The 5 Best Trades in Anaheim Ducks History

Originally published in Sept. 2013, but updated recently, here’s a look back at some great trades for the Anaheim Ducks.

In the first years of the Anaheim Ducks’ existence, the team struggled to compete with a cast of players from the expansion draft. While solid drafting and player development played a big part in the turnaround, the organization has benefitted greatly from a number of trades. Not all of the trades have turned out well for Anaheim, but these five trades represent big victories.

5. John Gibson and Rickard Rakell

June 2011 – Anaheim acquired a 1st-round pick in the 2011 NHL Entry Draft and a 2nd-round pick in the 2011 NHL Entry Draft; Toronto acquired a 1st-round pick in the 2011 NHL Entry Draft.

I don’t normally like including draft pick trades in lists like these considering the success of the trade is dependent on the team’s scouting department, but this was too good to pass up on.

Related: Remembering the Anaheim Mighty Ducks’ 2003 Draft

The Ducks held the 23rd-overall selection in the 2011 NHL Entry Draft and Toronto Maple Leafs were quick to inquire about moving up in the draft. They had their eyes on USNTDP forward Tyler Biggs. A team that ironically enough also featured John Gibson.

John Gibson Anaheim Ducks
John Gibson, Anaheim Ducks (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

The trade was rather insignificant at the time, considering we had to wait and see how each prospect developed. Unfortunately for the Maple Leafs, Biggs never played an NHL game, splitting his time between the AHL and ECHL. On the flip side, the Ducks selected Rickard Rakell with the 30th overall pick. It took some time for him to acclimate to the NHL, spending two seasons in the OHL and one in the AHL. However, once he made it there was no looking back. He posted back-to-back 30-goal seasons in 2016-17 and 2017-18. He hasn’t quite hit the mark again, but he’s still an effective forward for a young Ducks team.

Rickard Rakell Anaheim Ducks
Rickard Rakell, Anaheim Ducks (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

Gibson was the gem of this trade. The Ducks selected him with the 39th overall pick. He’s dominated every level he’s played in whether it’s the USNTDP, OHL, AHL or NHL. One of the premier shot-stoppers in the league, it’s only a matter of time before Gibson puts his name into Vezina consideration on an annual basis.

Honorable mentions to the trades that brought Samuel Pahlsson and Rob Niedermayer to the Ducks.

4. Ryan Kesler

June 2014 – Anaheim acquired C Ryan Kesler and a 3rd-round pick in the 2015 NHL Entry Draft; Vancouver acquired C Nick Bonino, D Luca Sbisa, a 1st-round pick in the 2014 NHL Entry Draft, and a 3rd-round pick in the 2014 NHL Entry Draft.

Fresh off a franchise-record 54-win season in 2013-14, the Ducks were eliminated in the second round of the playoffs to the eventual Stanley Cup Champions, the Los Angeles Kings. Losing in the second round after a 54-win season is a tough pill to swallow. Losing to your rival? Now that’s just salt in the wound.

General manager Bob Murray wasn’t content with how the season finished and looked to add an additional piece to get the Ducks over the hump. Enter Ryan Kesler. The proverbial “King Slayer” was acquired from the Vancouver Canucks and Nick Bonino, Luca Sbisa and a couple of draft picks were sent the other way. The Canucks selected Jared McCann 24th overall in the 2014 NHL Entry Draft with the first-round pick acquired from the Ducks.

Ryan Kesler, NHL, Anaheim Ducks
Ryan Kesler (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

Kesler became an immediate fan favorite in Anaheim and formed one-third of the infamous shutdown line with Jakob Silfverberg and Andrew Cogliano. He was an integral part of a Ducks team that won three straight division titles after his arrival. As well as two trips to the Conference Finals in 2014-15 and 2016-17. In his first three seasons with Anaheim, he posted 158 points in 242 games. However, injury troubles delayed any further success and an eventual hip surgery has Kesler sidelined to this day. He was never the same after surgery posting 22 points in his final 104 games played.

Related: 2009 NHL Entry Draft – 5 Forgotten Picks

Meanwhile, Nick Bonino spent just one season in Vancouver before joining Pittsburgh and eventually Nashville. Luca Sbisa spent three seasons with the Canucks before bouncing between the Vegas Golden Knights, New York Islanders and Winnipeg Jets. McCann was traded after one season with Vancouver to the Florida Panthers. He’s current plying his trade for the Pittsburgh Penguins.

3. J.S. Giguere

June 2000 – Anaheim acquired G Jean-Sebastian Giguere; Calgary acquired a 2nd-round pick in the 2000 NHL Entry Draft.

Originally drafted by the Hartford Whalers and traded to the Calgary Flames, Jean-Sebastian Giguere spent the early part of his career bouncing between the AHL and NHL. The Whalers selected him with the 13th overall pick in the 1995 draft, representing a great deal of potential. Craig Button, the new GM for the Calgary Flames at the time, started off his tenure by moving Giguere. He played eight games with Hartford and 22 games with the Flames over a span of four years.

