Mar 30, 2016; Anaheim, CA, USA; Anaheim Ducks center Ryan Kesler (17), defenseman Hampus Lindholm (47), left wing Jakob Silfverberg (33), defenseman Cam Fowler (4)and Aleft wing Jamie McGinn (88) head back to the bench after a goal in the third period of the game against the Calgary Flames at Honda Center. Ducks won 8-3. Mandatory Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports
Anaheim Ducks are Facing a Conundrum in Order to Re-Sign Restricted Free Agent Defenseman Hampus Lindholm. An Inevitable Trade is on the Horizon that Likely Includes Cam Fowler, But GM Bob Murray Will Need to Shed More Salary if He Hopes to Add an Impact Player
Based on reports, the Anaheim Ducks and RFA defenseman Hampus Lindholm are believed to be close on a new deal. Elliotte Friedman said on Saturday that the two sides were roughly $700,000 dollars apart on the annual figure, but that gap is continually narrowing.
Even if they manage to hammer out a deal tomorrow, it’s not as though the Ducks could afford put Lindholm in the lineup. As it stands following the Mason Raymond demotion, Anaheim has $1,318,000 dollars in cap space.
What is Lindholm Worth?
Many are pointing at two notable contracts from the summer as comparables. Colorado signed Tyson Barrie to a $5.5 million dollar/year cap hit, while Columbus inked Seth Jones to a $5.4 million dollar cap hit.
The annual average value (AAV) for Lindholm will depend on the term. If he’s signing a max-term deal, his cap hit will be a bit lower. If he signs a short bridge contract, that cap number rises. Instead, don’t be surprised if the two sides compromise and meet somewhere in the middle.
This is purely speculation, but it wouldn’t surprising to see something in the range of five years with a $5.25 million dollar cap hit.
Apr 19, 2016; Nashville, TN, USA; Anaheim Ducks defenseman Cam Fowler (4) skates behind the net against the Nashville Predators right winger James Neal (18) during the first period in game three of the first round of the 2016 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Bridgestone Arena. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports
Cap Space Needed
To play it safe, let’s assume the Anaheim Ducks sign Hampus Lindholm for $5 million dollars/year. With only $1,318,000 dollars in cap space, ANA would need to clear $3,682,000 dollars to make room for Lindholm.
This could be easily accomplished by simply shedding Cam Fowler‘s $4 million dollar cap hit (which would leave them with $318,000 dollars – no room for an incoming player).
After all, top left-handed defensive prospect Shea Theodore was forced to begin the year with AHL San Diego because there’s no room in the top four. Fowler is the man occupying the spot Theodore is eyeing.
As we know, though, GM Bob Murray is not interested in simply subtracting or moving in a sideways direction. He believes the Ducks are ready to compete for a Stanley Cup, and at least wants an impact player in return.
This is where things get interesting. There are only so many bodies that can be moved out to clear cap space, and Anaheim will likely need to include draft picks/prospects in a bigger package to get what they want.
Contracts to Shed
In a perfect world, D Kevin Bieksa would waive his no-movement clause paving the way for a trade so Anaheim isn’t forced to use a protection slot on him next June. Even if they could get him to waive it, how many teams are lining up to absorb the $4 million dollar cap hit. Heck, he’s barely worth it even if the Ducks were willing to retain salary. It wouldn’t be surprising if the only way to shed Bieksa’s contract is a full 50 percent retention for those final two years. Although, $4 million dollars in dead money over the next two seasons isn’t ideal for Anaheim.
So, what is GM Bob Murray left to work with beyond Cam Fowler? He only has three moveable contracts up front to shed salary. Recently signed Rickard Rakell carries a $3.8 million dollar cap hit; two-way stud Jakob Silfverberg has a $3.75 million dollar cap hit; Nate Thompson owns a $1.7 million dollar cap hit.
February 2, 2016; Anaheim, CA, USA; Anaheim Ducks defenseman Hampus Lindholm (47) celebrates with defenseman Josh Manson (42) and center Ryan Getzlaf (15) his goal scored against San Jose Sharks during the second period at Honda Center. Getzlaf recorded an assist on the goal. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
Breaking Down the Numbers
Alright folks, try to follow me here as I begin throwing numbers at you. By determining the potential outgoing pieces, we’re able to figure out what a potential return package could look like based on how much extra money the Ducks are able to absorb.
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If Anaheim needs an estimated $5 million dollars worth of cap space for Hampus Lindholm, that could be accomplished by simply trading Cam Fowler.
That leaves the Ducks with $5,318,000 dollars. Using our $5M estimation, that leaves Bob Murray with $318,000 dollars for spending – precisely no room to do anything once adding Lindholm.
He needs to move out more salary in order to add that impact player(s) he’s looking for in return.
If Anaheim keeps it simple, packaging Cam Fowler with one of Rickard Rakell, Jakob Silfverberg, or Nate Thompson, it frees up the following amount of cap space:
w/Rickard Rakell ($3.8 million dollar cap hit) = $4.118 million dollars for incoming salary w/ Jakob Silfverberg ($3.75 million dollar cap hit) = $4.068 million dollars for incoming salary w/ Nate Thompson ($1.7 million dollar cap hit) = $2.018 million dollars for incoming salary
Looking to the blue line, Anaheim has a pair of options that could be moved. Simon Despres is currently injured recovering from a concussion, but is expected to return soon. He carries a $3.7 million dollar cap hit that may or may not interest another club. They also have Clayton Stoner who carries a $3.25 million dollar cap hit – although Anaheim would more than likely need to retain upwards of 50 percent on this one.
w/ Clayton Stoner (50 percent retained – $1.625 million dollar cap hit) = $1.943 million dollars for incoming salary w/ Simon Despres ($3.7 million dollar cap hit) = $4.018 million dollars for incoming salary
April 15, 2016; Anaheim, CA, USA; Anaheim Ducks center Rickard Rakell (67) reacts following the 3-2 loss against the Nashville Predators in game one of the first round of the 2016 Stanley Cup Playoffs at Honda Center. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports
The most likely end result though is a package deal with a few players. Who the Anaheim Ducks are willing to part ways with will largely dictate what comes back the other way. If they add fluff pieces like Stoner and Thompson, the options are limited. If Bob Murray is, however, willing to shed a significant contract such as Rakell, Silfverberg, or Despres, he can eye bigger targets.
