The Anaheim Ducks continue to hover on the edge of a playoff spot in the Pacific Division. The February 29 trade deadline is a little over a month away, and it’s a safe bet that the Ducks will be looking for a boost.
Anaheim remains last in goal scoring and is rumored to be looking for a top line winger. Here are several attractive trade options that could be coming to Southern California in the next few weeks.
As the rumors about Drouin continue to swirl, it appears as if the Ducks are among the teams that have backed off of pursuing Tampa Bay’s young winger. Anaheim likely has concerns over Drouin’s maturity, but the 20-year old will have a chance to improve as a person as well as a player under Anaheim’s veteran leadership.
Drouin should still be on Anaheim’s radar simply because of his skill level. He’s a future top-line player with insane talent, as evidenced by his back-to-back 100-point seasons in the QMJHL, and he would add some needed flash to Anaheim’s grinding offensive play.
Drouin’s trade value has diminished due to the way him and his agent have handled the situation with Tampa, so now is as good a time as any for the Ducks to make a splash.
The captain of the Carolina Hurricanes is the first of the players on this list that has experience playing alongside Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry. He played left wing with the “Twins” on Canada’s gold-medal-winning team at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics.
The 31-year old is likely on the decline, but remains a potent sniper. Staal is in need of a change, and being on the receiving end of Ryan Getzlaf passes could rejuvenate the former 100-point scorer.
At 6’4 he also brings size and a style of play that would mesh with Anaheim’s physical play below the goal line.
Skinner hasn’t enjoyed quite the same level of success that was expected after he burst into the league with 31 goals as an 18-year old in 2010, but he is a skilled scorer who could get his game back on track with a fresh start.
Skinner is a powerful skater with soft hands, which he uses to score the occasional highlight-reel goal. He would slot in nicely on the top line or alongside Rickard Rakell on a secondary scoring line.
As the Hurricanes continue to struggle it gets more and more probable that they will be sellers at the trade deadline, and Skinner could be a player they are willing to move. His injury history could be a concern for the Ducks, but he’s talented enough to make an impact in Anaheim’s top six.
Stop me if you’ve heard this before: the Edmonton Oilers are struggling.
Edmonton’s plethora of first overall draft picks have been devastated by injury this season, as Taylor Hall is the only one of the four to play in every game thus far. When the Oilers’ young guns get healthy there is bound to be an odd man out, and a possible choice is Nail Yakupov.
Yakupov hasn’t quite lived up to the hype around him after going first overall in 2012. The young Russian sniper could benefit from a change of scenery, and Edmonton GM Peter Chiarelli is could be looking to add a defenseman.
This would be a risky trade for Anaheim, but Yakupov has a wicked shot and potential to be a solid top-six scorer.
This is an interesting thought for Anaheim. Byfuglien is unique, maybe the most versatile player in the league.
Big Buff is a force on defense, playing a punishing physical game and often spearheading the offense on the rush. He is also a talented forward, using his size and skills to dominate opponents below the hashmarks.
— Sportsnet (@Sportsnet) January 27, 2016
Imagine Byfuglien on a line with Perry and Getzlaf? Scary. He would make an immediate impact, and his ability to play both positions would give the Ducks flexibility in case of injuries.
The only knocks on Buff are his tendency to take bad penalties and the fact that he’s a pending unrestricted free agent. It’s questionable if Anaheim would be able to match the towering defenseman’s asking price, and the Ducks would need to give up too much to risk losing him for nothing.
What to expect?
Anaheim has the the necessary pieces to trade for a top-line scoring winger, and Ducks GM Bob Murray has shown he is willing to make deals if he thinks it will help his club.
Look for Anaheim to deal one of its many young defenseman, as well as potentially a roster forward and draft pick, for a top-six scoring forward before the trade dealine.