For the Anaheim Geese, the primary couple days of free company have passed by not with a bang, however a whimper. The one strikes the Geese have made might be described as average organizational depth signings, at greatest.
NEWS: We have signed heart Andrew Poturalski and left wing Blake Pietila to one-year, two-way contracts by the 2019-20 NHL season.https://t.co/RNAbseOPhN— Anaheim Geese (@AnaheimDucks) July 2, 2019Fortunately (or sadly), this isn’t a group that could be a piece or two away from being a contender or jump-starting its rebuild. I’ve seen some opinions on the market that there’s sufficient younger expertise and perception in new coach, Dallas Eakins, that this will probably be a group pushing for a playoff spot, however I don’t see it. No — this one goes to take a while.
And if these opening days of free company are any indication, the Geese are certainly taking a affected person method and totally committing to the rebuild, as they need to. The primary signal that they’re all in on the longer term was the buyout of Corey Perry. This was no simple choice for the group, nevertheless it was the proper one. Now the Geese can deal with transferring ahead, and that focus ought to really start on the group’s again finish as a result of this protection wants some work.
One transfer behind the scenes was bringing in former Los Angeles Kings coach, Darryl Sutter, in an advisory function. Sutter was identified for his defensive system throughout his time with the Kings, which introduced the group two Cups. The Geese additionally introduced again long-time defenseman, Francois Beauchemin, to help with participant improvement.
Darrl Sutter has been introduced in to assist shore up the Geese’ protection. (Kirby Lee/Picture of Sport-US PRESSWIRE)
Nevertheless, these additions to the employees received’t do something to assist their present lack of NHL-ready blue line personnel, nor does the commerce for Nicolas Deslauriers, who will convey some sand to the fourth line and be there to guard the younger forwards. Goaltender John Gibson is probably going on the cellphone with basic supervisor Bob Murray saying “Um, Bob, slightly assist right here?”
Inside Protection Choices for Geese
The group does have three stable, younger defenseman to construct round in Cam Fowler, Hampus Lindholm, and Josh Manson. All will probably be 27 or youthful to begin the season (Manson turns 28 the primary week), placing them firmly of their prime, and every is on a team-friendly contract. Sadly, they will’t play your complete recreation.
Behind them on the depth chart is 31-year-old journeyman Korbinian Holzer, who, since his debut in 2010-11, hasn’t performed greater than 34 video games in a single season. The Geese are hoping prospects Brendan Guhle and Jacob Larsson pan out, and Josh Mahura has impressed sufficient to be subsequent in line, however these are gamers who want extra time, extra seasoning, and aren’t able to be thrust into motion for 82 NHL video games.
The Anaheim Geese are hoping younger defenseman, Brendan Guhle, can step right into a full-time function this season. (Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports activities)
The Geese did signal Finnish league defenseman, Jani Hakanpaa to a one-year contract, presumably to fill one of many vacant spots on the proper facet. The lanky 6-foot-5, 207-pound defenseman will need to have impressed Geese scouts throughout his current efficiency on the World Championships, successful the gold medal as a member of Group Finland.
At the least one, and doubtless two, NHL-caliber defensemen are nonetheless wanted.
Potential Free Agent Protection Targets
This implies the group must look into different choices to plug some holes on the again finish. The primary possibility is free company for the reason that group has some cap house to make use of, particularly as soon as Ryan Kesler and Patrick Eaves presumably each wind up on long-term injured reserve (LTIR), releasing up an extra $9 million in cap house. Loads of serviceable veteran defensemen can be found in the marketplace whom the Geese may signal to cheap one-year offers in hopes of flipping them to contenders on the deadline for future property.
These potential targets embody Dion Phaneuf, Andrew MacDonald, Marc Methot, Niklas Kronwall, Dan Girardi, Andrew McQuaid, and Ben Lovejoy. Lovejoy’s identify has been floated across the Geese given his historical past with the group, and Girardi or McQuaid can be good matches on the proper facet to pair with Guhle or Larsson. However none of those d-men belong in any group’s top-four any longer.
Might dependable defenseman, Ben Lovejoy, be set for a reunion with the Anaheim Geese? (Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports activities)
There are different free agent choices that will match below the “reclamation undertaking” banner. Gamers like Ben Hutton, Michael Del Zotto, Luca Sbisa, and Alex Petrovic have all been forged away regardless of at one level being thought-about top-four defenders. Might they be as soon as once more? Wouldn’t it be well worth the cheap threat to seek out out?
