They’re still in line for big trade
The Ducks made a trade Saturday, but Keith Tkachuk wasn’t involved. That’s not to say it won’t happen though.
In dealing away rookie defenseman Shane O’Brien and a 2007 third-round pick to Tampa Bay, Ducks General Manager Brian Burke got the first-round pick he may need to pry Tkachuk out of St. Louis before Tuesday’s NHL trade deadline.
The Ducks also received goaltending prospect Gerald Coleman, but the draft pick is key to the deal. St. Louis, which is 12 points out of a playoff spot, is entertaining offers for Tkachuk and fellow winger Bill Guerin, who can become unrestricted free agents July 1.
While unable to comment specifically because of league tampering rules, Burke said the first-round pick gives him options to bring in a scoring forward.
“The first-round pick is already in play and it gets us into the card game,” Burke said.
At the least, the Ducks get back a No. 1 pick they lost to Edmonton in acquiring Chris Pronger. But that is merely the fallback plan if Burke can’t get another deal done.
The Ducks are also pursuing a top-four defenseman and they have been linked to Montreal’s Sheldon Souray, who’s having a career year with 21 goals and 52 points.
Souray is expected to command $5 million a season on the open market if he becomes an unrestricted free agent.
A possible and cheaper alternative could be the Kings’ Brent Sopel, who has 23 points in 43 games and is also a pending free agent.
O’Brien, 23, played in all 62 games and had two goals and 14 points along with a team-high 140 penalty minutes. Coleman, 21, has split time with Springfield, Mass., of the American Hockey League and Johnstown, Md., of the East Coast Hockey League.
“We wouldn’t have made this deal without him,” Burke said of Coleman.
Before Saturday’s practice, Ducks Coach Randy Carlyle met with several veteran players, including Scott Niedermayer, Pronger and forwards Rob Niedermayer and Teemu Selanne, to ask them for more in light of their listless 4-1 loss Friday at Dallas.
“They should be at the forefront,” Carlyle said. “But that doesn’t absolve anyone that’s in our lineup from playing to a higher level than they have in the last little while.”
Said Pronger: “We’ve obviously got to step up. I’ve got to be better. Scotty’s got to be better. Robby, Teemu, etc. The veterans that have been around the game long enough [need] to elevate their play, much like what you need to do in the playoffs.”
vs. Colorado, 5 p.m., Ch. 56
Site -- Honda Center.
Radio -- 830.
Records -- Ducks 35-17-10; Avalanche 29-28-5.
Record vs. Avalanche -- 0-1-2.
Update -- Colorado goaltender Peter Budaj was stellar in victories over the Ducks on Jan. 13 and Feb. 13, stopping a combined 70 of 72 shots.
Tickets -- (877) 945-3946.