Ducks cap troubles, they may not be able to afford him, although it is believed that Murray is attempting to bring him back.

The NHL season may be officially over, but that doesn’t mean that the excitement stops.

The next month or so, and possibly longer, will undoubtedly be action-packed. Keep checking back here at Anaheim Calling to be kept up-to-date on the expansion draft, the NHL Entry Draft, and the free agency period!