The Oilers are in Anaheim for their third game against the Ducks this season.
1. The Ducks are 12-7-2 in their last 21 games. Getting Ryan Getzlaf and Ryan Kesler back obviously helps. They currently hold a wild-card position, but St. Louis and Los Angeles are a point or two back with a game in hand. It’s impressive how they’ve got back into a playoff hunt. They’ll need to continue their run, which makes losses like the one last night against Arizona tough.
2. I like the Adam Henrique for Sami Vatanen trade. Those are two similar players who fit in with their new teams. Henrique has versatility. He can play the wing or centre, and that allows the Ducks to load up Rickard Rakell on the Getzlaf line. Joseph Blandisi has 10 points in 15 games for Anaheim’s AHL affiliate. He could be another depth option.
3. The Oilers need to find their own Ondrej Kase. Kase was a seventh-round pick in 2014. He’s a right shot, right winger who has 31 points in 47 games this season. He’s quick and doesn’t cost anything. This is the type of player the Oilers desperately need and shows how teams like Anaheim stay competitive.
4. Corey Perry’s contract is starting to look rough. He’s on pace for 45 points and only scored 53 points last season. He makes $8.625 million, $700k more than Getzlaf. While players like Kase make it easier for the Ducks to contend, Perry’s contract does the opposite. The NHL is getting faster and Perry was never that quick. Ryan Getzlaf continues to provide value for his contract, but the Ducks will have a problem with Perry’s bloated deal if he keeps declining.
5. Ryan Miller will likely start against the Oilers tonight. At what point do the Ducks worry about John Gibson? He’s fantastic when he’s healthy, he has a .925 save percentage in 46 games this season but finds himself on injury reserve too often. According to the Orange County Register’s Eric Stephens, Gibson has left five games with injuries this season. Miller’s been able to fill in when needed. He has a .928 save percentage and a 8-5-5- record. Miller can play a lot of games still. He played over 50 games in his last two seasons in Vancouver before signing in Anaheim.
6. I’m surprised the Bruins gave up that much for Rick Nash, who on the surface doesn’t seem like much of an upgrade on Ryan Spooner. Nash only has three more points than Spooner in 21 more games played. Nash is the better defensive player and can penalty kill, but is that really worth a first-round draft pick, decent prospect, and Spooner? I’m not sure. They did get some cap relief by sending Matt Beleskey, with half his salary retained, to the Rangers. Nash is still on pace for 24 goals, although just 37 points as well. I like the trade from a Rangers perspective. You’d have to think they can flip Spooner somewhere by the deadline.
7. Mike Cammalleri is hot. He has 10 points in his last 10 games. All assists. The Oilers should be able to trade him before the deadline. I’d be surprised a team didn’t take a chance on Cammalleri for a late-round pick. He’s been a useful veteran and can play up and down the lineup.
8. I wouldn’t dress any of Patrick Maroon or Mike Cammalleri tonight. With Letestu already traded, there’s no need to risk injury and teams what players can do at this point. Protect the asset, and give more ice time to Anton Slepyshev and Jesse Puljujarvi. Ty Rattie was called up and deserves a look in a skilled role.
9. Pontus Aberg is an interesting addition. He’s scored well in the minors, but hasn’t translated that to NHL success. His NHL numbers are very similar to Ty Rattie, but Aberg has much better speed. He hasn’t fared well in terms of possession stats, but maybe that can change in Edmonton. I’d hazard calling him a prospect at this point.
10. I wonder if a team would be interested in Ryan Strome. He’s put up some points recently, can play centre or the wing, and doesn’t have a huge cap hit. Still, the Oilers need players for next year and Strome is a competent middle-six guy. His qualifying offer is a bit pricey ($3 million), so he, along with Maroon, could be a trade chip that lands a prospect or pick.
11. I like Toronto’s trade for Tomas Plekanec. He gives them better depth at centre by bumping Dominic Moore out of the lineup. Rinat Valiev and Kerby Rychel aren’t much in terms of prospects and a second-round pick is a solid price to pay.
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Source: NHL, Official Game Page, 02/25/2018 – 12:00pm MST