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What's Next For The Ducks?

As the final buzzer rang last night, and the Sharks celebrated their 2-1 win and series sweep over Anaheim, I started to think. Think about Getzlaf, Perry and Kesler and what is next for the underachieving core of the Anaheim Ducks and if we just watched their last game together. The Ducks have a ton of questions heading into the offseason. Is it time to part ways with the Kesler-Perry-Getzlaf trio? What do they do on defense? Do they need to get some money off the books? And it really starts and ends there.

The Ducks owe $23.75m to Corey Perry ($8.625m), Ryan Getzlaf ($8.25m) and Ryan Kesler ($6.75m). They are on the books for the 23 million until 2020-2021 too. Kind of a problem being that all three player’s best days are behind them. Perry, who is the highest paid of the three, only had 49 points (17g, 31a) in 71 games this season. That is a huge problem. In 82 games in 16-17, Perry only had 53 points (19g, 34a) too. Ryan Kesler’s contract is a problem as well. Kesler is owed $6.875m through 2021-2022. That is very not good. Only playing in 44 games due to injury this season, Kesler only had 14 points (8g, 6a), and in 82 games last season, only had 58 points. Kesler has only scored over 26 goals once, and that was in 2010-11, so how much better can Kesler get? At the age of 33, probably not too much better. And then you have Ryan Getzlaf, who I still believe is a very good player. But at $8.25m? that’s is kind of a lot for the 32-year-old who is on the books until 2020-21.

So what do the Ducks do? What can they do? They have a ton of money on the books, their system isn’t loaded with high-end prospects, so do they rebuild? Do they trade away everyone and start over? Well first things first, it takes two to tango. I don’t think anyone is touching either Kesler or Perry with a 10-foot-pole. Between age and length of term on the contracts, it just really doesn’t make sense for any teams to bring them on.

Could we see some buyouts? Biz mentioned it on Spittin’ Chiclets that there could be some potential buy outs in Anaheim this summer and I think he’s spot on. Like I said before, trades aren’t going to come easy with Perry and Kesler. You basically would have to eat a majority of the money to even start talking.

A Perry buyout would save you a ton of money down the line. Instead of paying $8.625m until 2020-21, you pay $2.05m until 2023-2024. The Ducks would owe Perry $12.33m, spread out of 6 years. Makes a lot of sense if you’re asking me. I think the team could also eat some money and end up trading Perry, but a buyout would make more sense financially.

Kesler is a little more of a problem. The Ducks owe the 33-year-old forward $26.7m with a buyout cost of $17.8m, spread that out over 8 years and the cap hit would be around $2.25m. Paying anyone not on your roster for 8 years has got to suck, so would it even be worth it for the Ducks? Or should they just keep the aging forward and his fat cap hit?

The Ducks do have some bright spots though. Denver’s Troy Terry will be a great addition next season. Terry was one of the best players in all of college hockey the past two seasons and will give the Ducks some much needed cheap youth. Anaheim also has Rickard Rakell under contract for $3.789m until 2021-2022. What a steal of a deal that is. The 24-year-old had 69 points (34g, 35a) in 77 games this season. Rakell is a legitmate 1st line winger who can put in 30+ goals per season. If the Ducks can lock up Adam Henrique, they may have something in a Terry-Henrique-Rakell line for years to come.

The Ducks also have one of the best young goalies in the league. You can’t win in this league without a goalie and the Ducks have that, so this team isn’t as far from a cup as you’d think. If the team can get Perry or Kesler off the books before next season and can add some help via free agency, I think Anaheim will be right back in the playoffs next season with a chance for a cup run. But getting money off the books is WAY easier said than done. Or they’ll just come back next season with the same roster, pissed off, and win the cup. Who knows.

 @MikeGrinnell_