Below is a list of potential packages Anaheim could put together, including the amount of cap space it creates for incoming contracts. Using that number, we’ve managed to track down potential impact targets from each team that might have an interest in Cam Fowler.
*Any packages including Rickard Rakell can be interchangeable with Jakob Silfverberg due to similar sized contracts.
Package of: Cam Fowler, Clayton Stoner, Nate Thompson = $3.961 million dollars for incoming salary
This is an intriguing situation with Tampa Bay having several impact players due for new contracts next summer. Even worse, they’re overloaded up front and stand to lose a quality player in next June’s expansion draft.
On a side note, Anaheim will be adding draft picks/or prospects to most of these deals – it’s almost a guarantee based on what Bob Murray is asking for.
Package of: Cam Fowler/Simon Despres/Nate Thompson =$6.036 million dollars for incoming salary
Package of: Cam Fowler/Clayton Stoner/Rickard Rakell =$6.061 million dollars for incoming salary
It’s highly unlikely that Colorado is looking to make any changes right now after a hot start to 2016-17 under new bench boss Jared Bednar. The only way these guys become available is if the wheels start to fall off in the Mile High City.
If GM Bob Murray is willing to take a risk on a player with an injury history, maybe Mike Cammalleri can re-kindle some of that magic in the city where it all began (albeit a different jersey on the outskirts of Los Angeles).
Tampa Bay Lightning – Alex Killorn ($4.45 million dollar cap hit), J.T. Brown ($1.25 million dollar cap hit)/or Jonathan Drouin ($3.194 million dollar cap hit), Vladislav Namestnikov ($1.938 million dollar cap hit), Cedric Paquette ($812,000 dollar cap hit)
Depending on whether its Despres or Rakell involved would largely dictate the asking price from Steve Yzerman. Without Rakell, the Anaheim Ducks would need to include premium prospects/draft picks.
Mar 11, 2016; St. Louis, MO, USA; Anaheim Ducks defenseman Simon Despres (24) handles the puck as St. Louis Blues center Robby Fabbri (15) gives chase during the second period at Scottrade Center. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports
Package of: Cam Fowler/Simon Despres/Rickard Rakell =$8.136 million dollars for incoming salary
The Bruins can afford to move a center in order to strengthen their blue line. Anaheim could use a premium left-winger, but a Krejci addition would at least allow for veteran Antoine Vermette to serve at LW permanently, while giving the Ducks a quality 1-2-3 punch down the middle for their Cup run.
With Rakell headed to MoTown in this scenario, it makes a little more room for the likes of Andreas Anthanasiou and Anthony Mantha. Detroit has too many LW’s anyways (exactly what the Ducks need) and stands to lose a quality player in the expansion draft.
Merrill is currently hurt, but expected back fairly soon. This could work for New Jersey given their overabundance of stars up the middle. Moving one of Henrique or Zajac would open up a top-six center spot for Pavel Zacha.
Tampa Bay Lightning – Braydon Coburn ($3.7 million dollar cap hit), Alex Killorn ($4.45 million dollar cap hit)/or Jason Garrison ($4.6 million dollar cap hit), Jonathan Drouin ($3.194 million dollar cap hit)/or Alex Killorn ($4.45 million dollar cap hit), Jonathan Drouin ($3.194 million dollar cap hit)
If Steve Yzerman is being asked to take on a pair of decent contracts on the blue line, Bob Murray will have to follow suit by taking one off Tampa Bay’s hands – either Garrison or Coburn.
*any contract under a million dollars can be inserted here
Full disclosure, the only reason Toronto has been included is based on past NHL trade rumors suggesting the Leafs might have interest in Cam Fowler. Unless they plan on moving past one of Morgan Rielly or Jake Gardiner, there isn’t much room for another left-handed shot. Let’s call any Toronto deal unlikely.
This won’t be an easy trade to pull off for GM Bob Murray. Look what happened to GM Peter Chiarelli in Edmonton after he got backed into a corner. Teams caught the stench of desperation and New Jersey took advantage.
So, while Bob Murray has likely brought his asking price down to a fair market value, it may need to come down even further (or perhaps include a sweetener in the package such as a 1st round pick).
Other suitors could certainly emerge, or an unexpected addition could change the parameters of a deal. But for the most part, these are the limited options the Anaheim Ducks have to work with given their tight situation.
Ducks fans, would any of the above targets be of interest? If so, how much extra are you willing to sacrifice in terms of draft picks/prospect(s) in order to make a deal happen?
Truth be told, Anaheim could fare just fine moving Cam Fowler for future assets to make room for Shea Theodore. It’s basically a trade-off in talent (initially a slight downgrade obviously), but if GM Bob Murray truly believes this a Cup-worthy team, it’ll definitely require an impact addition up front.
Keep a close eye on this situation as we can more than likely expect to see movement in the very near future.