NHL Notebook: Former Anaheim Duck Nicolas Kerdiles passes and Trevor Zegras and Jamie Drysdale far from contract agreements
Photo credit:Mark J. Terrill/AP
2 months ago
With heavy hearts, the hockey world mourns the passing of former Anaheim Ducks forward, Nicolas Kerdiles, after a tragic motorcycle accident on Saturday.
The Ducks expressed their sympathies in a social media post, stating, “We’re heartbroken to hear the news about Nic Kerdiles, who died in a motorcycle accident this morning. Our thoughts and deepest sympathies go out to his family and loved ones.”
According to a report by WKRN News 2 it was revealed that the 29-year-old was killed in the crash around 3:30 a.m. in North Nashville. Metro Nashville Police revealed that the preliminary investigation showed Kerdiles ran a stop sign and collided with an SUV at the intersection of 14th Avenue at Wheless Street.
Selected by the Ducks as their 36tth overall pick in 2012, Kerdiles made history as the first player from Orange County, California to don the Ducks jersey when he made his debut in 2017. He remained with the organization for several years, contributeing to three games for Anaheim, once in 2016-17 and twice in 2017-18. He was traded in the summer of 2018 to the Winnipeg Jets in exchange for Chase De Leo, but never represent the jets on the ice. Kerdiles spent majority of his career in the American Hockey League playing for three teams: the Norfolk Admirals, San Diego Gulls, and most recently the Manitoba Moose in 2018-19 marking his final professional hockey appearance.
His success originated prior to his professional hockey career, thriving with the University of Wisconsin Badgers where he played from 2012 to 2014. During his tenure with the Badgers Kerdiles secured both a WCHA and Big Ten Tournament championship with the team.
Wisconsin Hockey paid tribute to Kerdiles on their social media remembering him as a spirited member of their Badger family.
“We have heavy hearts after learning of the passing of Nic Kerdiles (2012-14) in an accident early this morning in Tennessee.”
“…We remember Nic’s great spirit as part of our Badger family and have him and his family, friends and teammates in our thoughts and prayers.”
Trevor Zegras awaiting contract with Anaheim Ducks
When training camp kicked off on Thursday the Anaheim Ducks there were noticeable absences missing with forward Trevor Zegras and defenceman Jamie Drysdale sidelined while awaiting resolution on their contract situations.
On the 32 Thoughts podcast earlier in September, Elliotte Friedman revealed the Ducks and Zegras were exploring a bridge-deal under a shorter term, though no further updates on the situation have been provided.
The Ducks currently hold $16.6 million in cap space according to cap friendly, with 22 players under contract as they gear up for the 2023-24 season. Ducks General manager Pat Verbeek has made it evident he’s in no rush to finalize deals with his promising young talents, opting for a more calculated approach and push for a contract more suitable to his terms. An initial report suggested Verbeek made an offer to Zegras, but was much lower than what the forward was hoping to grasp.
Zegras’s agent, Pat Brisson, emphasized the importance of reaching an agreement, underlining how crucial it is for Zegras to be in attendance. He also hinted that if no agreement was reached, they may have to explore other options.
“It’s not good for anyone to miss camp,” Brisson told The Athletic’s Michael Russo and Pierre LeBrun last week. “It’s not good for the organization. It’s not good for any players that matter. So, we’re going into this in good faith, trying to work a fair deal. And hopefully, we can get something done.”
In another report by TVA Sports Renaud Lavoie, speculation arose regarding the interest of the Buffalo Sabres in the young star. With training camp officially underway and Zegras’s absence, Lavoie questioned whether the Ducks were being cautious and hinted at the potential interest from the Sabres.
“The Ducks are being choosy [with Zegras]? Do They want to break him? I heard there’s a team looking that way and it’s the Buffalo Sabres. The Sabers have to make the playoffs this year and you solve your problem by bringing Zegras.”
Since joining the team in 2020-21 season as the ninth overall pick in the 2019 draft, Zegras has become a rising talent with Anaheim. Last season, his role became more evident as part of the Ducks rebuilding efforts, scoring 23 goals and leading the team in points at 65.
Drysdale finds himself in a similar situation coming off the final year of his rookie contract with the completion of the 2022-23 campaign. After only appearing in eight games the past year due to a torn labrum in his left shoulder, Drysdale only has only full year of NHL expirience under his belt, but has solidified a key role in the Duck’s goals of a rebuild and is expected to slide back into a top-four role.
The deal for Drysdale akin to Zegras is believed to be no where near a conclusion. Drysdale’s agent also addressed the progression of the negotiations stating, “We’re just working on it.”
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