How The Anaheim Ducks Won The Trade Deadline

There’s a notion in the NHL that to get, you must give, and even sometimes give a lot more than what you’re getting. This season’s trade deadline saw the Anaheim Ducks get quite a bit, while giving insanely little.

Only a week ago the Ducks had Rene Bourque’s two goals as a Duck, William Karlsson, Ben Lovejoy, the shell of Dany Heatley’s shell, and Devante Smith-Pelly in their organizational depth chart. By Monday afternoon, they had turned all that into James Wisniewski, Jiri Sekac, Tomas Flesichmann, and Simon Despres. Talk about an upgrade.

James Wisniewski For Spare Parts

Perhaps the most impactful trade that Bob Murray has made is bringing back former Duck James Wisniewski, who is one of the league’s better offensive defensemen. With a booming shot from the point that penalty killers have to respect, Wisniewski will undoubtedly help an Anaheim power play that hasn’t been all that impressive at times.

Even if Wisniewski only marginally helps the Ducks, the price at which Murray acquired him was incredibly low for a solid NHL defenseman. Anaheim only had to give away Rene Bourque, William Karlsson, and a second round pick in this year’s draft.

As crazy as it may sound, the second-rounder that was shipped to Columbus may be the most valuable asset that the Jackets got in return. 2015 is projected to be a loaded draft, so that pick holds quite a bit of value.

Karlsson has shown flashes of being a competent NHL player, but he was never by any means going to be a franchise cornerstone. As for Rene Bourque, the Ducks rid themselves of a player who brought basically nothing in terms of offense during his brief California stint.

Simon Despres For Ben Lovejoy

Ben Lovejoy has been a serviceable defenseman for the Ducks this season. A hilarious personality in the locker room, Lovejoy brought stability with some decent puck-moving ability and physicality. Yet at 31 years of age, there’s little reason to believe that he’ll progress.

Simon Despres, on the other hand, is only 23. At 6′ 4″, 214 pounds, he adds a big body to the Ducks’ blueline that can skate and make a good first pass out of the defensive zone. His possession statistics have also been healthy this season, staying above 50 percent at even strength.

Murray not only improved his defense corps in the short term by adding Despres, but also in the long term given his youth and potential.

Tomas Fleischmann for Dany Heatley

Dany Heatley has played more games in the AHL this season than he has in the NHL. That’s all that needs to be said about his Ducks tenure (we’ll call it that).

For Heatley and a third rounder, Anaheim managed to bring in Fleischmann, a familiar face for Bruce Boudreau who coached him in Washington.

The veteran winger hasn’t had an outstanding season, but he’s historically been able to chip in some offense in a bottom-six role. Not only is he an upgrade over Heatley, but his presence provides Boudreau more flexibility in composing his lineup.

Jiri Sekac For Devante Smith-Pelly

Many believe that this trade was a classic “hockey” trade, meaning that both teams gave up an asset to get a different type of asset.

There is very little truth to that. Smith-Pelly, for all the physicality that he brought, was basically an afterthought offensively. Sure, he had a hot streak in last year’s playoffs, but a larger sample size tells us that he produced very little offensively while dragging down the team’s possession while on the ice.

Sekac detractors point to the fact that he barely produced at all while in Montreal. That’s an absolutely fair point, yet Sekac’s impact on the game can’t be defined simply by goals and assists. It also must be noted that Sekac is playing his first professional season in North America.

In just a few games with the Ducks, he’s already shown that he can contribute offensively, delivering incredible passes. He actually attempts to control the puck when entering the offensive zone, leading to more possession, unlike Smith-Pelly who would far too often settle with dumping the puck into the corner.

Both players are only 22 years old, but anyone who’s watched both closely can say without losing any sleep that Sekac has far more potential. The Ducks got the more talented player in the trade, and that should only become more evident as time passes by.

“Winning” The Trade Deadline

No one wins the Stanley Cup on trade deadline day. Some of the biggest trades ever made at the deadline haven’t resulted in Cup victories (think back to Marian Hossa heading to Pittsburgh in 2008, or Thomas Vanek heading to Montreal last season).

Too often around the league, the future of the franchise is mortgaged to have a better shot at the Cup in the present. Bob Murray defied that convention these past few days. Aside from Wisniewski and Fleischmann, he brought in players like Sekac and Despres who can not only help the team this season, but in coming seasons as well. That’s highly encouraging for any Ducks fan.

In the process, he’s also been able to improve his club without letting go of any major assets. No first round picks were flipped; Sami Vatanen, Matt Beleskey, Cam Fowler, and John Gibson are all still members of the Anaheim Ducks. That’s quite the accomplishment.

