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The Anaheim Ducks announced today that center Ryan Kesler and winger Patrick Eaves will miss the entire 2019-20 season.
Patrick Eaves was acquired from the Dallas Stars at the 2017 trade deadline for a conditional 2nd round pick that turned into a 1st round pick due to the conditions being met. He immediately made an impact for the Ducks, scoring 11 goals in in 20 games in the regular season and adding two more in the first round of the playoffs before becoming injured.
He was awarded a three year contract with a $3.15 million AAV. Unfortunately Eaves only played two games the following season before being diagnosed with a now-unclassifiable muscle disease that threatened his life and mobility. After making a miraculous recovery and healing from a shoulder injury early last season, Eaves made his return, only playing in seven games this last season before being sidelined again before eventually finishing the season in San Diego.
With the announcement that he is now out for the season, Eaves’ career as a Duck is likely over, as this is the final year of his current contract.
For Ryan Kesler, the news of being sidelined for the year has been expected all summer. After Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman reported last offseason that Kesler might not play in 2018-19, the veteran center surprised everyone by playing 60 games. Unfortunately, Kesler was clearly not the same player the Ducks had traded for back in 2014, putting up a career low eight points while having some of the worst shot metrics of any center in the NHL.
After Kesler played his 1000th career NHL game against Arizona in March, he played one more game to be honored at Honda Center by the Ducks before promptly sitting out the rest of the year. A Sports Illustrated article including interviews with Kesler revealed just how many agonizing struggles he had to endure just to stay on the ice and reach 1000 games played.
Kesler still has three seasons remaining on his six year, $6.875 million contract. It’s very possible that he could spend the remainder of that deal on LTIR, though Kesler did not entirely rule out trying to make a comeback at some point after undergoing hip resurfacing surgery in May.
With both Eaves and Kesler on Long Term Injured Reserve this year, the Ducks could have up to $10 million in cap relief should they have the need. However, the team currently sits $8.5 million under the cap, the fifth-lowest mark in the league according to CapFriendly, and with training camp underway, it’s unlikely they will need the room anytime soon.