Ducks News & Rumors: Rakell, Vatanen & More

Lots of moving parts for the Anaheim Ducks as we head into the more “meaningful” part of the regular season. How the Ducks perform over the course of the next month and beyond could impact who is still here following the NHL’s trade deadline at the end of next month.

Rakell Scores 150th Career Goal

Last week wasn’t the best of the season by any means, as the Ducks suffered two heavy losses to a pair of division foes. However, Saturday proved to be more fruitful as the Ducks snapped their four-game losing streak with a 7-4 win over the Vancouver Cancuks.

Among the goal-scorers was Rickard Rakell, who potted the 150th goal of his career. The past few seasons haven’t exactly been prolific for Rakell, a previous two-time 30-goal scorer. This season looks to be a bit of a renaissance for the Swede. Though he still isn’t close to being the consistent goal-scorer of yesteryear, he is projected to reach his highest point total since the 2017-18 season, when he scored 34 goals and had 69 points.

Related: Ducks News & Rumors: Lundestrom, Rakell & More

An unrestricted free agent this upcoming offseason, Rakell has scored six goals in the last seven games–he also had the winning goal in the shootout last night against the San Jose Sharks–and could be a player on the move come the trade deadline. Thanks to his team-friendly salary, there should be plenty of playoff contenders in the hunt to bring him to their side as a potential rental and add some scoring depth.

Nonis Parts Ways with Ducks

Assistant general manager Dave Nonis parted ways with the Ducks on Saturday after seven seasons (three as assistant GM) with the team (from, ‘Ducks part ways with assistant GM Dave Nonis: Sources, The Athletic, 02/19/22). He was in the last year of his contract and will now presumably seek a front-office position with another NHL organization. Nonis, who previously spent time as general manager of both the Canucks and the Toronto Maple Leafs, was one of the Ducks’ internal candidates for the open general manager position prior to Pat Verbeek’s appointment at the beginning of the month.

Scott Niedermayer, who recently returned to the organization as special advisor of hockey operations, will assume some of the duties left by Nonis, while Martin Madden Jr. and Jeff Solomon will remain in capacity with the Ducks as assistant general managers.

Former Duck Vatanen Wins Gold with Finland

Several former Ducks took part in the Winter Olympics, with a more notable name winning a gold medal with Team Finland. Sami Vatanen was drafted in the fourth round of the 2009 NHL Entry Draft by the Ducks and spent parts of six seasons before being included in the deal that saw Adam Henrique arrive in Anaheim from the New Jersey Devils. Vatanen played four seasons with the Devils before being traded to the Carolina Hurricanes during the 2019-20 season. He was then claimed off waivers by the Dallas Stars late last season and appeared in nine games.

Sami Vatanen, NHL, Anaheim Ducks
Former Anaheim Ducks defenseman Sami Vatanen (Photo by Andy Martin Jr.)

This season, Vatanen has been playing in the Swiss league for Genève-Servette HC and looks to be turning back the clock, with 33 points in 29 games thus far. He also added three points (all assists) in six games at the Winter Olympics en route to Finland’s first Olympic gold medal in men’s ice hockey after they defeated ROC 2-1 in the final game.

Getzlaf Returns from Injury

Ryan Getzlaf missed the tail-end of the Ducks’ back-to-back last week with a lower-body injury and was unavailable for Saturday’s game against the Canucks as well. But the captain returned for last night’s game against the Sharks and took his customary spot as the top-line center. He went scoreless with 14:29 time on ice in his return.

Getzlaf has long been one of the catalysts for the Ducks offense over the years, and adding him back into the lineup gives head coach Dallas Eakins another veteran player that he can rely on time and time again throughout the game.

Ducks Begin Extension Talks with Lindholm

Verbeek has reached out to Hampus Lindholm’s camp to get an idea of what the common ground would look like for a potential contract extension, TSN’s Pierre LeBrun reported on Tuesday. Like Rakell, Lindholm is currently on track to become an unrestricted free agent in the summer and will surely be one of the biggest free-agent blueliners if he does indeed hit the open market.

With the Ducks still hanging around in terms of securing a playoff spot in the Pacific Division, it’s unclear whether they plan to make Lindholm available as a rental for other playoff contenders or if they will decide to keep the defenseman in hopes of retaining him through this season by locking him down to a long-term deal.

There’s just about a month remaining until the trade deadline, so the Ducks’ performances during the next 30 days or so could drastically impact their trade deadline decisions.

Former GM Murray Joins Flames

Former Ducks general manager Bob Murray has joined the Calgary Flames as a scout, reported The Athletic’s Eric Stephens. (from, ‘Former Ducks GM Bob Murray joins Flames as scout: Sources’ The Athletic, 02/22/22)

Murray resigned from his post as both executive vice president and general manager earlier this season after the Ducks investigated him for accusations of improper professional conduct with players and staff. He was in attendance at Tuesday night’s game between the Ducks and Sharks.

After their 4-3 shootout win to the Sharks last night, the Ducks continue their six-game homestand with a Freeway Faceoff matchup against the Los Angeles Kings on Friday. With the two teams neck and neck in the standings, Friday’s result could have major implications on the playoff picture.

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