As one of two notable additions in free agency last week, the Anaheim Ducks signed forward Frank Vatrano to a three-year contract, which carries a $3.65 million cap hit.
Vatrano is 28 years old and this past season, he scored 18 goals and 32 points in 71 games, a pace of 21 goals and 37 points per 82 games. He’s a strong skater who forechecks hard and has a good shot. Vatrano spent the majority of the last five seasons with the Florida Panthers, before being dealt to the New York Rangers last March.
While it’s not a huge splash by any means, signing Vatrano is a really solid move for the Ducks. He’s not going to produce a ton offensively but is a sturdy top-nine winger with a pretty well-rounded game. The forward should be counted on for around 20 goals and 35-40 points, with the ideal spot for him probably being as a third-line forward. He did show he can produce at a higher rate with an elevated role though, scoring 13 goals and 26 points in 42 games with the Rangers between the regular season and playoffs, a pace of 25 goals and 51 points per 82.
A key for the Ducks right now is they have a ton amount of cap space, so Vatrano’s $3.65 million cap hit won’t be overly significant. He should help to provide some stability in the forward group as the Ducks hopefully continue to introduce younger players to the lineup. Plus with a three-year deal, Anaheim isn’t committing long-term, which leaves them with flexibility down the road. Jamie Drysdale, Troy Terry, Trevor Zegras and others will likely all be making a lot more money in a few years, but Vatrano’s deal should be off the books by the time the Ducks near any sort of a cap crunch.
Between this move and the Ryan Strome signing though, it does put the team in an interesting spot. They sold off key pieces at the trade deadline but now seem to be already trying to build back a bit more of a competitive team.
So we’ll see where the Ducks go from here. Vatrano is a nice addition though and should help the team in the short-term.