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Ducks add Gauthier, deal Drysdale to Flyers in shocker

Xavier Laine / Getty Images Sport / Getty

The Anaheim Ducks traded defenseman Jamie Drysdale and a 2025 second-round pick to the Philadelphia Flyers for the signing rights to prospect Cutter Gauthier on Monday.

Drysdale, 21, was drafted sixth overall by the Ducks in 2020. He's played just 18 games over the past two seasons due to injury. Drysdale is in the first season of a three-year contract with a $2.3-million cap hit, which was signed in October after a difficult negotiation as a restricted free agent.

Gauthier, 19, starred with the United States at the recently completed World Junior Championship. He co-led the tournament with 12 points and was named to the media All-Star team. The 2022 fifth overall pick is currently playing at Boston College, where he has 13 goals and 23 points in 17 games.

"This is a trade we felt we needed to make, as a player with Cutter's dynamic skill set are not available often," Ducks general manager Pat Verbeek said in a statement. "We see Cutter as a long-term, high-end player who produces in big moments."

He added: "We also want to thank Jamie for his four years in Anaheim. It is a difficult trade to make, as he has a great future in front of him both on and off the ice."

Flyers GM Daniel Briere confirmed Gauthier didn't want to sign with the team. He has two years of collegiate eligibility remaining after the 2023-24 campaign, at which point Gauthier can elect for free agency rather than sign with the team that has his rights.

"If he didn't want to be here, we're happy to move on," defenseman Travis Sanheim said after the Flyers' 4-1 loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins on Monday, according to NBC Sports Philadelphia's Jordan Hall.

The Flyers engaged in trade talks with 18-20 teams that Gauthier would sign with in recent weeks, Daily Faceoff's Frank Seravalli reports.

"I feel bad for Cutter - well, I don't really feel bad for Cutter when he comes to Philadelphia," Flyers CEO Dan Hilferty said postgame on the "Snow The Goalie" podcast. "It's gonna be a rough ride here, and he earned it. 'Cause you know what? We're Philadelphians, and we want people who wanna be here with us."

After a stellar World Championships last spring, Gauthier declined an invitation to Philadelphia's development camp. At the time, Flyers GM Daniel Briere said, "We're not too worried about that."

Gauthier had reportedly been deemed the Flyers' only untouchable player as recently as June.

Verbeek had coveted Gauthier dating back to the 2022 draft. Anaheim had the 10th overall pick, which was out of Gauthier's range and used to select defenseman Pavel Mintyukov. Verbeek tried to add a high-enough pick to snag Gauthier, according to TSN's Pierre LeBrun, but was unsuccessful.

Should Gauthier sign with the Ducks, he'll add to an array of exciting young forwards on the roster. Anaheim boasts top-five picks Leo Carlsson and Mason McTavish, as well as the highly skilled Trevor Zegras and underrated Troy Terry.

Drysdale brings needed youth to a Flyers back end with only two other defensemen under the age of 26 in Cam York and Egor Zamula.

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