The 2016 NHL All-Star Weekend is upon us. On the surface, these few days appears as a much-needed break from the daily grind of a long hockey season where players get the opportunity to have some fun without any pressure. However, the individuals involved with making their respective organizations stronger are not taking any time to kick back and relax. With the February 29th trade deadline now less than a month away, it is now crunch time for generals managers across the National Hockey League.
As it has been expected for some time now, Ducks GM Bob Murray is going to have a very small amount of sleep during the month of February. After an extremely slow and disappointing start to the 2015-2016 season, Anaheim finally seems to be playing up to its potential (minus Ryan Getzlaf). The Ducks currently sit in fourth place in the Pacific Division with a 22-18-7 record and are only two points behind the third place Coyotes.
The team may be improving but there is no denying that the Ducks could still use some more assistance in the scoring department if they want to make a real run in the postseason. Luckily for Murray, there is one guy out there who would be the perfect fit in his organization.
Insert Andrew Ladd
Contract extension talks between Andrew Ladd and the Jets have apparently come to a halt and it Winnipeg is now focussing its efforts on working out a deal with Dustin Byfuglien. One would imagine that this puts Ladd on the trade market and he would be a valuable asset to any team looking to make a postseason push.
The 30-year-old left winger has not had the strongest outing so far this season, recording 10 goals and 17 assists in 49 games. However, the potential to be a real difference maker is still there and a change of scenery to a team with more talent could bring out the best in Ladd. The truth of the matter is he would fit in perfectly with the Ducks. They need a proven top line left winger who can score and is not afraid to get physical. Ten goals may not seem like a lot but when only three members of the Ducks have posted double-digit goal totals this season, the team will take any improvement they can get. Since the game against the rival
Since the game against the rival Kings, Bruce Boudreau has readjusted his lines spreading out his most talented players instead of having them all on two lines. Acquiring Ladd would cause Boudreau to do some more adjusting but I imagine the left winger on a line with Ryan Kesler.
What Would He Cost?
If the Ducks were to acquire Ladd before the trade deadline, it would simply be only for the rest of this season. It is reported that he is seeking a six-year contract with a price tag somewhere north of $6M annually. Anaheim already has plenty of high-priced players on the books and will be focussed on signing some of their key RFA’s this offseason. Murray will only deal for Ladd so his team can still take a run at the Stanley Cup this spring.
The Jets are looking for defensemen which immediately translates into Sami Vatanen when discussing trading with Anaheim. The Ducks have a crowded blueline and Vatanen has been viewed as the most expendable asset. However, I do not think parting ways with a skilled player such as Vatanen would be a smart move for the Ducks to make for a rental player. Murray will be hesitant deal someone away he feels could be a valuable member of his organization’s future for someone he will only have for a few months. Although the Ducks will have to part with someone, I imagine a deal with Winnipeg involving Anaheim’s first round pick as the centerpiece.
The 2016 trade deadline will be here before we know it and there is no doubt that Murray and the Ducks will be looking to make at least one more big move. They may be more than one appealing deal out there but acquiring Ladd is the one Anaheim must make.
John Gove is an elementary school educator who writes about hockey in his spare team. Over the past five years, John has covered the game at various levels. Now, he exclusively focuses his coverage on prospects and the developmental leagues.