During the playoffs and off-season, I plan to focus on each team in the West and look at their current roster, prospects, cap space, draft picks and impending free agents. I intend to dig a little deeper into the organization to see if the team is on the rise, fall or treading water heading into 2022-23.
We will begin with the Anaheim Ducks.
GM and Coach
Pat Verbeek is the new GM with the Ducks after taking over from Bob Murray in February 2022. Verbeek is a rookie GM after being an assistant GM in Tampa Bay for seven years and just under three years in Detroit. Verbeek was busy leading up to the trade deadline by trading Hampus Lindholm, Josh Manson, Nicolas Deslauriers and Rickard Rakell for draft picks.
Dallas Eakins will enter his fourth season as the coach of the Ducks but is entering the last year of his current contract. Anaheim exercised their club option on Eakins for the 2022-23 season. If they don't start well, his season could be brief.
Next season, the club will still have a cap hit of $2 million for Corey Perry on the books, but will no longer have $6.875 million on LTIR for Ryan Kesler. As things stand now, they have $40.3 million of projected cap space for 2022-23 but have about five or six UFA NHL player contracts to replace for next season. The value of the unrestricted free agent contracts that have expired was close to $8 million. The value of the four restricted free agents that are expiring is about $5-6 million.
Verbeek will need to take into account new contracts for Troy Terry, Trevor Zegras and Jamie Drysdale after next season. I think those three players will require $18-22 million AAV, so this might give the Ducks about $12-15 million to focus on five or six UFA contracts if they spend to the cap.
For the 2022 Draft, the Ducks have their first-round lottery pick as well as Boston's first-round pick which will be in the 20s. They also have two picks in the second and fifth rounds to go with their fourth found pick and Nashville's sixth-round pick. They have eight picks in total.
In 2023 they have nine picks overall with one in the first, three i