The Anaheim Ducks have acquired defenseman Kevin Bieksa from the Vancouver Canucks in exchange for a second-round pick in the 2016 NHL Entry Draft:
Ducks have acquired defenseman Kevin Bieksa from Canucks for a 2016 second-round pick.
— Eric Stephens (@icemancometh) June 30, 2015
Bieksa, 34, adds a right shooting defenseman to the Ducks’ already crowded blueline. With a $4.6 million cap hit on the books for the coming season, Bieksa’s veteran presence won’t come at a bargain, though he is on the last year of his deal. Anaheim has one of the most promising bluelines in the NHL featuring Hampus Lindholm, Cam Fowler, Sami Vatanen, Simon Despres.
Though all four possess immense potential, they remain raw and a couple of years away from entering their primes. With Francois Beauchemin signing with the Colorado Avalanche, the Ducks’ defense suddenly had a severe lack of experience. Clayton Stoner is the only real veteran of the current group, and that really isn’t saying much. This move was Murray’s backup plan in case of Beacuemin leaving, which is now a done deal:
Murray: “[Francois] Beauchemin told me he was going to go to the [free agent] market, and we had a deal in place with Kevin to cover that.” — Anaheim Ducks (@AnaheimDucks) June 30, 2015
Murray Paying For Mistakes
Bieksa adds a veteran presence that the Ducks lack, but that’s just about it. His possession statistics have been in a steady decline since 2010-11, and he’s actually been a negative relative possession player the past two seasons. This not only indicates that he’s slowing down, but that he’s also hurting his team in the process.
The trade itself exacerbates the fact that Murray gave up too soon on a solid contributor in James Wisniewski. Bieksa is in the downturn of his career. He will add some toughness and nastiness to the team, but in terms of offense, it’s tough to realistically expect anything from him.
At the price that Murray paid to get him, it’s at least worth the gamble. Perhaps playing along a Hampus Lindholm, who greatly sheltered Beauchemin last year, could at least re-invigorate his play at even strength. The Ducks didn’t give up much in this deal, but they’re not getting much back either.