Meet the Sellers: Anaheim Ducks

Photo credit:© Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
Ryley Delaney
1 month ago
The Anaheim Ducks are struggling again this season. They’re a young team with an interesting core of players, but they remain closer to the Macklin Celebrini sweepstakes than contending for a playoff spot.
This is a series called Meet the Sellers. As the Edmonton Oilers are in a “Stanley Cup or Bust” year, we’re going to look at the teams who have no other aspirations this season other than adding some prospects and picks and jockeying for a better position in the 2024 Draft Lottery.
Before going Duck hunting, let’s look at some of Edmonton’s needs. We’ll be ranking them from the most needed to the least needed.
Second-pairing right-shot defenceman: Cody Ceci isn’t a bad defender by any stretch, but he’s better suited to the third pairing, while the Oilers need a second-pairing right-shot defenceman to play alongside Darnell Nurse.
Second-line winger: There have been times during the season when the Oilers go on cold stretches for scoring, including during the 16-game win streak. Leon Draisaitl needs a top six scoring winger to play alongside him, think Jake Gunetzel.
Right-shot defenceman depth: Last season, the Oilers had Jason Demers in the American Hockey League as a backup plan if a right-shot defenceman got injured. Thankfully, the Oilers remained relatively healthy that season and have barely missed any games from their defence this season, but they don’t have a veteran right-shot defenceman in the minors this year.
Competent backup goaltender: Stuart Skinner has played a lot this season, as he’s played in nearly three-quarters of Edmonton’s games so far. To keep him fresh for the playoffs, the Oilers may look to add a “1B” netminder. It is worth mentioning that Calvin Pickard has done well this season, posting a .910 save percentage and a 2.48 goals-against average in 10 games.
Third-line centre: The least important of Edmonton’s needs is a third-line centre, as Ryan McLeod has played well so far this season, scoring nine goals and 19 points with strong defensive play. The only reason why they’d need a third-line centre is if they plan on playing McLeod with Draisaitl.

Who could the Anaheim Ducks sell:

Despite their hot start where they went 9-6-0, the Ducks have fallen way out of contention with a 19-33-2 record. Their 40 points only rank ahead of the San Jose Sharks’ 35 points and the Detroit Blackhawks’ 33 points.
However, the team is composed of soon-to-be unrestricted free agents and potential trade candidates with term still left on their respective contracts. Let’s take a look at who the Ducks have to off.
Adam Henrique is the most likely Duck to be traded at this season’s deadline and is arguably the most coveted centre on the market after Elias Lindholm and Sean Monahan were traded. This season, the 34-year-old left-shot centre has 15 goals and 35 points and is on pace for 22 goals and 53 points, the latter would set a career-high. Henrique will be an unrestricted free agent at season’s end and has a cap hit of $5.825 million and a 10-team no-trade list.
Jakob Silfverberg’s career-high in goals is 24, with 49 points a couple of seasons prior to that. He’s not the player he once was, scoring just five goals and 15 points in 53 games this season, and only hitting double-digit goals (10 last season) once in the past four seasons. The right-winger carries a cap hit of $5.25 million with a 12-team no-trade list.
Frank Vatrano leads the team in both goals (24) and points (42), already breaking a career-high in the latter and matching a career-best in the former. Vatrano’s contract also has an additional year, ending after the 2024-25 season. The centre has a cap hit of $3.65, easily affordable for what he provides.
Trevor Zegras probably won’t be traded and I’m not even sure Edmonton has the assets to pull it off. However, in a recent article for Daily Faceoff, he did rank as Frank Seravalli’s 35th trade target. It’s been a tough season for the 22-year-old centre, scoring just four goals and seven points in 20 games. Last season, he had 23 goals and 65 points and was given a three-year deal with a cap hit of $5.75. If the Oilers want a legitimate scoring winger to play alongside Draisaitl, Zegras is arguably the best fit.
Sam Carrick has seven goals and 10 points in 54 games this season and his career-best year only came two seasons ago when he scored 11 goals and 19 points in 64 games. A pending unrestricted free agent at the end of the season, the 32-year-old right-shot defenceman has a cap hit of $850,000. If the Oilers trade for Carrick, it is either the Jerred Smithson trade or the Nick Bjugstad trade.
Radko Gudas is the guy I wanted the Oilers to sign during the most recent off-season because he and Nurse would make a great second-pairing. Instead, after a long cup run with the Florida Panthers, Gudas decided to sign with the Ducks on a three-year deal with an annual cap hit of $4 million. He has a full no-trade clause in 2023-24, so the chances of this trade happening are highly improbable, but man, he’d be a nice fit.
Ilya Lyubushkin’s name has been circulating a lot in trade rumours because the 29-year-old will be an unrestricted free agent at season’s end. The right-shot defenceman has a cap hit of $2.75 million and plays on the Ducks’ third-pairing, which is the same pairing he’d play on if he were on the Oilers. Trading for Lyubushkin would slot Vincent Desharnais as the seventh defenceman, which could be useful come playoff time if the Oilers decide to go 11/7.
Cam Fowler is a left-shot defenceman, but according to Daily Faceoff’s daily lineups, he has been playing on the right side as a top-pairing defender. He’s just a season removed from a career-best 10-goal, 48-point season and has four goals and 27 points in 54 games with the Ducks this season. The 32-year-old has a cap hit of $6.5 million until the end of the 2025-26 season and has a four-team trade list. Something tells me that the Windsor-native probably doesn’t have the Oilers on that list. It’s still an interesting play to mention, though.
John Gibson’s game has once again been iffy, but it’s hard to tell whether it’s the rebuilding Ducks’ defence or Gibson himself. This season, he has an .899 save percentage (the same as last season) and a 3.07 goals-against average. The last time he looked like a goaltender that could steal a game was all the way back in 2018-19 when he had a .917 save percentage and a 2.84 goals-against average. Since then, he hasn’t had a save percentage above .904, and his best goals-against average was 2.98. Like most players on this list, Gibson has a modified no-trade clause that features 10 teams. He has a cap hit of $6.4 million until the end of the 2026-27 season. It’s noteworthy that Gibson’s name has been in trade rumours for longer than I’ve written.

Previously in this series…

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