This part of the season can be sink or swim for teams in the playoff hunt. For the Anaheim Ducks, they appear to be sinking. An 8-3 thrashing on Tuesday night against the Chicago Blackhawks followed by a 3-1 loss to the Nashville Predators on Thursday night saw them reach the 60-game mark in sixth place.
Ducks Among “Primary Suitors” for Chychrun
While the Ducks’ interest in Arizona Coyotes defenseman Jacob Chychrun appeared to cool down since their first public display of interest back in January, it now seems that they are one of the primary suitors for the 23-year-old, according to TSN’s Darren Dreger. With Hampus Lindholm expected to depart the team via trade within the next couple of weeks ahead of the March 21 trade deadline, replacing him with someone like Chychrun would be the ideal scenario.
Of course, such a deal would require a number of assets, given that Chychrun is on a team-friendly deal and much younger than Lindholm. There’s no pressure on the Coyotes to move Chychrun at less than a premium price for the time being as his contract runs through the 2024-25 season. If a deal can’t be figured out, perhaps it’s one that the Ducks circle back on in the summer.
Zegras Banged Up; Getzlaf, Silfverberg Placed on IR
The hits just keep on coming for the Ducks as Trevor Zegras missed Thursday night’s game with an upper-body injury. Isac Lundestrom also missed his second consecutive game with an upper-body injury of his own while Ryan Getzlaf and Jakob Silfverberg were both placed on injured reserve.
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With Getzlaf, Zegras and Lundestrom all out of the lineup, that meant the Ducks were missing three of their usual centers going into Thursday’s game. Getzlaf and Zegras are also influential components of the power play while Lundestrom and Silfverberg fill similar importance on the penalty kill.
Ducks Showing Interest in Kubalik
The Ducks appear to have real interest in Blackhawks winger Dominik Kubalik, according to The Chicago Sun-Times’ Ben Pope (from, ‘Blackhawks trade buzz: Marc-Andre Fleury situation remains a conundrum’, Chicago Sun-Times, 03/11/22). Pope writes that Kubalik is the player most likely to be traded by the Blackhawks at the deadline.
Kubalik burst onto the scene with a 46-point campaign in his rookie season in 2019-20, but his point totals have decreased with every passing season. A change of scenery might be ideal for the 26-year-old and while I don’t think a 1-for-1 swap with struggling winger Max Comtois would be the suggested offer, it could be a starting point.
Ducks Still Working on Extensions with Pending UFAs
General manager Pat Verbeek has been hard at work trying to determine what to do with his set of pending unrestricted free agents (UFAs). The big three of Lindholm, Rickard Rakell and Josh Manson remain the priority in terms of contract extensions with Lindholm being the main focus of the three.
There’s been little to no news regarding the status of contract talks with Rakell or Manson, but Manson has made it known that he would like to stay in Anaheim if given the option. Rakell appears to be the most likely of the three to be dealt and should have plenty of suitors in need of scoring depth come playoff time.
Verbeek has already stated that if he can’t get extensions done before the deadline, he’d rather get assets for them via a trade than let them leave for nothing (from, ‘LeBrun: Pat Verbeek’s first trade deadline as Ducks GM will not be boring’, The Athletic, 02/28/22). Some of these moves might come down to the wire.
As the trade deadline draws nearer, the Ducks should be in the thick of discussions as long as Lindholm, Rakell, Manson and the rest of the Ducks’ UFAs haven’t signed pen to paper. What moves are made could have a long-lasting effect on the team’s future.