Burke is on lookout for help
As he bounced around the U.S. and Canada to conduct business over the last few days, Ducks General Manager Brian Burke has kept abreast of his team’s struggle to find some offense.
The Ducks have been shut out in three of the last five games, and their last goal came from Shawn Thornton eight days ago in a loss to San Jose.
Burke maintains the Ducks have the personnel to shake themselves out of this slump. But that doesn’t mean he isn’t working behind the scenes to help a suddenly stagnant lineup.
“We’re working the phones frantically and we’re kicking tires,” Burke said from his office Wednesday. “So far, no one has made an offer that works for us.”
As the Feb. 27 trade deadline nears, the Ducks’ greatest need appears to be at left wing, where second-year players Chris Kunitz and Dustin Penner are their only offensive threats. And both are cold. Kunitz has two goals in his last 25 games, and Penner has three in his last 18. That has led to speculation that Burke is pursuing a veteran scorer.
Several players who will be unrestricted free agents in the off-season fit that category. St. Louis forwards Keith Tkachuk and Bill Guerin would be attractive playoff rentals. Tkachuk, in particular, is believed to be on the Ducks’ radar, as is Columbus winger Fredrik Modin.
And there is still Philadelphia center Peter Forsberg, who reportedly would waive his no-trade clause if the Ducks want to work out a deal.
Acquiring the Swedish superstar might be a longshot, however. The Ducks do not have a first- or second-round pick in 2007 -- the Flyers reportedly want at least one first -- and are loath to give up either of their young forwards or top prospect Bobby Ryan for a short-term solution.
Burke said owners Henry and Susan Samueli have given him the OK to go above their current $40-million payroll, which is $4 million under the salary cap. Not that anything is imminent.
“I can easily see us doing nothing or making hockey deals [for the long term] rather than rentals,” Burke said.
at Phoenix, 6 PST, Ch. 56
Site -- Jobing.com Arena.
Radio -- 830.
Records -- Ducks 33-16-8, Coyotes 25-30-2.
Record vs. Coyotes -- 4-1-0.
Update -- The Ducks have won 11 of the last 13 games in the series.