Pat Verbeek wasted little time making an impression as the Anaheim Ducks' new GM. Within a month of taking over the job, he indicated his intention to trade pending free agents Hampus Lindholm, Rickard Rakell and Josh Manson if unable to re-sign them by the March 21 trade deadline.
He made good on that vow with Manson, shipping the 30-year-old defenseman to the Colorado Avalanche on Monday for a prospect and a draft pick. Whether Lindholm and Rakell ended up traded depends on how contract talks progress leading up to deadline day.
Following the Manson trade, The Orange County Register's Elliott Teaford reported Lindholm sought a longer-term deal than the five-year contract he'd been offered by the Ducks. The 28-year-old blueliner could soon hit the trade block if Verbeek is unwilling to budge.
A skillful top-four defenseman, Lindholm will draw considerable interest from playoff contenders. Sportsnet's Mike Johnston recently suggested the Toronto Maple Leafs, Florida Panthers, St. Louis Blues and New York Rangers as potential trade destinations.
Rakell, 28, is a former two-time 30-goal scorer on pace to exceed 20 goals this season for the fourth time in his career. Contenders seeking scoring depth on right wing could come calling. NBC Sports' Adam Gretz suggested the Rangers, Pittsburgh Penguins and Boston Bruins as logical landing spots.
Given the need for defensemen among postseason contenders, Lindholm could draw more interest than Rakell. However, Cap Friendly indicates he carries an annual salary-cap hit of over $5.2 million, making him a difficult acquisition for cap-strapped clubs like the Leafs and Blues. Rakell, meanwhile, carries a more affordable $3.789-million cap hit, which could prove enticing for teams seeking cost-effective scoring depth.