J.S. Giguere in goal
Jean-Sébastien Giguère. (mark6mauno/licensed under CC BY 2.0)

Giguere finally found his home when he was traded to the Anaheim Mighty Ducks for a second-round pick in the 2000 NHL Entry Draft. The Washington Capitals acquired the pick from Calgary and selected forward Matt Pettinger with the pick. Pettinger spent part of the next decade playing in the NHL for the Capitals, the Lightning, and the Canucks.

In his first season with the Ducks, Giguere played in 34 games, four more than his entire career to date. In 2001, he became the Ducks’ starting goaltender. A mantle he would hold for seven years before being eventually replaced by Jonas Hiller. He led the Mighty Ducks to the Stanley Cup Final in 2003, before eventually losing to the New Jersey Devils in Game 7. Despite the loss, he was awarded the Conn Smythe Trophy. Giguere led the Ducks to their first and only Stanley Cup championship in 2007. During the 2009-10 season, the Toronto Maple Leafs acquired Giguere for Jason Blake and Vesa Toskala.

Considering all it took was a second-round pick for what would eventually become the greatest goaltender in franchise history, this was easily one of the best deals the Ducks have ever been a part of.

2. Chris Pronger

July 2006 – Anaheim acquired D Chris Pronger; Edmonton acquired RW Joffrey Lupul, D Ladislav Smid, a 1st and 2nd-round pick in the 2007 NHL Entry Draft and a conditional 1st-round pick in the 2008 NHL Entry Draft

Acquiring Chris Pronger in 2006 was the final step in helping secure the franchise’s first Stanley Cup championship. The Ducks were coming off a trip to the Western Conference Final, where they lost to the Edmonton Oilers in five games. The Ducks entered the summer of 2006 looking to add the missing piece to put them over the edge in their quest for Stanley Cup. If you can’t beat him, trade for him.

Chris Pronger with the Stanley Cup in Dryden, ON. Taken June 27, 2007. (Courtesy: Davey Darling at English Wikipedia/Wikimedia)

The price for Pronger was understandably high and cost the Ducks two young players and three draft picks.

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One of those players was Joffrey Lupul, who was coming off a breakout season that saw him net 28 goals as a 22-year-old. Ladislav Smid, a top ten pick in the 2004 NHL Entry Draft, turned into a solid top-four defenseman for the Oilers. The 2007 draft pick was used to trade up in the draft, where the Oilers selected Riley Nash (21st overall).

Best Ducks Trades
Joffrey Lupul with the Ducks (Photo courtesy of Bridget Samuels/ Flikr)

The Nash pick never panned out for Edmonton and his rights were eventually traded for a pick that resulted in Martin Marincin. With the Ducks winning the Cup in 2007, the Oilers also received the conditional first-round pick in 2008, a pick that they used to select Jordan Eberle. He was a key part of the Oilers team for seven seasons before being traded to the New York Islanders.

The deal made sense for both teams. Edmonton was looking to get younger and build through the draft, while Anaheim was looking to add that last piece to get them over the edge. Although the Ducks paid a high price for Chris Pronger, no price is too high when it helps you win a Stanley Cup.  Pairing Chris Pronger with Scott Niedermayer gave the Ducks one of the greatest defensive pairings in the NHL, and that duo led the Ducks to the promised land.

1. Teemu Selanne

February 1996 – Anaheim acquried RW Teemu Selanne, the rights to C Marc Chouinard, and a 4th-round pick in the 1996 NHL Entry Draft; Winnipeg acquired C Chad Kilger, D Oleg Tverdovsky, and a 3rd-round pick in the 1996 NHL Entry Draft.

Did you really think another trade would be at the number one spot? This will likely stand the test of time as not only the Ducks’ best trade in fanchise history, but one of the best trades in NHL history.

Teemu Selanne Mighty Ducks of Anaheim
Teemu Selanne, Mighty Ducks of Anaheim, Mar. 28, 2006 (Photo by Garrett Ellwood/NHLImages)

Prior to this trade, the Ducks had some good players up front in Paul Kariya and Steve Rucchin, but it wasn’t enough to compete with the powerhouses in the Western Conference. The acquisition of Teemu Selanne not only make the Ducks contenders immediately, but it made the organization competitive for years to come.

Selanne formed one of the most lethal duos of all time with Kariya and they helped lead the Mighty Ducks to their first playoff appearance. In his first three years with the Ducks, he scored more than 47 goals per season, eclipsing the century mark for points in two of the three years. He’s an integral piece of the Ducks organization and eventually helped them win their first Stanley Cup championship. As for the other pieces of this deal, Marc Chouinard factored into the Ducks 2003 Stanley Cup run as part of the checking line.

Later that season, Toronto acquired the fourth-round pick for Ken Baumgartner. Although Baumgartner’s contributions did not show up on the stat sheet, he provided a level of physicality that helped balance out Anaheim’s lineup. To acquire Selanne, the Ducks sent their two most recent first-round picks to Winnipeg. Chad Kilger played for the Winnipeg/Phoenix franchise for a few years, totaling 6 goals and 7 assists before moving onto Chicago.

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In the years following this trade, Oleg Tverdovsky developed into a top two-way defenseman for the then-Phoenix Coyotes. With the third-round pick, the Coyotes drafted Per-Anton Lundstrom, a Swedish defenseman that never made it to the NHL. This trade is one of the most lopsided deals in NHL history, and easily the best trade in franchise history.