Anaheim Ducks’ GM Bob Murray needs to be active on the trade front this summer and seriously consider trading for Colin Miller to bolster the club’s thin defense corps.
For the first time in a long time, the Anaheim Ducks need to address their depth on defense. At first glance, the Ducks have a bevy of left-handed puck-moving blueliners in Cam Fowler, Hampus Lindholm, and newly acquired Brendan Guhle.
What the Ducks are now lacking in are right-handed, puck-moving defenseman that can be significant contributors on the scoresheet. The only right-handers currently on the roster are Josh Manson and Korbinian Holzer, who signed a one-year contract extension with the Ducks early last week. Neither has produced offense on a consistent basis throughout their careers.
Miller comes in at a reasonable cap hit of $3.875 million over the next three seasons and could easily slide in on the second pair with Fowler. The 26-year old is a top-four defenseman who can play over 21 minutes and has a knack for producing points at a solid clip the past two seasons (41 points in 82 games in 17-18, 29 in 65 games 18-19).
The Ducks are at their best when their defensemen are putting up points; Miller’s offensive ability would certainly help the Ducks be the best version of themselves.
He can play in all situations and would be a good fit on the Ducks’ second power play unit alongside Lindholm. Miller quarterbacked the second powerplay unit for Vegas last season.
Trading for Miller could also present the Ducks a prime opportunity to unload left winger Nick Ritchie who has failed to be consistent ever since he entered the NHL four years ago. The Ducks could also throw in a third-round draft pick in next year’s draft to sweeten the deal.
Moving Ritchie would create an additional roster spot for the Ducks to make room for their young core future stars in Sam Steel, Troy Terry, Max Jones, and Maxime Comtois, among others. At this point, they provide a higher upside than Ritchie. Ritchie is the odd man out.
Let’s not forget that Vegas has a cap problem. After signing center William Karlsson to an eight-year, $47.2 million dollar extension and trading winger Erik Haula to the Carolina Hurricanes, they are currently operating above the cap by about $4.75 million according to CapFriendly.
Vegas needs to desperately shed some salary and moving Miller would get them closer to be under the cap of $81.5 million for next season.
While Vegas could balk at taking Ritchie back as part of the Miller trade, it would provide them with a bottom six power forward that may benefit from a change of scenery. Who knows, maybe he’ll score a whole bunch of goals or maybe he won’t?
If Murray is serious about the Ducks retooling and quickly righting the ship after a lost season, this is a move he has to make to keep the team competitive. Miller provides offensive upside and flexibility as well as depth on the back end. He could also help the development of Larsson or Mahura if they make the roster out of training camp.
For the Anaheim Ducks, getting Miller would be a solid bargain they cannot pass on.