Instead, Murray unloaded players who were either overpaid (Bourque, Brewer), unproductive (Bourque, Heatley, Lovejoy), or relatively inconsequential (Karlsson, Smith-Pelly). Three draft picks were traded, yet only two are in this year’s stacked draft.

Bob Murray already has a General Manager Of The Year award under his belt. If the Ducks march into the playoffs with their newly improved team, there’s a strong possibility that he could add another one.

9 thoughts on “How The Anaheim Ducks Won The Trade Deadline”

  1. Good read- nice to see that your being positive about the trades made. You clearly love your hockey club Felix. Having said that Anaheim gave up a ton in return. Infact most of these trades are loses by themselves for the ducks long term. JW and TF are both of very little value moving forward and have seen much better days, albeit an upgrade to the current situation, giving up a 2nd and a 3rd in the deepest draft in recent memory is NOT a small price to pay for 2 old guys!! Sekac is totally unproven at this point and its public belief that DSP is and will be a much more impactful player now and in the future. Karlsson also is a big prospect that has more potential than you know I think. Depres is the really the best part of the entire trade deadline, he’s young, big, and has not reached his potential!

    • One must consider that the Ducks were able to shed Bourque, Brewer and Heatley and at the same time did NOT trade their first round pick. That was a lot of dead weight especially with Borque’s extra year. All the analysts are saying that the outgoing pieces were minimal for the return.They have a very stacked prospect pool and have drafted well, to not have a second rounder this year will not be a deal breaker. Have you seen how many of their young draft picks are currently filling a big role with the club (Fowler, Vatanen, Lindholm, Etem, Rakell, Andersen, Gibson) not counting Getzlaf, Perry, Maroon etc?

      DSP is a loss but a redundancy with Maroon ie. a big guy with marginal hands and not that fast. Plus Sekac fits the Ducks system more and has already shown in a few games that he has more potential than Montreal allowed. This public belief is nothing when the public is pissed and trying to justify losing Sekac. Karlsson is a redundancy with Rakell who has been fantastic the last few months, but is also bigger and a year younger. I’d take Rakell, especially based on recent history.

      To say that Wiz is not an upgrade is delusional. Was he better last year? Sure. But adding that kind of shot to the point and getting two additional years to bridge the Ducks to extending Vatanen and Lindholm…brilliant! Fleischmann is not a huge upgrade but he adds a skilled depth player that will be huge if one of the wingers goes down in the playoffs. And his contract expires at year end.

  2. I have actually started to feel a little hatred towards MB and MT for getting rid of Sekac and not using him properly while he was here. He is a sure-fire top six forward. Speed and hands galore.
    Just make sure you put him in a situation where he can use his talents and not dump him on third and fourth line duty with no support. Then he’ll do what anyone else would do. Nothing.

  3. Who is the HC of the Inferior SoCal NHL Team? Bruce BOOBreau! It is no small coincidence he has NEVER made a CF. Look for that to continue. He is the NHL equivalent of Marty Schottenheimer – Solid Reg Season – CHOKES in Playoffs. The Inferior Ones will be tested in Opening Round and might get by but will get KOd in WCSF by the Kings because the Inferior Ones are built for 82 games while The Defending SC Champs are built for 28. Inferior Ones weak at goalie, line depth and most important – HC. BOOBreau will do something stupid – like he always does and it will cost him the chance to make the CF once again. Be happy all ya want Inferior Team’s fans – there is a very valid reason you are the most ignorant fans in the NHL and among the most ignorant in all of sports.

    • When somebody goes to this length to badmouth an opposing team its definitely rooted from feelings of inferiority. We already knew the Ducks were better, you didn’t have to emphasize it!

    • Eh…Rick, thanks for your wisdom. Come April, we’ll find out how right NOT you are, as your Queens will be most likely watching the playoffs from the 19th hole. I hope that your INFERIOR intellect won’t stop you from watching the playoffs and especially the again MIGHTY Ducks march to our SECOND Cup, while your cup of tears runneth over. I have a question, though, Rick, can you even skate, have you ever played the game? I have and I do. What gives you the right to insult Ducks’ fans, dumbo?

  4. Lovejoy unproductive? seriously, that guy was really strong the last games and helped us stealing points. and he’s a great character. losing him with his chemistry in the team will probably a bigger loss than the upgrade depres can bring on the ice

  5. Good writing and analysis….
    Add in the dump of Eric Brewer $2.8M contract to the Leafs for Holzer $800K
    In each of these trade…Bob Marray had managed to improve the team little by little and one piece at a time. Little by little could add up to be a huge overall improvements to the team…
    Wow the Ducks add all these pieces and by fleeting seldom used players…Indeed they got a lot and gave up 3 draft picks. WOW!!!

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