Anaheim: Desperation Trades?

January 16th was an eventful day for the Anaheim Ducks; three separate trades occurred throughout the evening. This followed Anaheim’s acquisition of Devin Shore from the Dallas Stars in exchange for Andrew Cogliano on the 14th.

The Ducks lost 12 games in a row, going from third in the Pacific to being out of a wildcard spot and 11 points behind Vegas for a divisional playoff spot. The team’s lack of recent success led to speculation and questioning from the press and from fans regarding the job security of head coach, Randy Carlyle. Ducks General Manager, Bob Murray, shot down an rumors by giving a statement in which he said that he is not considering a coaching change.

In the game following Murray’s statement, Anaheim lost to the Detroit Red Wings, bringing us to Wednesday night. The trades that occurred were minor; there were no star players involved and the exchanges were between good AHL players and lower tier NHL players. It’s the number and frequency that makes the moves interesting.

The first of Anaheim’s three trades was with the Minnesota Wild. The Ducks sent Pontus Aberg to Minnesota in exchange for Justin Kloos. Kloos had 30 points 34 games with Iowa Wild. Aberg spent most of the 2018/2019 with the Anaheim Ducks, scoring 19 points in 37 games.

That happened Wednesday afternoon. About six hours later, the Ducks were involved in a trade with the Vancouver Canucks; Anaheim acquired Michael Del Zotto in exchange for Luke Schenn and a 7th round pick in 2020. Vancouver also retained 25% of Del Zotto’s salary.

The night wasn’t done yet. Closely following the Schenn-Del Zotto trade, Elliotte Friedman published this tweet.

As usual, Friedman’s tweet came to fruition less than an hour later when he announced that Anaheim reacquired Derek Grant from the Pittsburgh Penguins for Joseph Blandisi. Grant, a center, has 5 points in 25 games with Penguins this season, after spending last year with the Ducks. Blandisi, also a center, has spent most of this season playing on the San Diego Gulls and has 23 points in 27 games.

None of these moves are groundbreaking. They appear to be trades done to shake up the locker room with the hope that changing something will bring the Ducks out of their slump. Maybe some personnel changes is all Anaheim needs to get back on track, but looking deeper at their newly acquired players, it does not look promising.

Sean Tierney put out this tweet this morning that compares the GAR totals (goals above replacement) of the players traded over the last week. (Kloos is not included because he has not played in the NHL.)

Out of all the players traded, Aberg is the biggest name and it surprises me that the Ducks would get rid of him. Anaheim has struggled massively to generate shots and score goals. (Randy Carlyle hockey = get severely out shot and rely on your goalie.) When comparing 5v5 shot share, the Ducks are well below league average

Jakob Silfverberg is leading the Ducks in goals with 12. Aberg was tied for second with 11 before he was traded. He’s been one of the few guys on the Ducks with any offensive success this season. He was also fifth on the team in GAR.

There may have been other factors leading into his departure from the Ducks, but Aberg has a fresh start and an opportunity to prove himself.

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Mara Bowden

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