All posts by virosome

Ducks, Coyotes Agree to Trade 7 players, 4 Draft Picks

The Anaheim Ducks added established NHL winger Valeri Nichushkin and 2 exciting prospects to their organization on Thursday. While Nichushkin is a strong and defensively-responsible player capable of putting the puck in the net (122 points in 343 career NHL games), it’s clear he wasn’t the centerpiece of the deal. nich

Let’s take a deeper look at the 2 prospects that are now part of Anaheim’s rapidly improving farm system.

Erik Brannstrom, 22, was selected in the first round of the 2017 NHL draft. A future PP quarterback, Brannstrom loves to have the puck on his stick and possesses great passing skills and a good shot. By acquiring Erik, Anaheim has a rising star on the blueline under club control for many years – and he should come with an affordable price tag after this year’s RFA. Brannstrom joins Calen Addison, Scott Perunovich, and Braden Schneider as key parts of the club’s future on the backend – all 23 years old or younger and skilled at moving the puck up ice. All 4 prospects are expected to join Adam Pelech and Jamie Oleksiak – key defensive stalwarts – at the start of next year’s campaign, if not sooner dependent upon any additional personnel changes leading up to this year’s trade deadline. brannstrom

William Eklund is the second – and perhaps even more coveted – prospect in the deal. A fast, creative forward that can play both center and wing, Eklund was drafted 7th overall as part of the most recent, 2021 draft class. He has great on-ice vision and seemingly fits well with any linemates. His dynamic play has already earned him a 9-game look at the NHL level in his first year of professional eligibility.
eklund

Eklund, 19, joins Cole Sillinger, 18, (2021 #12 overall) and Alex Nylander, 23, (2016 #8 overall) as young, hungry forward prospects that have already had a taste of NHL action in Anaheim’s prospect pool.

Letter Sent to Fans in Anaheim

The 20-21 Reverse Retro Jersey of the Anaheim Ducks
The 20-21 Reverse Retro Jersey of the Anaheim Ducks

 

The franchise mailed a letter to its season ticket holders and shared the letter from the organization’s Twitter account. The letter thanked the fans for their ongoing support and unwavering loyalty. It also detailed the front office’s plans for the future.

Anaheim has already lost a number of familiar faces this offseason, culminating this week with the departure of two longtime Ducks, Matt Dumba and Adam Henrique.

After the team was unable to attract any significant talent during the offseason, several GVFHL journeymen were signed to 1-year deals. Many analysts suggested that this signaled the beginning of a rebuild – especially when considered in conjunction with a tumultuous front office cleanse which likely can be blamed for their failures in free agency. Anaheim held an extensive search for a new General Manager. Unfortunately, one that concluded after the UFA pool had all but dried up.

GM Ken took over the franchise with a decision looming large – retool again for a playoff run, as Anaheim fans have come to expect, or go a step further to reshape and rebuild for the future.  Since the league’s inaugural season, Anaheim has made the playoffs every year but one – but has yet to make it out of the Conference Semifinals. The team has accomplished just enough on the ice year after year to miss out on the most illustrious prospects, a critical foundation to any blueprint for postseason success.

Ultimately, GM Ken made the tough choice and perhaps the right choice – but far from the obvious one. While great players have come and gone in Anaheim, regular playoff pushes have taken a toll on their prospect pool. 

GM Ken has been continuously evaluating his team and sources say he’s listening to all offers. He’s said to have alerted his Director of Amateur scouting that there will be no shortage of picks in this year’s draft. It seems it’s time to prepare for a new generation of talent in Orange County.