This week’s edition of Anaheim Ducks News & Rumors contains information about Jack Eichel, David Backes and a pair of Ducks prospects in Artyom Galimov and Thimo Nickl. Eichel has been a hot topic of discussion since I started making Ducks News & Rumors a weekly occurrence, and it’s unlikely that his name will be out of the rumor mill until a deal–with what team remains to be seen–is complete.
Buffalo Sabres Re-Engage Eichel Trade Talks
With his new representation at the forefront, the Sabres have once again re-engaged in trade talks with teams instead edged in acquiring the Sabres’ star center. With training camp quickly approaching, the chances of a trade do appear to be slim as it’s likely that Eichel wants to join his new team prior to the start of the 2021-22 season.
The discussion around the trade package that would be deemed appropriate enough to acquire Eichel is quite murky. Given the current state of the Ducks, acquiring a star talent like Eichel would certainly accelerate the so-called “rebuild” that the Ducks seem more keen to lean into as of late.
Backes Officially Retires
Earlier this week, the former St. Louis Blue, Boston Bruin, and Duck officially announced his retirement. He signed a one-day contract with the Blues so that he could retire with the team that he began and spent a majority of his NHL career with. After being an unrestricted free agent this offseason, it was likely that Backes would call it a career.
He joined the Ducks, along with Axel Andersson, during the 2019-20 season via trade in exchange for Ondrej Kase. This deal also involved a first-round pick going back the Ducks’ way, a bit of a “thank you” from the Bruins for taking on the remainder of Backes’ hefty salary.
Though his play style is reminiscent of a different NHL era, Backes was an important leader in the Ducks’ locker room, and well-respected among all of his teammates. It was clear that he wasn’t quite the same player toward the tail-end of his career, but did his best to remain professional and not take any day spent in the league for granted. He penned a heartfelt letter to Blues fans following his retirement announcement, which you can check out by clicking here.
Galimov & Nickl On the Scoresheet
Two of the Ducks’ unsigned prospects from the 2020 NHL Entry Draft were on the scoresheet this week. Galimov, who plays for Ak Bars Kazan in the Kontinental Hockey League (KHL), only registered one assist in three games this past week, but has been winning a majority of his faceoffs and is averaging around 17 minutes of ice time. Galimov is the first Russian drafted by the Ducks since they selected goaltender Igor Bobkov in the third round of the 2009 NHL Entry Draft.
Elsewhere in Europe, Thimo Nickl lit the lamp for AIK in the HockeyAllsvenskan in Sweden. The defenseman was originally planning to play in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (QMJHL) this season after playing for the Drummondville Voltigeurs during the 2019-20 season, but the COVID-19 pandemic continues to restrict international travel. Nickl instead will remain in Sweden after spending last season with both Rogle BK and Mora IK.
It’s been a bit of a rough year for Nickl, as he was unable to participate in World Juniors this past winter because of a positive COVID test. He’s also struggled to break into the blue line of the teams he’s been on. This is one of the reasons why he is on loan at AIK as opposed to playing for Rogle BK, his parent club.
I mentioned this in previous editions of ‘News & Rumors’, but the Ducks will hold an open practice for their rookie camp on Thursday, September 16 at Great Park Ice in Irvine at 10:30 AM. In addition to this, the Ducks will also hold “Fly Together Weekend” on Saturday, September 25. This will also be at Great Park Ice and will feature an intrasquad scrimmage which is free to the public, but a minimum $5 donation is highly recommended.
Fly Together Weekend will conclude on Sunday, September 26 with the Ducks’ first preseason home game versus the San Jose Sharks. This game will be complimentary for all Ducks season ticket members.
Derek has been a hockey fan for 10 years and a sports fan in general for more than two decades.
He graduated from UCCS in Colorado Springs, CO in May 2020 with a bachelor’s degree in Sports Communication and spent the last several years as part of UCCS’ on-campus student newspaper staff–both as a reporter and editor. He is now creating Ducks-related content from his home in Southern California.