Thursday, February 26, 2009

Ducks to Fly High

The acquisition of Ryan Whitney today adds an interesting piece to the puzzle in Anaheim, while the exclusion of Chris Kunitz makes some more room up front for Bobby Ryan to flourish. Whitney and Ryan are both signed up for next season and they are both poised to make an impact, depending on what the team does with all of it's free space this summer.

The Ducks currently only have 10 players (see below) on this season's current roster that are locks to suit up for them in 2010 and even one or two of those have been rumoured to be expendable. The current 10 players are worth $34.3 million against the cap, but they could be ready to shift another player to make their position heading into the free agent frenzy in July, all the more exciting.

Ryan GetzlafChris ProngerJ-S Giguere
Corey PerryRyan WhitneyJonas Hiller
Bobby Ryan

Teemu Selanne

George Parros

Ryan Carter

The Ducks go into the trade deadline in the playoff hunt, currently tied in points with the 7th place Wild and 8th place Stars, but sit in 10th due to the tie-breakers. You can't count the Ducks out quite yet. However, the team has 10 key players who are going to become UFA's in July and it is fun to speculate who may or may not go before March 4th. Of course, you don't have to be a UFA to be considered, just ask Chris Pronger, who's head has been on the chopping block for a while now, thanks to his huge contract. Even with the way that Jonas Hiller has been playing of late, J-S Giguere might be feeling someone standing in behind him, watching him intently.

The Ducks have a great core of young players signed on up front and the addition of Ryan Whitney to the back-end has now built themselves a very reliable source of offense for a few years to come. That has to be exciting for the Ducks. I am curious to see how they build around it this summer and who they end up re-signing to make up some of those gaps.

If Pronger goes for prospects and/or picks, that would leave the Ducks cap hit for next season down to $28+ million, which is a great lump of clay to work with, especially with Getzlaf, Perry & Whitney in tow... not to mention Selanne. If somehow, they can get some reasonable value out of the Pronger deal for active roster players, they could arguably be in the running for best position possible heading into the summer.

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