The Anaheim Ducks will have a busy Thanksgiving week ahead of them. They started off with a 3-0 win over the New York Islanders. Next up is a game tonight in Arizona against the Coyotes at 6:30 PM. On Black Friday, the will be facing off against Winnipeg Jets at 1:00 PM at Honda Center. So regardless of actual food and family time, their plates will be full.
The pieces of the pie have not quite come together this season. The Ducks find themselves hungry for more as they are currently sitting in the seventh spot in the Pacific Division with an overall record of 11-11-3. With that said, they have not exactly rolled over. They have tasted some success, but also have had some games that would leave a bad taste in anyone’s mouth. Turkey. Food. Get it?
All puns aside, this season has been up and down for the Ducks. Bob Murray has never been one to shy away from a trade and he is also not afraid of a “hockey deal”, or making a trade for a player who might need a change of scenery. This year’s Black Friday could lead to Bargain Bob replenishing the stocks with some legitimate players versus guys who constantly make Ducks fans say, “but why Bob?”
Lets take a look at five potential Black Friday deal-type players that could immediately improve this Ducks roster. Just to put it out there, all potential deals below are pure speculation on my part.
A quick note, the Ducks currently have approximately $3,612,000 in cap space. Corey Perry’s buyout cost goes up next season from $2,625,000 to $6,625,000. The Ducks are slated to have approximately $11,720,000 in space next season, but that is with only 13 players signed. They will get some relief as Patrick Eaves’ contract will come off the books and Ryan Kesler’s playing status is still very much up in the air. Pointing this out as the cap hit(s) or potential extension(s) for the players below will be a factor in any move going forward.
Now, lets jump in.
Current Team: New York Rangers
Current Contract: 1 year left at $925,000 (RFA after this season)
Why the Ducks need him: The Ducks are in need of a true power play difference maker on defense. While DeAngelo has his shortcomings in the defensive zone, he has steadily and sneakily been a very effective offensive defenseman. He already has 17 total points this season (seven goals and 10 assists) which would put him in the top five in total scoring for the Ducks and obviously make him their number one scoring defenseman.
Why he could be available: The New York Rangers fell into the trap of overpaying their veteran players. While they currently have approximately $2.8 million in cap space, none of their “boat anchor” contracts come off the books next season, which means that DeAngelo may have priced himself out of the Rangers with his current play, leading them to consider moving him.
Why it will not happen: The secret of DeAngelo is somewhat out. He bet on himself and signed a team friendly one-year deal in this last off season. While he will be a RFA after this season, his play this season is putting him in a spot for a nice bump in salary. Since the Ducks will have a somewhat tough cap situation next year, DeAngelo may have also priced himself out of the Ducks as his extension would play a big part in this trade.
What it might take to get him: Some creativity on GMBM’s part would be required, but given DeAngelo’s play this season, coupled with his age and contract situation, it will take more to acquire him than some of the names on this list. The Rangers are in the middle of a rebuild, so a first round pick along with a decent young forward could get it done. I could see a trade in which the Ducks send would send one their second-tier forward prospects (Morand, Sherwood, Sprong) and first round pick for DeAngelo. If the Rangers were wanting a more established player in the trade, the Ducks could trade Nick Ritchie plus a later pick for DeAngelo as well.
**The Ducks should not trade this upcoming first round pick as it is looking more and more like it may be in the top ten**
Current Team: Dallas Stars, but currently playing for JYP in the Liiga Finnish League
Current Contract: Not signed - RFA (Dallas owns his rights)
Why the Ducks need him: Honka brings some offensive ability as a defenseman. He also checks off the boxes of age, contract, and handedness. Honka would be a true “Black Friday Deal” as the Ducks would be taking advantage of a somewhat broken situation in Dallas. While Honka’s sample size is limited, he was a first round pick in 2014 and has shown flashes of being a puck moving defenseman who could potentially run the Ducks second power play.
Why he could be available: Honka and the Stars are at an impasse. He is currently playing for JYP in Liiga Finnish where he has six total points (three goals and three assists) in 13 games. Per John Shannon, Group 2 RFAs have a December 1st signing deadline, so Honka would either need to be traded and signed or sign with the Stars by then in order to play in the NHL this season. Early rumors before the season started was that the Stars were looking for a second round pick for Honka. John Shannon also reported that they were willing to wait this out and would not take less than full value.
Why it will not happen: It should happen. I really cannot think of a logical reason why the Ducks would not at least try to make it happen. They have needed an offensive RHD since the departures of Sami Vatanen and Brandon Montour. Honka checks those boxes and should be relative cheap to acquire.
What it might take to get him: As mentioned above, earlier in the summer the price was reported to be a second round pick. If the Stars are truly willing to hold out for that, the Ducks should pay it. Simply put, Honka’s upside seems worth it. If it is simply picks they want, then a 2nd and 3rd just to lock him in should do. Another idea would be trading Devin Shore back to Dallas along with a 2nd or 3rd round pick. Shore cannot seem to keep his spot in the Ducks lineup this season and Dallas is familiar with him enough for that to make some sense.
