It was expected Anaheim would ask veteran defenseman Kevin Bieksa to waive his no-movement clause for the Vegas expansion draft.
The Ducks very well may have, ahead of yesterday’s 5 p.m. ET deadline. But nobody will confirm.
Per the O.C. Register, neither the club nor Bieksa’s agent, Kurt Overhardt, would comment on whether the 36-year-old rearguard had been approached.
Bieksa has long been viewed as the “key” to Anaheim’s expansion plans. His NMC means he requires protection, which is less than ideal given the Ducks have a plethora of good, young defenseman they’d like to keep.
If the Ducks decide to protect seven forwards and three defensemen, Hampus Lindholm will be protected for sure, and Shea Theodore and Brandon Montour are each exempt. But that only leaves two spots for Bieksa, Sami Vatanen, Cam Fowler, and Josh Manson.
Even without the looming specter of the expansion draft, Bieksa is still somewhat problematic. He’s set to make $4 million next season, which is a lot of money for a third-pairing defenseman in the twilight of his career.
As such, the solution may come via the buyout route.
Of course, Ducks GM Bob Murray could orchestrate a handshake deal with Vegas GM George McPhee, in which McPhee passes on taking one of Anaheim’s assets — like Manson, for example — in exchange for compensation further down the road. It’s believed McPhee has a similar deal in place with Columbus, with regards to Scott Hartnell and Josh Anderson.