All is quiet on the home front in Anaheim.
Over what seems like a very long off-season, the Ducks and Bob Murray have stayed quiet as ever. No real news has come about pieces that caught Murray’s eye, or really anyone of interest to the Ducks. However, there have been a few acquisitions made by Bob, some of which left Ducks fans either scratching their heads or yawning. Let’s take a look at all of them.
The Trade & The Numbers
Before we assess the free agents, there was one trade made by the Ducks. Murray traded a fourth-round pick in order to get left winger Nicolas Deslauriers. Deslauriers is currently 28 years old, 6’1”, 220 lbs, and he’s left-handed. His NHL experience has been split between the Buffalo Sabres and the Montreal Canadiens, and his career NHL stat line is 317 GP, 24 G, 25 A, 49 TP, 0.15 PPG, 263 PIM. Not a great set of numbers for 317 games in the NHL and his PIM numbers have been historically terrible. 71 PIM racked up in one season is a gigantic problem. Most Ducks fans are still upset about giving up a pick for such a player, and that chagrin is quite justified. At best, Deslauriers will play for a spot on the left-wing, considering how depleted it is right now. Realistically though, Deslauriers will be helping the San Diego Gulls on their quest for another playoff berth in the AHL at some point in the season. Murray loves to acquire grizzled veterans to provide the young prospects with experience, so it’s yet to be seen whether he’ll be another flop, much like Jason Chimera was in 2018.
Moving on to the numbers for actual free agents, the Ducks signed one goalie, two defensemen, and five forwards. Notable losses for the Ducks include Corey Perry, Kevin Roy, and Jaycob Megna. And so far, the Ducks have lost six skaters, with the possibility of losing four more. Those four include Chad Johnson, Keaton Thompson, Trevor Murphy, and Kalle Kossila.
First, in the goaltending department, the Ducks signed Anthony Stolarz to a two year, $1.5 billion contract. He’s 6’6”, 198 lbs, left-handed, and is currently 25 years old. He’s played five seasons in the AHL and the NHL. In his last season with the Flyers and Oilers, he posted a .902 Sv% in Philadelphia and a .897 Sv% in Edmonton. Funny enough, in the last game he played against the Ducks, he came in for relief after Mikko Koskinen let up four goals, and ended up only giving away one goal to Devin Shore afterward. He’ll provide more goaltending depth for the Ducks, and his season will start in San Diego with the Gulls. Hopefully, Gibson and Miller will continue to be healthy long enough for him to stay there, too. There might be a need to knock on wood for that.
Next, in the Defense department, the Ducks signed Michael Del Zotto and Chris Wideman. Del Zotto, the former Duck, just recently won his first Stanley Cup with the St. Louis Blues, and he’s back and excited to play in nice weather all year round again. 608 GP, 54 G, 167 A, 221 TP, 0.36 PPG, 258 PIM is his NHL career stat line, and his numbers with the Ducks last year were 12 GP, 0 G, 3 A, 3 TP, 0 PIM. He is 6’0”, 194 lbs, a left-hander, and is currently 29 years old. Del Zotto was a decent defensive piece for Anaheim in 2019, and beyond the ice, Del Zotto is a stand-up guy who enjoys the company of his teammates, so his presence can’t really hurt in any way. A solid signing. Del Zotto’s contract is set for a year and is worth $750,00. Chris Wideman, the other defenseman signing, was a former Senator, Oiler, and Panther. He’s 5’10”, 183 lbs, a right-hander, and is currently 29 years old. 181 GP, 16 G, 29 A, 45 TP, 0.25 PPG, 104 PIM in his career stat line. His last year in the NHL with the Panthers and Oilers culminated in six points, not counting his time in the AHL. Wideman will start the season on the Gulls and has been a solid piece in all of his AHL clubs, so San Diego fans can be excited to see him skate and show off some of his scoring prowess. Wideman’s contract is worth a year and $700,000.
Then, in the center department, the Ducks signed Chase DeLeo, Justin Kloos, and Andrew Poturalski. DeLeo is 5’9”, 179 lbs, left-handed, and is currently 23 years old. Born and raised here in Orange County, he’s a fan favorite due to his Ducks fandom. He had a great year in San Diego for the 2018-2019 season, with a final stat line of 66 GP, 20 G, 35 A, 55 TP, 12 PIM. If all goes well for DeLeo, he’ll have a spot somewhere in Anaheim. His re-signing was an important one for both Anaheim and San Diego. He’s signed for one year and $750,000. Justin Kloos is 5’9”, 174 lbs, right-handed, and is now 25 years old. Kloos was acquired in a trade for Pontus Aberg last year after Aberg’s tenure with Anaheim became increasingly toxic, and he was sent down to San Diego after one game with the club in Anaheim. His stats in San Diego were 25 GP, 6 G, 9 A, 15 TP, 10 PIM. He’s a solid center and right-wing player that will see more play with the Gulls in the year to come. His contract lasts for a year, and it’s worth $700,000. Andrew Poturalski is 5’11”, 190 lbs, right-handed, and he’s 25 years old. Another center and right-wing combo player, his best year was this last AHL season, in which he lead the Charlotte Checkers to a Calder Cup Championship as an alternate captain. His stat line was 72 GP, 23 G, 47 A, 70 TP, 34 PIM. He had several accomplishments in the AHL, including most goals in the playoffs (12), most points in the playoffs (23), and he even won the Jack A. Butterfield Trophy as playoffs MVP.
It could turn out to be a tough transition from the AHL to the NHL for Poturalski, but he’ll be a very welcomed addition to the Gulls for the upcoming season. His contract is worth $700,000 for a year.
And lastly, the new wingers. The Ducks signed Blake Pietila and Andreas Martinsen. Andreas Martinsen is 6’3”, 229 lbs, left-handed, and he’s currently 29 years old. He’s able to play left and right-wing proficiently, so he’ll add to both cores very nicely. He was an alternate captain for the Rockford Icehogs last year, and his stat line during that time was 38 GP, 3 G, 8 A, 11 TP, 32 PIM. He also had 14 points in 24 games with the Chicago Blackhawks as well, so he’s seen some quality time in the NHL. He’ll be some good depth for the Ducks that’s ready to come up at any point, but he’ll start the season off in San Diego. His contract will last for a year and, it’s worth $750,000. Blake Pietila is 5’11”, 201 lbs, left-handed, and 26 years old. He can play center and left-wing, so he’s even more useful combo depth. Most of last year, he was an alternate captain for the Albany Devils, and his stat line was 50 GP, 20 G, 26 A, 46 TP, 42 PIM. His contract is worth a year and $700,000. Along with Poturalski, his presence will be felt most in San Diego. They look to be championship contenders with their many strong free agency additions.
In closing, the Ducks have picked up some very promising pieces for the Gulls, and they’ve also made one trade that still has Ducks fans scratching their heads. There are still four players yet to be signed or let go, and Bob Murray should be hard at work right now on those contracts. Or maybe not, we all know the productivity of the fan favorite GM. One thing is for sure though, the Gulls are looking a lot stronger, and the Ducks have much better depth than they had last season.
Statistics and Contracts: eliteprospects.com and spotrac.com Pictures Courtesy: NHL, IIHL, NBC Sports, Twitter, the Chicago Tribune, Cardiac Canes, and the San Diego Gulls.