How The Anaheim Ducks Can Take Advantage of Their Cap Space

ST PAUL, MN - DECEMBER 12: Matt Dumba #24 of the Minnesota Wild looks on against the Edmonton Oilers in the second period of the game at Xcel Energy Center on December 12, 2022 in St Paul, Minnesota. The Wild defeated the Oilers 2-1. (Photo by David Berding/Getty Images)
ST PAUL, MN - DECEMBER 12: Matt Dumba #24 of the Minnesota Wild looks on against the Edmonton Oilers in the second period of the game at Xcel Energy Center on December 12, 2022 in St Paul, Minnesota. The Wild defeated the Oilers 2-1. (Photo by David Berding/Getty Images) /

The Anaheim Ducks have not made a playoff appearance since the 2017-2018 season, losing in the first round. Since then, both the organization and roster have gone through significant changes. While other teams in the Pacific Division have gotten better, the Ducks seem to play to the beat of their own drum.

Where do the Anaheim Ducks spend their money?

Not since the days of Paul Kariya and Teemu Selanne have the Ducks had a superstar in their lineup like they do now with young stars Trevor Zegras and Mason McTavish. While he is the best player on Anaheim’s roster, he cannot do it alone. This roster needs help, in terms of veteran players and leadership. The young players are adapting well and growing but for the Ducks to accelerate this process they need veterans also. They have signed forward Alex Killorn and defenseman Radko Gudas in the off-season to help in that department. The Ducks future is solely in the hands of Zegras, McTavish, Jamie Drysdale,  and 2023 first-round pick Leo Carlsson.

While the Anaheim Ducks still have a ways to go, they are heading in the right direction. The Pacific Division is stacked with talent and the Ducks are building from within. With a projected cap space of $29,873,333, they do have the ability to add to the roster as it stands today. They likely are not bringing the talents of Patrick Kane or any big name of significance. However, they do have money to add six players that can help fill voids and still have cap space to spend. Below are three forwards, two defensemen, and one goaltender who could sign with Anaheim and help this organization grow.

Pius Suter

The young forward can play either center or wing, but his best option is at the center position. Suter is a versatile player  capable of playing anywhere in the lineup, regular shift or special teams. At 27 years old, he fits that mold of still young enough yet can be a leader or mentor to the young players. Suter’s last contract was a two-year deal with an AAV of $3.25 million. Last season in Detroit, He played in 79 games, scoring 14 goals and 10 assists for 24 points. Could add depth and secondary scoring.

Josh Bailey

Left swinger Josh Bailey is also a versatile player that can play any forward position. After spending his entire career with the New York Islanders, he may be ready for a new challenge. Coming to the Anaheim Ducks would see him in the bottom six yet provide veteran leadership. Bailey provides scoring depth, a good middle-six forward who excels on the penalty kill. During the 2022/2023 season with the Islanders, Bailey accounted for eight goals and 17 assists for 25 points in 64 games. His last contract was a six-year deal with an AAV of $5 million.

Jesse Puljujarvi

forward Jesse Puljujarvi did not really work out with the Edmonton Oilers and was moved along to play with the Carolina Hurricanes, where he posted five goals and 11 assists for 16 points, along with 32 penalty minutes, in 75 combined games with the Oilers and Hurricanes last season. At 25 years old, standing  6-foot-4 and weighing 201 pounds, he does have the size and youth to still be a factor in the right situation. If he signs with the Anaheim Ducks, this would be a  new place to play with no pressure could see him put up the numbers that were expected in Edmonton. Puljujarvi’s last contract was a one-year deal with an AAV of $3 million.

Matt Dumba

Defenseman Matt Dumba could also benefit from a change in scenery. The former seventh overall pick in the 2012 NHL Entry Draft, Dumba has played his entire career with the Minnesota Wild. Dumba could be the defenseman that Anaheim has been looking for in terms of offense. Dumba can be effective on either special teams unit, along with a regular shift. He shoots for rebounds and deflections, has played in the playoffs in eight of his 11 NHL seasons, is an offensive defenseman, and plays on the edge. Dumba’s last contract with Minnesota was a five-year deal with an AAV of $6 million. Last season with the Wild, he posted four goals and 10 assists for 14 points in 79 games.

Logan Stanley

Massive defenseman Logan Stanely is a big body bleuliener that could immensely help in the physical department, or lack thereof. Standing 6-foot-6 and weighing 215 pounds, he brings size and an aggressive mind set to the defensive end of the ice. At 25 years old, he also fits that youth that the Anaheim Ducks have in their organization. Stanley is excellent on the penalty kill, uses his big frame to break up plays, has a nice outlet pass, and he is a solid stay-at-home defenseman. In his career for the Winnipeg Jets, Stanley scored three goals and added 17 assists for 20 points, 91 penalty minutes, and a +13  in 114 games.

Adam Scheel

Most of you may be saying who? He is not known to many NHL teams but goaltender Adam Scheel is a big prospect. Scheel went undrafted but was signed by the Dallas Stars on April 2, 2021 to a two-year, $2.275 million contract. At 24 years old, he is still young enough to make an instant impact in the right situation. At  6-foot-3 and 190 pounds, he has an NHL goaltender’s body. He has yet to make his NHL debut, but could be a factor with the Anaheim Ducks if he is signed due to the John Gibson trade talks. During the 2022/2023 season, he played for the AHL Texas Stars and ECHL Idao Steelheads. In 39 combined games, he posted a record of  28-8-0 with five shutouts. Scheel is good side-to-side, agile for a big goaltender, has good rebound control, and helped Idaho reach the ECHL final. Seeing him play for myself, Scheel is talented enough to be, at worst, an NHL backup but he needs a chance to prove himself.