Ducks Active On First Day Of Free Agency

Photo: Dirk Shadd/ TB Times

By Mike Walters

The Anaheim Ducks General Manager Pat Verbeek was active on the first day of free agency. He signed Alex Killorn, Radko Gudas, and Trevor Carrick. It sounds like Verbeek may be done for today, but could be back at it tomorrow. In talking to the media today, he said was going to take a break and “see how things unfold”.

Alex Killorn, 4 Years x $6.25 M AAV, Full NTC 23-24 & 24-25, M-NTC 25-26 & 26-27(15 team no trade list)

Killorn is a familiar face to Verbeek as he spent time in Tampa Bay from 2010 to 2019 as a Director of Pro Scouting and an Assistant GM. Killorn brings in serious experience have recently gone to the Stanley Cup Final three times and winning in two of those appearances.

This past season he set a career high in points(64), goals(27), and assists(37). In 11 career seasons, he has played in 805 regular season games posting 466 total points(198 G + 268 A). He is a serious threat offensively, but he is also a solid two way forward which Anaheim badly needs. He is good at tracking down loose pucks and then providing a counter attack. He is a playmaker, but also a solid forechecker in the offensive zone, which has been an issue for Anaheim in recent seasons.

There may be some concern with his age as he will be 34 when the season starts, but he has only missed four regular season games in the last eight seasons. He will be 37 when his contract is up with Anaheim, so the term especially at a $6.25 AAV may be a valid concern for some. In terms of cap space, this deal(and Gudas’) shouldn’t be an issue. The Ducks are projected at about $54 million in cap hit per Cap Friendly and the cap floor is $61.7 million for next season. The Ducks will need to still sign Lukas Dostal, Jamie Drysdale, BO Groulx, Troy Terry, and Trevor Zegras to new deals this summer, but their cap situation will be fine even with signing Killorn and Gudas.

Killorn had this to say about joining Anaheim, “There’s so much talent when you look at the guys that are on this team and guys that are about to be on this team, whether it’s this year or the next year. These are things that I’ve thought about when I made this decision. So I’m hoping to bring kind of a veteran leadership, a guy that can help out offensively and defensively. That’s what I did in Tampa and I’m hoping to do the same here.”

If Killorn can continue to the play how he has, especially in recent seasons, then the Ducks are in for a real treat.

Photo: USA Today

Radko Gudas, Three Year Deal x $4 Million AAV, Full NTC 23-24, M-NTC 24-25 (16 Team no trade), 24-25 (10 Team no trade)

Gudas is fresh off his Stanley Cup run with the Florida Panthers, who ran out of steam in the Cup Final against the Vegas Golden Knights. He posted three assists and a +/- of -5 as he logged an average of 17 minutes over the course of 21 playoff games.

In his career, he has played in 682 regular season games recording 164 totals points(33 G + 131 A) with a +73 on ice rating. The important thing is not the points with Gudas, but rather his style of play. The Ducks blueline is in desperate need of a defenseman with experience and snarl or grit. The Ducks currently have a very thin blueline with Cam Fowler, Jamie Drysdale, Urho Vaakanainen(who is still listed on the IR), and Colton White. Adding Gudas will bring an experienced player, who will play top minutes and help tighten up the blue line. He is regarded as a stay-at-home defensemen, preventing opposing forwards from walking into the defensive zone, but he can help spark the transition game for Anaheim as well as he is solid with the puck. Verbeek wanted the Ducks to be harder to play against and that is exactly what Gudas will provide.

Verbeek may still choose to add another top defenseman as he hinted today that he isn’t done shopping the free agency market. If he doesn’t add one, then we could see the likes of Drew Helleson, Pavel Mintyukov, and/or Olen Zellweger in Anaheim for a few games.

Verbeek also brought back Trevor Carrick(yes Sam’s brother), who was with the organization playing in San Diego during the 2020-21 and 21-22 seasons. He had played in 100 games with the Gulls registering 42 total points(11 G + 31 A). He could make his debut in a Ducks sweater this season. He signed a one-year, two-way deal(775k/$425) per Cap Friendly.

Ducks Identity Begins To Take Shape

The type of team Verbeek wants in Anaheim is starting to take shape. This team has been lacking an identity for the past few seasons. Now the team is going to be one with some added senior leadership, along with some edge to make them more difficult to play against. In regards to bringing in Killorn and Gudas, Verbeek said “I think there’s instant credibility with these guys walking inside that locker room. It’s a leadership that our team certainly needed and they’re awesome to go with it.”

Now is it time to start the parade after today? Of course not, there is more work to be done. But this past week signals that the days of being in a constant rebuild are over. Killorn and Gudas will help make the Ducks a better team next season and they will be able to provide leadership and mentor the young players to develop them into future leaders for many years to come.

Other Ducks Find New Homes

Kevin Shattenkirk and Anthony Stolarz became unrestricted free agents as Verbeek decided to not bring them back. Shattenkirk signed a one year deal with the Boston Bruins. Stolarz signed a one-year deal with the Florida Panthers for $1.1 million per Cap Friendly.

The Ducks also did not give qualify offers to Axel Andersson, Simon Benoit, Max Comtois, Olle Eriksson-Ek, Bryce Kindoppp, and Josiah Slavin.

Related Articles:

Ducks Qualify 5 Players

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July 1st, 2023


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