Who will the Anaheim Ducks re-sign and who will they let test the waters?
In my last article, I broke down the Anaheim Ducks draft options, and selected Trevor Zegras at ninth overall. Upon doing this, we all know Zegras won’t be on the Ducks roster, as he committed to Boston University for next season, and therefore will play no part in my decision making during the re-sign phase.
So, who will the Ducks bring back, after one of their worst seasons in recent memory?
Upcoming Unrestricted Forward Free Agents: Derek Grant
Derek Grant: 4 goals, 10 assists, 48.0 Corsi-For%, Averaged 11:41 Time On Ice (played 56 games)
With the salary cap inevitably rising, and the new cap being projected at $83M for next season, that gives the Ducks roughly $8.44M in space.
So, there’s no need for Grant in Anaheim with the youth movement seemingly in effect.
Upcoming Unrestricted Defenseman Free Agents: Korbinian Holzer
Korbinian Holzer: 1 goal, 3 assists, 46.7 CF%, Averaged 16:04 TOI (played only 22 games)
Surprisingly enough, Holzer played a somewhat important role when he drew into the lineup, averaging just over 16 minutes. With that in mind, you also have to look at the fact that they really don’t have a defense. With Jacob Larsson and the rest of the d-core not including Holzer, they only had 5 defenseman.
They could re-sign Andrej Sustr, who got buried in the AHL this season. They could try out Jake Dotchin next season, but he’s had issues in the past in terms of weight-gain in the off-season. They could try Josh Mahura, but that’s a stretch, as he isn’t quite ready yet. Or, finally, they could take the simple option and sign or trade for a depth defenseman this off-season.
In my honest opinion, I believe that Anaheim will re-up Holzer’s deal for the same price it was last season ($900k) for another year, and target another defenseman in free agency, which I will get into in my next article.
Upcoming Unrestricted Goalie Free Agents: Ryan Miller, Chad Johnson
Ryan Miller: 8-7-2 record, 2.76 goals against average, .912 save percentage, 1.10 Goals saved above average
John Gibson’s backup didn’t draw into many games, but he did post solid numbers when he was in net.
Miller is still a solid goaltender despite his age (38), and could be a great backup, regardless of the team he is on. But, Gibson needs a guy who can draw into the lineup far more often to lessen his workload. With Miller’s age, as well as his dramatic decline in game starts over the last 3 seasons (54, 21, 17, respectively), he is not the backup that Anaheim needs. I see them parting ways this off-season.
Chad Johnson: 2-11-0, 3.63 GAA, .879 SV%, -12.41 GSAA
All I can say, is yikes. Johnson was traded to Anaheim part way through the regular season. In his short stint, he posted an 0-5-0 record with the Ducks.
He had awful stats and was eventually placed on Long Term Injured Reserve. I don’t see any possible way that the Ducks re-sign Johnson this off-season.
Kevin Boyle, their AHL affiliate San Diego Gulls net-minder, could very well backup Gibson, but he would not provide them with a backup who can eat minutes away from Gibson.
So perhaps, Murray will explore a trade for a backup. I’ll touch on that in my next post.
All-in-all, it’s a very simple re-sign phase for the Ducks. Not a lot of moving pieces or tough decisions to be made here.
Instead, the Ducks need to worry about off-load some bad contracts, somehow get out of the Ryan Kesler contract, and addressing their many needs in free agency will be the real test.
stats from hockey-reference.com and NHL.com
featured image photo credit – Nikos Michals