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With the Anaheim Ducks likely still a few years off from really competing again, it remains to be seen as to what kind of moves will be made by the Ducks this offseason. One thing that should be for certain, however, is the organization leveraging their cap space, in one way or another.
Anaheim has significant cap flexibility entering the offseason, with roughly around $40 million in cap space and already about 15 players under contract (along with few notable players in need of extensions). They have some options as to how they could use it and as one of very few teams with a ton of flexibility, the Ducks can’t pass up on the opportunity to use it.
The most obvious option would be to add, but they have to be cautious about their timeline and making sure anyone added can still provide an impact multiple years down the road. We’ll almost surely see a defenseman or two brought in but it’s a matter of how big the Ducks could go with those additions.
They could also look to sign some unrestricted free agents as rentals and then flip them at the deadline for future assets, even with salary retained. It would be an easy way to pick up extra assets, though with a very young roster, the Ducks don’t want to take spots away from younger talent.
The other route, and one that I’ve talked about before as something I think the team should explore, is taking on bad contracts for assets. We almost saw this with the Evgenii Dadonov trade, where the Ducks would’ve taken the forward in order to get a second-round pick in the process.
It’s a way to gain assets for free and especially if a contract only has a year remaining on it, there’s no reason for the Ducks to pass up the opportunity. Some possible players that come to mind would be Milan Lucic and Jason Zucker or even players with multiple years left at a lower cap hit, like Zack Kassian or Petr Mrazek.
The point is, the Ducks have a lot of options but in a league where cap space is so valuable, the organization can’t waste an opportunity to either add players or leverage the cap space to add assets.
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