Maybe. However it’s extra possible that the Geese should look to a different avenue for that lacking piece to the highest 4 and that’s by way of commerce.
There are a number of groups on the market who’re feeling the wage cap crunch and who even have a little bit of a logjam on protection. The Geese may use a few of their accessible cap house to soak up a foul contract whereas bettering the protection on the identical time, and so they can possible do it with out having to offer a lot up past the cap reduction in return.
Listed below are just a few potentialities.
The Bruins at present have seven defensemen signed to their NHL roster with restricted free brokers (RFAs) Charlie McAvoy and Brandon Carlo nonetheless needing new contracts. McAvoy and Carlo are constructing blocks for the franchise, and might already command long-term, huge cash contracts, fairly than returning again on bridge offers. Complicating issues is the truth that spark plug, Torey Krug, is because of receives a commission earlier than he reaches unrestricted free agent (UFA) standing subsequent summer season and dependable puck mover, Matt Grzelcyk, will probably be an RFA as nicely. And who is aware of how for much longer Zdeno Chara will play.
This implies some room must be made, each below the cap and on the Bruins’ crowded blue line. The Geese could possibly assist in each areas.
Simply signed final season, John Moore not appears to have a spot within the Bruins’ future plans. And Kevan Miller possible received’t be introduced again when his contract expires after subsequent season. They may each plug into the Geese’ top-six with out difficulty and are available at cap hits the Geese may simply take up ($2.75 million by 2022-23 for Moore, and simply this season at $2.5 million for Miller).
With the group forming on the Bruins blue line, John Moore may very well be a person on the transfer this offseason. (James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports activities)
Certainly, the B’s would like to unload the $6 million they owe David Backes for every of the following two seasons as nicely. Whereas Backes possible desires to chase a Cup at this stage of his profession, he may discover a function in Anaheim and his management can be a welcome addition to assist mentor the group’s younger forwards. If the Bruins can be keen to sweeten the pot with a choose, the Geese may simply be a keen companion.
The Bruins aren’t actually missing anyplace organizationally, so I’m unsure what they might command in return past the cap reduction, and so they might must half with somebody like Jakob Forsback Karlsson or the aforementioned draft choose to make it worthwhile for the Geese. The Geese may ship the useless LTIR contract of Patrick Eaves and an organizational depth participant in return.
Sabres GM Jason Botterill has wheeled and dealt himself right into a scenario the place much more trades appear imminent, with younger defenseman Rasmus Ristolainen’s identify being tossed round greater than some other. The 2 groups are acquainted, having labored out a commerce involving Brandon Montour final season, so maybe they might get collectively once more to maneuver a defenseman throughout the nation.
Puck-moving defenseman, Rasmus Ristolainen, may contribute on the Geese’ energy play. (Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports activities)
Ristolainen, regardless of his deficiencies, may slot into the opening on the proper facet within the Geese’ top-four and assistance on the facility play. The Sabres aren’t up towards the cap and wish offense in return, making this another difficult than any potential take care of the Bruins.
New York Rangers
The Rangers most likely have probably the most incentive to maneuver a defenseman, with cash wanted for newly-acquired Jacob Trouba and the blossoming Anthony DeAngelo, each who determine to be a part of the group’s future. Younger ahead Pavel Buchnevich and Brendan Lemieux additionally want new contracts.
Many have written Kevin Shattenkirk out of city, as accidents and a foul system match have fully derailed his dream homecoming with the Rangers. He may slide properly into the function Montour vacated when he was traded to Buffalo, beside Lindholm, and on the primary power-play unit. Brendan Smith is one other contract the Rangers would love to dump.
Issues haven’t labored out for Kevin Shattenkirk in New York. Maybe a transfer west may assist reignite his profession. (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)
Nevertheless, there’s a catch, as each have no-trade clauses constructed into their contracts. Anaheim must be on both of their 10-team accredited commerce lists. The Geese may additionally get the Rangers to toss in one in every of their many younger highly-touted forwards, with Lias Andersson being the one the Rangers are at present most definitely to half with. The Rangers can also unload Chris Kreider fairly than doubtlessly lose him to free company subsequent summer season or finish the Buchnevich undertaking, granting him a change of surroundings to appreciate his potential. Any take care of the Rangers would give the Geese the absolute best return.
The very best state of affairs? Shattenkirk and Girardi/McQuaid/Lovejoy and doubtlessly different items come over to the Geese, with out the group having to surrender a lot. if any, property in return. The wage cap period is a stupendous factor if you’re on the great facet of the scenario.