The turning of the calendar to July means that a busy month is about to begin for the Anaheim Ducks. Not only will they potentially be adding franchise cornerstones to the organization via the NHL Draft, but development camp will follow shortly afterward along with free agency.
Pair of Former Ducks Become Stanley Cup Champions
It was a rousing week of celebrations for both Josh Manson and Andrew Cogliano, as both players lifted the Stanley Cup for the first time in their careers after the Colorado Avalanche defeated the Tampa Bay Lightning 2-1 on Sunday to complete a 4-2 series victory.
Both players were trade deadline acquisitions and both played their part in the Avalanche’s road to the Stanley Cup Final. They also played eight seasons with the Ducks, spending a majority of their tenures alongside one another, and were dedicated servants during the time that they donned the webbed “D”.
As for where their futures lie, Manson will almost certainly be headed elsewhere with the Avalanche needing all the cap space they can get to lock down other mainstays like Nazem Kadri and Valeri Nichushkin. There have also been rumors that a return to Anaheim could be in his future.
For Cogliano, there’s the possibility of retirement. What better way to go out than on top? The former Edmonton Oiler has spent 15 seasons in the NHL and played in nearly every single game during that period. If the winger wants to lace up the skates for another go-around next season, no one would bat an eye. But I don’t think anyone would either if he decided to ride into the sunset.
Ducks in the Mix for Kadri?
Given the Avalanche’s cap crunch, there’s a chance that someone like Nazem Kadri—set to be an unrestricted free agent (UFA) this summer—could end up on the open market. He missed a chunk of the Stanley Cup Playoffs after being hit from behind by the Edmonton Oilers’ Evander Kane in Game 3 of the Western Conference Final, underwent thumb surgery on June 4 and missed four games. Though, he did return for Game 4 of the Stanley Cup Final and scored the overtime winner.
It seems like ages ago that current Ducks head coach Dallas Eakins was head coach of the Toronto Marlies, the American Hockey League (AHL) affiliate of the Toronto Maple Leafs. But during that time, both Eakins and Kadri were a part of the same organization. TSN’s Shawn Simpson tweeted on Tuesday that the connection between the two of them could lead to the Ducks potentially offering a huge deal to Kadri should he reach the open market.
While the ability to add a top-tier option down the middle like Kadri would do well to take some responsibility off the shoulders of young Trevor Zegras, shelling out big bucks for him doesn’t exactly fit the timeline that Ducks general manager Pat Verbeek is looking at in terms of getting the team back to the playoffs.
In fact, there’s a possibility that Eakins–who had his club option exercised this past April–may not even be the head coach beyond this season. If the Ducks had been able to show this past season that they were ready to make the jump toward becoming a playoff team—like their rivals down I-10—then perhaps such a deal would make sense. But for the time being, don’t expect to see Kadri in the black and orange.
Ducks Announce Preseason Schedule
With key offseason dates quickly approaching, so too is the 2022-23 season. Yesterday, the Ducks announced their slate of preseason games. They will have three home games along with four road matchups.
The Ducks will face off against the Arizona Coyotes, San Jose Sharks and Los Angeles Kings during their preseason, beginning in Tucson at the Coyotes’ “new” venue, Tucson Convention Center, on Sept. 25. The Ducks will then finish with a road matchup against the Kings on Oct. 8.
The Ducks are about to have a busy schedule, starting next week with the NHL Draft. Development camp the following week will give the organization—and fans as well—the chance to see some of their top prospects in action on the same sheet of ice.
Derek has been a hockey fan for over 10 years and a sports fan in general for more than two decades.
Prior to graduating from UCCS in Colorado Springs, CO in May 2020 with a bachelor’s degree in Sports Communication, he spent two and a half years as part of UCCS’ on-campus student newspaper staff–both as a sports reporter and editor. He is now creating Ducks-related content from his home in Southern California.
In his free time he enjoys playing FIFA, watching video essays on YouTube and curating his Spotify playlists.