Report: Anaheim Looking To Trade Andersen, Khudobin
If current reports are true, the Anaheim Ducks are ready to rely on their top prospect John Gibson. The stage was set for this development when they extended Gibson earlier this year to a contract that will pay him an average of $2.3 million starting in 2016-17. That’s a heck of a commitment to make before they’d gotten any real NHL value from his entry-level deal.
The logical assumption was that the Ducks were prepared to go to Gibson very soon. That speculation gained traction when Darren Dreger mentioned on Thursday that the Ducks were believed to be actively shopping either Anton Khudobin or even Frederik Andersen, their current starting netminder.
That last bit is somewhat surprising given how unusual it is to turn the keys over to a player with only 31 games worth of NHL experience. It would show a great deal of faith in the young Gibson, who is NHL-ready but would perhaps be better served by being eased into a starting role. While Khudobin could carry some of the weight, his performance thus far this year doesn’t inspire much confidence, leaving the bulk of the responsibility on Gibson.
It is Khudobin’s subpar performance, in fact, that makes Andersen the more valuable of the two right now. He has shown that he can handle a starter’s schedule and maintain at least average numbers even in tough circumstances. In 16 games this season, Andersen has a .927 at 5-on-5, just above the league average of .926. He is young (only 25), inexpensive (at $1.15 AAV through this year) and has carried a starter’s load before (54 games in 2014-15).
In order to make a trade, however, you need a partner, and it is very much a buyer’s market these days. Who might be interested in the Dane? There are a number of potential landing spots, though it is far from clear who is actually willing to pull the trigger.
Perhaps the most likely takers are the three teams with the worst goaltending so far this year: Calgary, Carolina, and Edmonton. Of these Carolina and Edmonton might be the most willing to make a change. Calgary already has three goalies on one-way contracts, one of whom, Joni Ortio, is playing in the AHL. Their flexibility is limited. For all three of these teams, however, a starting netminder who can put up league average or better would be a significant improvement.
There are a number of teams whose starters or backups are struggling who may or may not be willing to work out a place for Andersen. Colorado’s Semyon Varlamov and Columbus’s Sergei Bobrovsky are both posting troubling numbers this year but have solid histories that could make them assets in their own right, movable for help in other areas. Buffalo is relying heavily on Linus Ullmark and may find a little more insurance attractive.
And there is always the longshot possibility that the New Jersey Devils will get Cory Schneider some help. Not likely, but not completely impossible.
In any event, a deal will require flexibility on a number of fronts, but it does appear that the Ducks are serious about looking.