Kukla's Korner Hockey
by Paul on 02/13/17 at 09:44 AM ET
from Eric Stephens of the OC Register,
“The phone has started to ring, not specifically about the young defensemen but more about teams preparing for the deadline,” said Murray, who recently returned from Europe on a scouting trip.
Cam Fowler, once a hot subject of trade rumors, is still coveted – Buffalo and Detroit have long imagined him in their defense corps – but his play in 2016-17 has been so good that he is essential to the Ducks’ playoff push and belief in a lengthy postseason run.
Hampus Lindholm is their best defender and locked into a new, lucrative six-year contract. He is a cornerstone piece. But the Ducks have other pieces that teams inquire about. Pieces that could upgrade their forward lineup and add depth – the kind needed to go up against Minnesota, Chicago and San Jose.
The Ducks signed Sami Vatanen to a four-year extension for nearly $20 million. They’ve also got physical Josh Manson under contract through next season. Two other youngsters, Shea Theodore and Brandon Montour, are with the club now and looking to establish themselves as NHL regulars.
Murray also has prospect Jacob Larsson stashed in Sweden. All the defenders, including Fowler, are 25 years and younger. Pieces that will have other general managers checking in often and inquiring what will it take to acquire one.
One could be used to get the Ducks another quality forward. They’re 19th in the NHL in scoring offense, 18th in goals and 24th in shots on goal. And the 94 goals generated during five-on-five play puts them behind 23 teams.
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