While the Vancouver Canucks continue to fight for one of the final Western Conference playoff spots, the Anaheim Ducks appear to be taking a different tact. New Ducks General Manager Pat Verbeek dealt soon-to-be free agent defenceman Josh Manson to the Colorado Avalanche on Monday.
The Pacific Division Ducks get younger with the acquisition of 20-year-old Boston College defenceman Drew Helleson, the Avalanche’s 2nd-round NHL Draft pick in 2019. They also added Colorado’s 2rd-round pick in 2023 while retaining half of Manson’s salary.
Both men are right-handed, Manson a decade older.
The Avalanche have one thing in mind, the Stanley Cup. Adding bruising D-depth, they get a 2nd or 3rd pair blueliner who can occasionally contribute some offence, but is mostly known for taking care of business in his own end. Discipline is key. If Manson, 6-foot-3 and 220 pounds, can lay the lumber while staying out of the box, Colorado just added a very valuable playoff piece.
The Ducks see their playoff chances slipping away and grabbed the opportunity to add a young player and a pick to an already young core while moving out a rental. Of course that’s not to suggest they won’t keep trying, just one point back of Vancouver and four points back of a wild card spot. Their biggest drawback is having played the most games in the Western Conference, 62.
Pop over to Montreal Hockey Now where Jimmy Murphy has a list of other potential NHL trade manoeuvres and we’ll see you back here in a minute. An injury or two have complicated matters.
Gabby Boudreau’s Psyche
NHL coaches have to be a lot of things, often times psychologists among the many job roles. Vancouver Canucks Head Coach Bruce Boudreau half-jokingly asked for some help in that department after the 2-1 loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning on Sunday night.
When asked about how to get his players off to a better start, as in, cranking things up from the drop of the puck in the first period as opposed to falling behind, Boudreau couldn’t really find an answer.
“I have no idea, get some psychologists in here and we’ll work with them,” Boudreau said.
Earlier in the post game press conference, he took a more comprehensive look at how the problem affected Sunday night’s result.
“There’s nothing more you can do, other than warn them, show them, tell them, instead of … the other team came out harder for the first ten minutes and that was it, I think they had 14 shots in the first ten minutes and then I thought we finally said ‘OK, let’s wake up’. Sometimes when you’re playing the Stanley Cup champions and they’ve got a two-nothing lead they’re just not going to relinquish it.”
There’s an old saying that “come-from-behind hockey is losing hockey” and for the most part that’s very true. The Vancouver Canucks bucked the trend recently with comeback wins over the New York Islanders and Toronto Maple Leafs and a comeback overtime loss to the Washington Capitals, but as Boudreau pointed out, more often than not it’s a very tall task. It also gets old when ‘chasing the game’ occurs on a regular basis.