The Chicago Blackhawks officially began their rebuild when they traded away Brandon Hagel, Marc-Andre Fleury, and Ryan Carpenter before the deadline passed. The Anaheim Ducks also were major sellers this year, as they moved Hampus Lindholm, Rickard Rakell, Josh Manson, and Nicolas Deslauriers. Although both teams were very busy, they also each had players who surprisingly weren’t dealt. Due to this, one has to wonder if they could be potential trading partners during the offseason. Let’s dive into why now.
Ducks Expressed Interest in Dominik Kubalik
Dominik Kubalik was in the rumor mill before the trade deadline but surprisingly ended up staying put. Ben Pope of the Chicago Sun-Times reported that the Ducks were one of the teams who expressed serious interest in the 26-year-old winger (from ‘Blackhawks trade buzz: Marc-Andre Fleury situation remains a conundrum’, Chicago Sun-Times, 03/11/22). However, a deal did end not happening. Yet, with him being a pending restricted free agent (RFA), perhaps this is an avenue that could be explored during the summer. Keep in mind, he will still be under team control, so he could be moved without a new contract.
Kubalik is a player who would probably benefit from a change of scenery. It’s been a rough year for the forward, as he has 11 goals, 11 assists, and a minus-20 rating in 64 games. Although those numbers aren’t terrible, they are still far too low for his standards. This is a forward who scored 30 goals in 68 games as a rookie just two seasons ago. Last season, he followed that up with a 38-point campaign in 56 contests. Thus, he has shown the potential to be a legitimate top-six forward, but things have changed noticeably this season.
Yet, when looking at how much success Kubalik had during his first two seasons, it does make sense for a team like the Ducks to pursue him. Although he has struggled this season, there’s reason to believe that he could bounce back. If he were to be moved to Anaheim, he would have the chance to play with forwards like Troy Terry, Trevor Zegras, Adam Henrique, and Ryan Getzlaf. Perhaps that could be enough to help him find his old form.