Current Team: Edmonton Oilers, but currently playing for Karpat in the Liiga Finnish League
Current Contract: Not signed - RFA (Edmonton owns his rights)
Why the Ducks need him: Puljujarvi’s (calling him JP from here on out) story is well known in the hockey world. He was drafted 4th overall in 2016 by the Edmonton Oilers and his developmental path has been rocky to say the least (do the Oilers have a good track record with any of their picks not named Connor McDavid?). He and the Oilers seem destined to part ways, but in the meantime, JP has been tearing it up in Liiga. He has 24 points (11 goals and 13 assists) in the 23 games and has reportedly looked confident and dominant at times. He is also still only 21 years old and has all the tools to become a very good NHL right winger.
Why he could be available: As mentioned above, he and the Oilers have never seen eye to eye. JP does not seem interested in continuing his career with Edmonton. So, by all accounts, if the price is right, he is available.
Why it will not happen: JP seems like a no-brainer to try to acquire, but the cost will be steep. Not only was he a top five pick who is 21 years old, but his rights are owned by a fellow Pacific Division team. I’m not sure how much weight that carries as the Ducks and Oilers have done multiple deals in the past, but would Oilers GM Ken Holland be willing to move JP to a division opponent just to watch him potentially play against his team?
There’s also the small issue of his hips, which he had surgery on last season. Ducks fans know all too well about hip issues with the experiences of Ryan Kesler.
What it might take to get him: This situation is unique for the reasons above, but also because JP has gone on to do well in Liiga. He is not a flame-out bust where you can get him on the cheap. He is a top five pick who is young and oozing with potential. Edmonton is in more “win now” mode than rebuild mode. I could see the Ducks needing to trade Ritchie along with Sprong plus some sort of non-first or second round pick (3rd or 4th). Yes, Ritchie is a more established player than JP, but JP has a much higher ceiling than Ritchie. Unfortunately, you need to trade nice things to get nice things. (Ritchie is a “nice thing” for as much hate he gets from Ducks fans). There were reports from Elliott Friedman in this 31 Thoughts article that the Tampa Bay Lightning had reached out JP. It seems like maybe a higher end forward prospect in a one for one could make it happen.
Current Team: Carolina Hurricanes
Current Contract: 1 year left at $850,000 (RFA after this season)
Why the Ducks need him: Simply put, the Ducks lack of NHL caliber defenseman is showing. Josh Manson’s injury along with stints on IR for Hampus Lindholm have really shone a light on their spotty blueline. The Ducks defense as a whole is bottom five in the league in shots against and trail only the Chicago Blackhawks in expected goals against. Now, Fleury does not carry the offensive upside of DeAngelo or Honka (or the Ghost, see below), but he is known as a solid two-way defenseman with some offensive upside.
Why he could be available: Sara Civian at The Athletic broke down what the Hurricanes could do with Fleury. He is currently the seventh defenseman on a team with a stacked group of players. Civian mentions that Fleury should be playing more and has outperformed his role as the extra. Basically, there is no room for him thus making him expendable.
Why it will not happen: I’m not sure what the Canes would be looking for. Everyone knows about their interest in Ondrej Kase from the famous trade that did not happen for Justin Faulk. Part of the fallout from that now dead trade was Bob Murray not being happy with the talks leaking apparently from the Carolina side. This may have soured this relationship, killing any type of deal between the two teams for the foreseeable future.
What it might take to get him: Say Bob Murray swallowed his pride and said “forget the past. I want Fleury”, it is hard to pinpoint exactly what it would take to get him. Fleury is not as established as DeAngelo, but is also not as much of a “banking on potential” situation that the Honka trade would be (i.e. small sample size). While Fleury had a good rookie season with the Canes, his playing time and numbers have steadily declined even as the they have improved as a team. My guess would be that the Canes would want a productive forward and a pick. Say Nick Ritchie and a 3rd or Devin Shore and a 2nd.
SHAYNE “GHOST” GOSTISBEHERE
Current Team: Philadelphia Flyers
Current Contract: 4 years left at $4,500,000
Why the Ducks need him: When he is “right”, Ghost is one of the more exciting offensive defensemen in the NHL. Think Cam Fowler with an actual slap shot. He is a true top power play QB and is one of the better “breakout” passers in the game. He is also sound in his own end, thus being the perfect storm for Anaheim’s blueline.
Why he could be available: There are sprinkled reports of Ghost requesting a trade out of Philly. He is off to a brutal start to the season by his standards and has been healthy-scratched the last two games for the Flyers. Ultimately, he may not be available because why would the Flyers sell him at his lowest point? But, if he is available, the Ducks should be one of the many teams that will be calling.
Why it will not happen: Most teams wouldn’t or shouldn’t trade a 26-year-old talent on the blueline like Ghost unless a trade was requested (reports are sketchy on that information) or the player and team had both agreed a change of scenery is needed (has not been reported). Basically, Ghost would be a long shot and would take a lot to acquire. As I mentioned before, I do not realistically see the Flyers selling low on one of their top defensemen.
What it might take to get him: If he was able to be acquired, the cost for Ghost would be high. Not only is really good, but he is 26 years old, his contract is up before the dreaded age of 30, and his AAV is reasonable at $4.5 million per season. The Flyers are also more in “win now” mode vs. rebuild, so they would be looking at players who could have an immediate impact plus prospects or picks. My deal would be Ondrej Kase, Jacob Larsson, and a first round pick for Ghost. Seems steep, but you have to give nice things to get nice things.