The Anaheim Ducks currently sit in second place in the Pacific Division with a 32-19-8 record. Although earlier this season it appeared Anaheim could miss the playoffs, they are now knocking on the door of the first place Los Angeles Kings with only four points separating the rival franchises.
The team’s offensive woes at the beginning of the season are well documented, spending a good portion of time as the worst scoring team in the entire National Hockey League. However, the Ducks offense has picked up since coming back from the holiday break at the end of December. Anaheim has increased their average goals scored per game to 2.46, which still does not paint an accurate picture of how hot this team has been over the past two months.
The Ducks’ defensive play has been exceptional all season, thanks to an abundance of talented NHL-caliber blueliners and two outstanding goaltenders in John Gibson and Frederik Andersen. Anaheim has allowed the fourth-fewest amount of goals this season with 138 and has the fifth best goal-against-average with a number of 2.34.
Trade Deadline Plan of Action
Ducks’ general manager Bob Murray has some serious decisions to make before the clock strikes 3 p.m. eastern time on Monday afternoon. The first decision being whether or not it is necessary for his team to make any more deals at this time. Except for the powerhouse that is the Washington Capitals, the Ducks have been the hottest team in the National Hockey League for the past month and a half or so. The scoring drought is over and the chemistry level between players is extremely high. Earlier acquisitions David Perron and Ryan Garbutt have been phenomenal additions for a Ducks team that appears to be just fine.
Improvements always exist and Murray has even admitted that it would not hurt to add another winger to the teams roster. If the Ducks do decide to obtain someone to fill a wing position, one would imagine that it will be of the rental variety. Although Andrew Ladd is off the market, there are still other names out there that could prove to be valuable assets and increase Anaheim’s chances at hoisting the cup this summer.
The big question that remains is what would Murray have to part ways with in order to obtain an improvement on the wing. The Ducks have so much depth at the defensive position which makes dealing a player from the blue-line the most likely of possibilities. However, Anaheim will still need to consider whether their gain will be just as strong as their loss on any proposed deal. The Ducks defense is built to succeed in the postseason and Murray may feel that it would be more beneficial to make any deals regarding his defensemen before the draft.
The Ducks will be on the phones up until the deadline passes searching for a deal that makes this team better for the final stretch of the season. The reality is that that deal just might not be out there.
When It’s All Said and Done…..
At first glance, the Anaheim Ducks appear to be one of those teams that will be actively in search of that one extra piece that will put them one step closer to their ultimate goal before the trade deadline. As I mentioned before, I do believe that Murray will definitely be browsing until the market closes. Sometimes browsing does not lead to an actual purchase. Think about all those times we have gone to the shopping mall and walked out with absolutely nothing. I believe that this is going to be the case for the Ducks, this time, around.
Anaheim will explore its options and listen to other teams offers but will have the same group of players on their roster at 3:01 p.m. The Ducks will struggle to find an impact player at a price they are willing to pay and that is absolutely fine. Look how fantastic this group of men has played together. They will still be Stanley Cup contenders even without another big acquisition.