With the NHL trade deadline just 12 days away, the list of who should be buyers and who should be sellers is beginning to take shape. The Arizona Coyotes kicked things off early when they traded for Taylor Hall in December. The Los Angeles Kings moved it along further when they dealt Jack Campbell and Kyle Clifford to the Toronto Maple Leafs last week. Now, the league is preparing for another slew of moves as contenders attempt to bolster their rosters for playoff runs while those at the bottom of the standings sell off players for future assets.
Last week, we asked Ducks fans whether they feel the team will be buyers or sellers at the deadline. Despite a small run of success over the past two weeks, Anaheim still sits sixth from the bottom of the league. Which is why the results of last week’s poll are unsurprising, to say the least.
90% of respondents believe that the Ducks will sell off assets at the deadline this year. This would be the second consecutive year the team would be considered sellers.
Last season, the Ducks made a few moves for both younger assets and futures ones. Andrew Cogliano for Devin Shore and Brandon Montour for Brendan Guhle and a first round pick were the biggest of those transactions. Now, with Anaheim in a similar position, it’s logical to think General Manager Bob Murray will look to unload current players for future assets.
To what extent he will sell is the question. Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman reported last month that Murray is willing to “weaponize” his cap space; take on bad contracts from cap-strapped teams in exchange for good young players or high draft choices. However, outside of a few depth players like Michael Del Zotto and Derek Grant, the Ducks do not have any impact pending free agents that make easy trade targets for contenders. Any significant pieces moved from the Ducks roster would be players with term or control, like Adam Henrique, Josh Manson, or Ondrej Kase.
TSN’s Trade Bait List currently has three Ducks: Derek Grant (13th), Ondrej Kase (22nd), and Josh Manson (37th).
As for the other California teams, it’s no surprise that Kings fans believe that their team will be sellers to the tune of 100% of respondents. Most believe that the Ducks rebuild is further along than the Kings’, and with The Athletic’s Scott Wheeler ranking their prospect pool number one in the NHL, Kings fans believe that General Manager Rob Blake will continue his selling spree after the Campbell and Clifford trade. Defenseman Alec Martinez ranks number two on TSN’s Trade Bait List while winger Tyler Toffoli, seemingly on the block for multiple seasons now, ranks fourth.
Then there are the Sharks. In what can only be described as a previously functional older used car that had its engine blow up halfway to its destination, San Jose fans have by and large given up on the season and believe that their team will sell off assets for the first time in years.
TSN’s Trade Bait List has a whopping four Sharks on the block, including pending-UFA defenseman Brenden Dillon (5th), center Joe Thornton (15th, please go to Boston please), center Barclay Goodrow (21st), and winger Patrick Marleau (24th).