With only 15 games left on the schedule, the Anaheim Ducks’ 2022-23 season is quickly coming to a close. It’s been a forgettable year for the Ducks as they put the finishing touches on their fifth straight season without a playoff berth. While the next significant date for the organization will be the Draft Lottery, one of the more interesting facets of the team will be roster turnover. Even after trading pending free agents John Klingberg and Dmitry Kulikov, Anaheim is rostering 13 expiring contracts with unrestricted and restricted statuses.
Some decisions — Trevor Zegras, Troy Terry, and Jamie Drysdale — will be easy re-signs. However, a handful of these players are on the margins of the roster, with any sort of promotion or acquisition threatening their spot in the lineup. As the team improves and exits its multi-year rebuild, these are the roster moves necessary to improve the on-ice product. Here are three familiar faces who may not be on the Ducks’ roster next season.
Derek Grant has been with the Ducks on an on-and-off basis since the 2017-18 season. After a career year debuting for Anaheim, he signed as a free agent with the Pittsburgh Penguins only to be traded back to the Ducks months later. Anaheim traded him to the Philadelphia Flyers a year later, but he again returned to sign a three-year deal with the Ducks in the offseason. His contract is set to expire, and his services will unlikely be renewed.
While Grant is far from the most talented center to wear a Ducks’ uniform, he has done everything asked of him during these lean rebuilding years. In his first season on the team, Anaheim was hampered by injuries down the middle, forcing him to play as the top-line center between Rickard Rakell and Corey Perry. After failing to score a goal in his first 92 NHL games, Grant finished the 2017-18 season with 12 goals in 66 games. He has 53 goals in 294 career games in Anaheim.
Anaheim’s center depth has been an area of focus in recent years, with first-round picks used on Isac Lundestrom, Trevor Zegras, Mason McTavish, and Nathan Gaucher in the last five drafts. Additionally, the offseason signing of Ryan Strome has added another natural center to the roster. Grant never seems to stay away from Anaheim for too long, but it looks doubtful he’ll be on the roster by next season.