When it comes to star young players that NHL teams believe in, there is only one right path forward. Try to sign your young stars for as long as possible to the best possible term, yet the Anaheim Ducks only signed Trevor Zegras for three years at a pretty low number.
The Anaheim Ducks are taking a massive gamble with Trevor Zegras
Trevor Zegras was drafted with the ninth overall pick of the 2019 NHL Draft. Since then, he has played in 180 NHL games putting up 139 points during that time. While he might have been taken ninth overall, he actually looks like one of the top five players from the draft class currently having the second highest point total of all the players taken.
Zegras has been an NHL star since he came into the league, in large part thanks to the highlight reel goals he has scored over the past couple of seasons.
Check out this incredible in-between the legs goal from Zegras during this past season:
Zegras’s new contract is worth a reported $17.25 million over the course of the next three seasons meaning his cap hit will be $5.75 million. Personally, I think that is a massive underpayment for Zegras.
Zegras led the Ducks in points last season and was tied for the team lead with Troy Terry, who recently signed a massive contract extension with the team. Zegras is only 22 years old, and with the Ducks looking to turn the corner on their rebuild after drafting Leo Carlsson with the second overall pick this year, the team has now made their job a little bit harder with both Zegras and Carlsson looking for new contracts at the end of the 2026-27 season.
The Ducks had an opportunity with Zegras this summer. They could have signed him to a long term extension keeping him in Anaheim for the next eight seasons, and they could have done that with him carrying a cap hit somewhere in between $7.5 to $8.5 million.
Jack Hughes was also drafted in 2019, and he signed a massive eight year $64 million dollar contract when his rookie deal was up, and now through the 2029-30 season he will be carrying a cap hit of just $8 million a year. The Ducks could have had long term salary certainty with one of their star players, but now they will have to worry about another contract negotiation sooner rather than later.
This is a gamble for the Ducks. Three years from now re-signing Zegras might not be as easy if the team has not taken any strides forward, and if he continues to be one of the league’s star players, he will be looking for a massive pay raise.
This is not the end of Anaheim Ducks general manager Pat Verbeek’s headache though, the Ducks still need to figure out a contract extension for defenseman Jamie Drysdale. Drysdale is one of the team’s most promising young defensemen. For the time being, at least Zegras can start practicing with the Ducks before the season begins next week.