The Anaheim Ducks are still technically in the playoff hunt, even after jettisoning many of their pending unrestricted free agents. With new general manager Pat Verbeek at the helm, the team is finally embracing the rebuild full-on, even while they could plausibly make the playoffs if they get on a heater. This week, several Ducks celebrated career milestones while a pair of new faces made their Ducks debuts.
NHL Invalidates Dadonov Deal
On Monday, it looked like Evgenii Dadonov was headed to sunny Orange County. But he was nowhere to be found on Wednesday night when the Ducks suited up to play the Chicago Blackhawks. In fact, Dadonov dressed for the Vegas Golden Knights on Thursday night and even scored a goal. How was that possible?
Because of an oversight in Dadonov’s contract, his 10-team no-trade list (which included Anaheim) was not realized and therefore, he could not be traded to the Ducks. This caused havoc within the NHL as no one could pinpoint who was at fault for the oversight. Eventually, it was revealed that the Ottawa Senators, who traded Dadonov to the Golden Knights last summer, forgot to send the paperwork regarding Dadonov’s no-trade clause and his 10-team no-trade list. The NHL officially invalidated the trade on Wednesday.
The originally conceived deal would have sent Dadonov and a second-round pick to the Ducks in exchange for Ryan Kesler and the recently acquired John Moore. Kesler, who hasn’t played since the 2018-19 season due to injury, is in the final season of a six-year deal that carries an average annual value of $6.87 million.
The deal would have given the Golden Knights the necessary room to activate one of their injured stars off of injured reserve without exceeding the salary cap threshold.
Aston-Reese & Simon Make Ducks Debuts
As for the Ducks’ recent acquires who will actually remain with the team, Zach Aston-Reese and Dominik Simon made their debuts on March 23 after being acquired from the Pittsburgh Penguins on Monday, March 21.
Related: Ducks’ 2022 Trade Deadline Grades
Aston-Reese skated on the fourth line alongside Sam Carrick and Buddy Robinson while Simon skated on the top line next to Derek Grant and Trevor Zegras. Neither of the new arrivals was on the scoresheet, though Aston-Reese did get a bit of ice time on special teams.
Milano Out with Upper-Body Injury
Sonny Milano missed Sunday’s practice and was missing from Monday’s lineup against the Nashville Predators. After again being absent from Wednesday’s lineup against the Blackhawks, it was announced that he was day-to-day with an upper-body injury.
It’s unknown how exactly Milano suffered this injury, and when, for that matter. As one of the Ducks’ most consistent players this season, having Milano out of the lineup is a big blow, especially given the chemistry he’s developed with Zegras this season.
Shattenkirk Plays in 800th NHL Game
The first of a trio of milestones during Wednesday’s game, veteran defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk celebrated playing in his 800th NHL game. Drafted 14th overall in the 2007 NHL Entry Draft, Shattenkirk spent a majority of his NHL career with the St. Louis Blues after being traded during his rookie season and won the Stanley Cup with the Tampa Lightning during the 2019-20 season.
While he hasn’t exactly made as much of an impact during his time with the Ducks as many would have liked him to, he’s still been a valuable veteran leader for players like Zegras, Milano, Troy Terry and others.
Carrick Scores Twice in 100th NHL Game
Also celebrating a career milestone on Wednesday was forward Carrick, who played in his 100th NHL game. He capped the night off with two goals in what has been a solid season for the 30-year-old. After struggling to find a full-time role at the NHL level with the Ducks since joining their organization during the 2016-17 season, Carrick has solidified a bottom-6 role with the team after beginning the season in the American Hockey League (AHL).
An opportunity can come at any time and Carrick was able to seize his when he was recalled at the end of October due to several injuries at the NHL level. A pending unrestricted free agent, he is likely to garner a deal this offseason, whether from the Ducks or another team in need of grinding, tough depth forward.
Zegras Breaks Ducks’ Rookie Assists Record
The last Ducks milestone to be achieved on Wednesday was Zegras breaking the Ducks’ rookie assists record, set by Cam Fowler during the 2010-11 season. Fowler had 30 assists during his first pro campaign and with a secondary assist on Carrick’s second goal of the night, Zegras officially surpassed Fowler.
With 59 points through his first 82 games in the NHL, Zegras has been a marvel for Ducks fans and fans around the league alike. As the Ducks continue their rebuild, it’s only a matter of time before Zegras begins to put up astronomical point totals.
With just 16 games remaining in the regular season, this Ducks team looks a lot different post-trade deadline. As players like Zegras, Terry and Jamie Drysdale continue to progress, fans will have a lot to look forward to past this season.