Top-four defensemen who are really talented, young and signed to a team-friendly contract are so hard to find on the NHL trade market. That said, the Anaheim Ducks could move one blueliner who fits that description before the Vegas Golden Knights expansion draft on June 21.
“A lot of people are looking at the Ducks ahead of the expansion draft and feeling like maybe there’s a gun to their head. I’m not sure that’s how (the Ducks) view it, because frankly, they’re in a great position when you consider how many teams in the NHL are in dire need of an upgrade on D and they happen to have one they possibly can move,” Pierre LeBrun said Wednesday on TSN’s “Insider Trading.”
“I think it’s Sami Vatanen. I’m told teams are absolutely lining up in their interest for him. Among the teams I think have interest are Toronto, Tampa Bay, New Jersey. But honestly, there’s more teams than that. If the Ducks move ahead on a trade for Sami Vatanen, I think it allows them to protect all the guys they really want to.”
The Ducks have the best blue line depth of any team in the league. In addition to their NHL talent on the back end, several promising prospects such as 2015 first-round draft pick Jacob Larsson haven’t even made their pro debuts yet.
Anaheim can afford to trade one of their young D-men and remain a power in the Western Conference.
With so many teams reportedly interested in acquiring Vatanen, the Ducks should be able to start a bidding war and acquire a few quality assets for the 26-year-old defenseman.
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