Vatanen’s reported contract ask of $6 million per season over six years helped place him in trade negotiations.
Anaheim GM Bob Murray said last week it’s a “fair assumption” that he’s looking to upgrade on the wing, and the Ducks have been quiet on the market in comparison to fellow Western Conference contenders Chicago and Los Angeles.
“I’ve saved enough in my budget to do something if I think it would really help us,” Murray said. “I’ve never been one to go out and trade my first-round pick. I get lots of calls asking me about the [Shea] Theodores, [Jacob] Larssons and [Nick] Ritchies of the world. I’m just not one to do that now. If I’m going to do something like that, it would be at the draft.”
Murray emphasized he’ll only deal if the price is reasonable and that some of the players he has interest in he’d like to keep for the future, too. Drouin, who is still on his entry-level contract, fits that bill.
The Ducks GM also said negotiations have hit a stalemate with his impending restricted free agents. That group includes Vatanen, who turns RFA on July 1 and will be looking for a long-term deal up from the $1.275 million he now earns annually. Vatanen already went the bridge-deal route with the Ducks in the summer of 2014, after his name hit the trade rumour mill at that year’s deadline as well.
“We’ve tried on a couple [RFAs] and got nowhere. Now is not the time to talk anymore,” Murray said. “Nothing was going anywhere. It’s going to be an interesting summer around here, I’ll tell you that.”
Not only did Vatanen play Sunday night, he pitched in with two assists in the streaking Ducks’ 4-2 win over L.A.
Tampa GM Steve Yzerman is trying his best to trade the disgruntled Drouin Monday for a defenceman who can help his club in the playoffs. Minnesota and Ottawa are among a reported dozen teams that have inquired about Drouin.
Murray made some interesting comments about the Drouin debacle last month.
“Every time I turn the page, I hear we’re making a deal with a certain team on the East Coast,” Murray said in January.
“There’s more than just him that’s probably out there and available right now. Let’s just leave it at that. We’re looking at a whole bunch of things. We know he’s there, but there’s a few others out there, too, that haven’t requested trades. Requesting trades on entry level, that’s something new for you and I… Entry-level players requesting trades. Amazing.”