Ducks GM: Team won't negotiate with Zegras, Terry, Drysdale during season

Debora Robinson / National Hockey League / Getty

Anaheim Ducks general manager Pat Verbeek won't negotiate extensions with pending restricted free agents Trevor Zegras, Troy Terry, and Jamie Drysdale until after the 2022-23 season.

"That way, the players don't have a distraction," Verbeek said, according to The Athletic's Eric Stephens. "It gives the players the full year to kind of just concentrate on playing hockey and then at the appropriate time we'll talk with the agents and do what we got to do."

Zegras and Drysdale are each playing out the final year of their entry-level pacts, while Terry is entering the last season of a three-year contract with a cap hit of $1.45 million.

Anaheim currently has just under $16.6 million in projected cap space, with the regular season just weeks away. They also have some pricy contracts coming off the books soon: John Klingberg, Kevin Shattenkirk, and Dmitry Kulikov are all scheduled to become unrestricted free agents next summer.

"We're going to have to see how their years go this year, and then obviously, we're going to have to get some new contracts out," Verbeek said. "Having flexibility with the cap is vital moving ahead. At the end of the day, there's only so much money to go around. We have to make sure we can all fit it in."

Zegras, one of the NHL 23 cover athletes and a frequent viral sensation, will likely command the most money of the three. The 21-year-old Calder Trophy finalist potted 23 goals and 38 assists in 75 contests during his first full NHL season.

Terry enjoyed a breakout campaign in 2021-22 and paced the team with 37 goals and 67 points - 52 of which came at even strength. His previous career high in points was 20.

The 25-year-old also led the Ducks in goals above replacement (16.3) and wins above replacement (2.9), according to Evolving Hockey. Whether he can carry that momentum into the new season will dictate the kind of contract he can command.

Drysdale is a key piece in the future of Anaheim's blue line. The 20-year-old ranked fourth on the team in average ice time per game (19:53) last year and was second among rookie defensemen with 32 points in 81 games.

The Ducks will look to take a step forward in 2022-23 after finishing seventh in the Pacific Division with a 31-37-14 record last season. Anaheim opens its preseason slate on Sept. 25 against the Arizona Coyotes.

Ducks GM: Team won't negotiate with Zegras, Terry, Drysdale during season
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