Latest Ducks and Rangers Speculation – April 18, 2018
Could an early playoff exit force the Anaheim Ducks to shake up their core? Is it a certainty Ilya Kovalchuk will sign with the New York Rangers? Read on for the latest in your NHL rumor mill.
CHANGES IN STORE FOR DUCKS CORE?
FANRAG SPORTS NETWORK: Chris Nichols cited Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman and TSN’s Darren Dreger yesterday speculating over possible offseason moves by the Anaheim Ducks. Appearing Tuesday on Vancouver’s Sportsnet 650, Friedman pondered if a possible early exit from the 2018 playoffs might prompt the front office to “change their philosophy”, pointing out it’s not only that they’re losing but how they’re losing in their opening-round series against the San Jose Sharks.
Friedman wondered “if they start to look and see is it time for some of the guys who have been there a long time,” such as veteran forwards Ryan Getzlaf, Corey Perry and Ryan Kesler, who all carry expensive long-term contracts with no-movement clauses. Getzlaf and Perry each have three seasons remaining on their contracts while Kesler has four. Friedman noted Getzlaf is still a good player but Perry’s production has declined while Kesler’s physical style is taking a toll on his body.
Appearing on Vancouver’s TSN 1040, Dreger doesn’t think the Ducks can return with the same core group next season for another kick at the can. Like Friedman, he cited their one-sided losses in their opening-round series with the Sharks. If the Ducks wanted to extricate themselves from one of those expensive contract, Dreger believes there would be teams with considerable interest in Getzlaf or Perry if either guy was placed on the trade block. He thinks clubs that lose out on the bidding for New York Islanders center John Tavares via free agency could be very interested in Getzlaf or Perry.
SPECTOR’S NOTE: Friedman and Dreger are merely speculating about the Ducks’ offseason plans. They aren’t saying Getzlaf, Perry or Kesler will definitely get traded. Indeed, if the trio is unwilling to waive their movement clauses there’s nothing the Ducks can do about it. They could attempt to buy out one of them but that would leave them with expensive salary-cap hits for the next six-to-eight years.
Of the three, Getzlaf would have the most value in the trade market. Though the 32-year-old center missed 26 games this season to injuries he still managed 61 points in 56 games. Teams that fail to land Tavares would certainly come calling on Getzlaf if he becomes available this summer in the trade market.
Perry, 32, had a respectable 49 points in 71 games but his stats have declined over the last two years. Injuries limited the 33-year-old Kesler to just 44 games, raising questions about his durability.
Assuming one of these three would agree to waive their no-movement clause, their respective contracts could hamper efforts to swing a deal with another club. The Ducks could be forced to pick up part of the salary-cap hit.
LATEST ON THE “KOVALCHUK TO THE RANGERS” SPECULATION
FANRAG SPORTS NETWORK: Chris Nichols cited Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman’s appearance Monday on the NHL Network discussing the future of KHL winger Ilya Kovalchuk’s intention to return to the NHL this summer via free agency. he said the feeling around the league is Kovalchuk wants to join the New York Rangers and the club does have some interest. He noted Kovalchuk can talk to teams but he can’t officially sign a contract until July 1.
NEW YORK POST: On Sunday, Larry Brooks said the Rangers need Kovalchuk more than he needs them. “And certainly neither side can commit to the other until the Blueshirts have a coach in place.”
SPECTOR’S NOTE: The Rangers are rebuilding with youth but they also want to add an experienced veteran or two to help them remain competitive and take some pressure off their developing youngsters. There were recent reports out of Russia speculating Kovalchuk could get a three-year deal from the Rangers but I doubt they’ll commit to more than a two-year deal. While there’s no guarantee the Rangers will sign Kovalchuk, expect the two to be linked in free-agent speculation leading up to July 1.