We had already looked at Edmonton, Minnesota, Nashville and St. Louis when all four of those teams were eliminated from the playoffs over a month ago. Now that the playoffs are done, it is time to look at the next five teams in the West (Anaheim, Arizona, Calgary, Chicago and Colorado) and see what the plan might be for next season. All salary cap projections are by Alex Maclean.
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Anaheim Ducks (missed the playoffs for third straight season)
The Ducks have perhaps hit bottom and are on their way back up after this season. I wouldn't say they are bouncing up, but more like splatting and then climbing a rickety rope ladder, but at least it is up. The club still has two more seasons of carrying a $2 million cap hit for buying out Corey Perry but has $22.55 million of cap space available for next season. If we add the LTIR for Ryan Kesler ($6.875 million) and Jakob Silfverberg who could be out a while after hip surgery ($5.25 million) they are looking at a minimum of $29.4 million in cap space next season and possibly $34.65 million.
Ryan Getzlaf and his $8.25 million AAV contract are finally off the books and I would think he will re-sign for one or two more seasons at a much more reasonable rate to help the Ducks out (projected $1.788 million AAV). I can’t see the Ducks bringing back any of their additional unrestricted free agents (UFA) other than perhaps 29-year old Sam Carrick who had an impressive 13 game stint with the team last year, but he has never played more than 16 games in the NHL in a season, so he would be strictly depth.
Anaheim will need to move on from or re-sign the following restricted free agents (RFA), Danton Heinen ($1.56 million), Isac Lundestrom ($1.47 million), Maxime Comtois ($2.53 million), Max Jones ($1.72 million), Sam Steel ($1.71 million), Alexander Volkov ($1.8 million) and Josh Mahura ($0.955 million). If my math is correct, this leaves the Ducks about $15 or 16 million for next season to upgrade their roster if they choose (dependent on LTIR). The Ducks should be poised to take advantage of the Seattle expansion draft and be a broker for some salary, rather than using all that space for an expensive free agent or two as this team is still 3-5 years away from contending.
The consensus seems to be the Ducks losing Kevin Shattenkirk or Adam Henrique in the expansion draft. Notwithstan