Anaheim Ducks trade rumors: Goaltending a position of strength for West leaders

Anne-Marie Sorvin-USA TODAY Sports

The Ducks probably have the deepest goalie pool in the NHL. Will they sell one at the deadline?

The Anaheim Ducks transitioned a last-place finish two seasons ago into a Pacific Division title last season that culminated in a shortened playoff run. One year later and the Ducks have maintained regular-season dominance and emerged as an early favorite in the Western Conference hunt.

However, the potential of an early postseason exit still exists given the new playoff format that will force the Ducks to battle at least one Pacific Division opponent -- arguably the best division in hockey this season -- if they hope to reach the Western Conference Final.

Boasting excellence in most phases of the game, the question becomes whether Anaheim manager Bob Murray will look to upgrade his roster heading into the stretch run. The Ducks have largely maintained a consistent group over the last two seasons, but could see a need to bolster the roster with some depth in the case of injury.

Anaheim has an overabundance of talent in the goaltender position and could look to use that wealth to add pieces for a run at their second Stanley Cup since 2007.

Goaltender gluttony

Much like the Ottawa Senators last season, the Ducks have a trio of goaltenders -- Jonas Hiller, Frederik Andersen and Viktor Fasth -- that have shined at the NHL level.

Hiller, a longtime member of the team, was initially believed to be the odd-man out entering this season given the fantastic play of Fasth last season. In addition, the 32-year-old Hiller will become an unrestricted free agent this summer, which makes him the perfect rental candidate for another team.

With Fasth, 31, signed through next season and Andersen, 24, under club control beyond his contract's expiration in the summer of 2016, the Ducks have plenty of options moving forward (not including the exciting prospect of 20-year-old John Gibson).

But an injury to Fasth in November allowed Hiller to regain control of the crease, which has resulted in Hiller's value shifting from potential packages to prospective parades. Murray has stated on record that he has no plans to trade Hiller, as the club views his on-ice performance to be more valuable than any trade return.

'Will save for food'

The unfortunate reality is goaltender depth might not have much value in the current landscape. It's difficult to identify teams that are looking for upgrades in goal, or more specifically, would be looking to upgrade for a playoff run.

So while the Ducks have candidates qualified for the jobs, the jobs just don't exist.

What do they want?

The Ducks don't have many holes throughout their lineup, which indicates the club might look to deepen the roster in preparation for a long run through the West.

The team's specialty units rank near the mid-portion of the league, while their even-strength production is near the top. Maybe Murray looks to bolster the penalty kill or power play in hopes of a well-rounded roster.

Otherwise, the team has a capable first line, a solid defense corps and depth in net.

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