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Duck stories and rumours: No. 3 Draft Picks, Zegras, Laine & More – The Hockey Writers – Anaheim Ducks

The Anaheim Ducks face another important offseason as the team looks to take meaningful steps forward in what has been a long-running rebuild. The club have been out of the competition for six consecutive seasons but have amassed an impressive collection of chances. General manager Pat Verbeek will seek free-agent signings and trade opportunities to fill his small cap space ahead of the 2024-25 campaign.

The first item on the agenda will be the 2024 NHL Entry Draft, which will take place June 28-29 from the Sphere in Las Vegas. The latest edition of News & Rumors will explore the many directions the Ducks could take with the No. 1 overall pick. 3. There are also trade rumors to discuss, including the possibility of a deal with the Columbus Blue Jackets for Patrik Laine and recent speculation about Trevor Zegras. Additionally, the Ducks teased the team’s new logo and announced their preseason schedule.

Ducks Will Have Multiple Options at No. 3 In total

By most accounts, the 2024 Draft is a fairly wide open field. The Ducks could go a number of different ways, as discussed by Corey Pronman of The Athletic. Pronman has the Ducks selecting left-hander Anton Silayev from the Kontinental Hockey League’s Torpedo Nizhny Novgorod. “Anaheim is one of the more interesting picks in this draft,” Pronman wrote. “If Chicago takes someone other than himself [Artyom] Levshunov, I think they make this decision less stressful for Anaheim, who can take the most talented defenseman who played in North America. The league thinks it wants to grow and needs to defend itself. That brings us back to Silayev. Big and big. He is also a KHL player. He fits well with the example of Pat Verbeek, but if they don’t want to go to Russia, then start talking about alternatives like Sam Dickinson or Carter Yakemchuk here and the draft is interesting” (from ‘NHL Mock Draft 2024: After Macklin Celebrini, to choose from all 225,’ AthleticJune 19, 2024).

Related: Ducks 2024 NHL Draft Target: Anton Silayev

He also believes the Ducks could go down a completely different path if the team trades Zegras for a defenseman before draft day. That could lead to a switch to picking a forward like Cayden Lindstrom, Ivan Demidov, or Beckett Sennecke. It will be interesting to see what the Ducks decide to do. The team’s selection of Leo Carlsson in the 2023 Draft has turned some heads, and it appears that another surprise may be in store for 2024.

Canadiens Shifting Focus away from Zegras?

Arpon Basu of The Athletic reports that the Montreal Canadiens have done their due diligence in scouting Zegras and Martin Necas from the Carolina Hurricanes. However, acquisition costs for both players are very high at the moment (from ‘How the Canadiens enter the trade market and the impact of the break in negotiations,’ Athletic, June 11, 2024). Basu does not believe the time is right for the Canadiens to take any player. He also questions whether Zegras would be a good fit with the coaching staff and if the Canadiens would commit to a long-term, high-paying contract with the 23-year-old player when his three-year, $17.25 million contract expires. following the 2025-26 season.

Trevor Zegras, Anaheim Ducks (Jess Starr/Hockey Writers)

Basu feels that the Canadiens will focus on the teams that want to acquire what they are willing to trade rather than selling valuable assets in what he says would be successive moves. However, that probably doesn’t rule out the Canadiens as future contenders for Zegras. The Ducks have the luxury of being patient with Zegras, who is eligible for compensation as a restricted free agent at the end of his current contract.

Can Ducks Be In The Laine Mix?

Sonny Sachdeva of Sportsnet mentioned the Ducks as one of eight possible places for Laine to stay. The 26-year-old right winger will add some much needed points. He’s also a high-volume shooter who can develop on the power play. The Ducks rank 30th in the league in goals per game (2.48) in 2023-24, and the team is 32nd (2.50) in that category over the past six seasons. Laine could provide a spark for a top-six team, as long as he can stay healthy. He was limited to 56 games in 2021–22, 55 contests in 2022–23, and appeared in just 18 games in 2023–24.

The Blue Jackets will likely be willing to keep part of his salary to help replace Laine, but cap space won’t be an issue for the Ducks, and that could impact the asking price. He still has two more seasons left on his four-year, $34.8 million contract. Assuming the Ducks aren’t on his 10-team no-trade list, Laine could be an attractive option for Verbeek if the price is right.

Ducks Tease New Look and Announce Preseason Schedule

The Ducks will have a new look in 2024-25, which may lean heavily on the color orange and feature a different version of the old Mighty Ducks logo based on the team’s recent mocks. The club also applied for the trademark “Orange County” on June 16, which is expected to be used commercially. The new jersey could be unveiled at the team’s Summer Flock Party on June 30 or possibly the 2024 Draft.

The Ducks will play six preseason games in late September. All six games will be in California, including two visits to the SAP Center with the San Jose Sharks. The Ducks will face the Los Angeles Kings at Toyota Arena in Ontario. The Ducks will also host three games at the Honda Center against the Sharks, Kings, and Utah Hockey Club.

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