5 Ducks Players That Could Be Traded by the Deadline

After a dismal 6-15-1 start to the 2022-23 season, the writing on the wall is clear for the Anaheim Ducks: there won’t be any surprise playoff runs as the rebuild extends another year. While it is disappointing, there are plenty of silver linings. Connor Bedard is waiting for the 2023 Draft Lottery winner, and Adam Fantilli and Matvei Michkov are two of the best consolation prizes a team may ever find. The Ducks’ roster is also very young, with several high-end prospects still playing at the lower levels. The light at the end of the rebuild is closer, but there’s still work to do.

Related: Anaheim Ducks’ Max Comtois Needs a Consistent Role

Some of this work will include navigating the trade deadline. General manager (GM) Pat Verbeek had a busy first trade deadline in his new role and organization last season. When the dust settled, Verbeek and the Ducks made four trades, shipping away five expiring contracts for a haul that included six draft picks and three prospects. This year looks like it will be more of the same, as there are several players on Anaheim’s roster with expiring contracts that Verbeek would rather recoup assets for than let walk for free in the offseason. Here are five Ducks players who could be moved by this year’s trade deadline.

John Klingberg

Starting with the most obvious and high-profile of the examples, John Klingberg was a trade deadline candidate the day he signed in Anaheim. The 30-year-old defenseman spent the offseason looking for a big contract after eight productive seasons with the Dallas Stars. He couldn’t find the deal he was searching for, so he signed a one-year “prove it” deal with the Ducks. The language in his contract even anticipates a trade: he has a full no-move clause (NMC) that expires on January 1, 2023, and will turn into a 10-team NMC until the end of the season.

John Klingberg Anaheim Ducks
John Klingberg, Anaheim Ducks (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

The scouting report on Klingberg hasn’t changed since he left Dallas. He’s an offensive-oriented defenseman that plays a high-risk, high-reward game. He’s a liability in the defensive zone, but his eight points lead Ducks’ defensemen. He is a flawed player, and that perception could be why he had a hard time finding a long-term deal last offseason. However, he is an elite power play quarterback and will very likely be in demand as the trade deadline draws closer.

Dmitry Kulikov

Dmitry Kulikov was acquired by the Ducks in late August in a trade with the Minnesota Wild. The 32-year-old defenseman arrived with one year remaining on his contract, allowing the Ducks to flip him at the deadline like Klingberg. Unlike Klingberg, Kulikov’s style of play is a more subtle, stay-at-home defenseman. He’s contributed seven points in his 22 games this season, but his real value comes from his team-leading 68 minutes on the penalty kill.

With this understated style of play comes a much cheaper $2.25 million contract. Most playoff-focused teams will be spending right up to the salary cap’s limit, and acquiring a cheaper player like Kulikov would give GMs coveted flexibility. Any return on a trade would be a great value for the Ducks considering the minimal cost to acquire him.

Kevin Shattenkirk

Kevin Shattenkirk arrived in Anaheim in the 2020 offseason as a newly crowned Stanley Cup champion with the Tampa Bay Lightning. His first season was a disappointment, but he had a rebound 2021-22 campaign with 35 points, his most since 2016-17. He’s in the final year of his contract and is earning $3.9 million this season.

Kevin Shattenkirk Anaheim Ducks
Kevin Shattenkirk, Anaheim Ducks (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

At 33 years old, his defensive game has steadily declined. Teams interested in acquiring Shattenkirk shouldn’t feel comfortable with anything more than third-pairing minutes at even strength. He is still a great option on the power play, though, and his experience winning a Stanley Cup could be sought after by a contender in need of depth on the blue line.

Adam Henrique

Adam Henrique would be more than just a mid-season rental as he has one more year left on his contract. But with this season looking like a wash for the Ducks, it would maximize his value with the extra year. Despite being hampered by injuries, he had the most efficient season of his career in 2021-22 with 42 points in 58 games. He’d be a valuable addition to any contender’s top six as a center or a wing, as well as being a contributor on the power play.

Henrique has become a fan-favorite since his arrival from the New Jersey Devils in 2017. That season, the Ducks were swept out of the playoffs by the San Jose Sharks and haven’t been back to the postseason since. He has been through the franchise’s worst years during this rebuild, and he’s remained a professional and maintained a high level of play. Even when he was placed on waivers in 2021, threatening a sudden end to his time in Anaheim, he returned and played well. If he is traded, it would be a shame that the Ducks couldn’t turn their fortunes around while he was on the team.

Max Comtois

Max Comtois was drafted by the Ducks in 2017. From the beginning, he has shown flashes of his potential, scoring a goal only seconds into his first NHL shift against the San Jose Sharks in 2018. During his 10-game stretch in Anaheim that season, he scored seven points. In 2020-21, his first full season with the Ducks, he led the team with 16 goals and 33 points.

Max Comtois Anaheim Ducks
Max Comtois, Anaheim Ducks (Jess Starr/The Hockey Writers)

The last few seasons have been difficult for Comtois. Injuries and inconsistency in 2021-22 resulted in only six goals in 52 games. He was also a frequent healthy scratch throughout the season and was subject to several mid-game benchings and demotions. With this being the last season on his contract before becoming an arbitration-eligible restricted free agent, the time is coming for the organization to make a decision. He could play a big part in Anaheim’s future, but his lack of a consistent role indicates that the coaching staff may not be that optimistic. At 23 years old, his value on the market wouldn’t be limited to playoff contenders, but to any team willing to take a chance on a younger player who has shown flashes of upside.

Ducks Will Continue to Be Smart With Assets

With another season bound for a high-end lottery pick, Verbeek and the Ducks will look to add to the franchise’s growing stockpile of draft picks and prospects. If last season’s trade deadline was any indication, they want to maximize the value of their expiring contracts as opposed to letting them leave in free agency. With 11 total contracts coming off the books this season, there will be plenty of moves to make at the deadline.

Salary Cap data courtesy of CapFriendly. Statistics courtesy of HockeyDB.

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