The Anaheim Ducks are staring down the start of the 2016-17 NHL season with two of their key restricted free agents still sitting without new contracts.
As a result, it looks like the team is trying to make a few deals in order to finish up their offseason transactions.
It was reported on Friday by Blake Price of TSN that the Ducks, who currently have $7.5 million in cap space left to re-sign defenseman Hampus Lindholm and forward Rickard Rakell, are ‘in trade talks’ with an Eastern Conference club to shed ‘a significant contract’. The purpose of the deal, per Price, would be to make room for the team’s two restricted free agents.
The Ducks have a number of contracts that could fall under the ‘significant’ category. On offense, Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry both make over $8 million per season as players 30, while Ryan Kesler makes over $6 million (and will continue to do so until 2022). On defense, things look a bit less extreme – but an aging Kevin Bieksa makes $4 million in each of the next two years, and both Cam Fowler and Sami Vatanen make over $4 million per season on multi-year deals of their own.
Where things get complicated, though, is in considering how tradeable any of those pieces are. Bieksa, Perry, Getzlaf, and Kesler are all on deals with no-movement clauses – and even if the players did agree to waive their trade restrictions, they make up the bulk of the team’s top talent. The team would arguably take a significant slide if they had to deal away most of the players they have on bigger contracts.
The Ducks have until October 12th to get Lindholm and Rakell under contract before the regular season begins; if they do not manage to ink deals before then, one or both players will have to sit out until they are signed.