Trade Grade: Anaheim Ducks trade Josh Manson to the Colorado Avalanche

Image Credit: (Jayne Kamin-Oncea/USA Today Sports)

The NHL Trade Deadline is in six days and there should be a lot of deals that will take place for teams trying to bolstering there roster for the playoffs or for getting value for the future of their team to help rebuild. This is one of those deals. The Colorado Avalanche and the Anaheim Ducks have agreed to a trade involving Josh Manson.

Anaheim Ducks Acquire: 2023 2nd Round Pick and D Drew Helleson
Colorado Avalanche Acquire: D Josh Manson

Anaheim Ducks Side

It took Anaheim long enough to trade Josh Manson as it has been a long time that he has been on the trading block. The Anaheim Ducks are in a season where I would like to call the “Bad Contract Suffer year’’. What it means is that the Ducks are going through another season where they have to deal with another year of bad contracts that the Ducks signed as they are locked into cap hell. The team really should rebuild but can’t because of these awful contracts. Josh Manson was not an awful contract but it was clear that he was not going to be the long term player as he was a pending UFA. To add onto it he had a cap hit of 4.1 million AAV and Anaheim has agreed to retain 50% of Manson’s salary. Which is a solid decision to make as the Ducks need as much cap space as they can get. They grow their draft capital with a second round pick and their prospect pool. Drew Helleson is a solid prospect to have on the team but as of now he is currently unsigned. Helleson is 20 years old, is 6’3 and weighs 190 lbs. He has a lot of potential from what I have seen from him in the NCAA’s Boston College hockey team. Maybe with this deal in place he will likely sign his deal to play in the NHL once he is finished up in college.

Colorado Avalanche Side
The Colorado Avalanche recently lost 2nd pairing defenseman Samuel Girard to injury for four weeks. The Avalanche needed to find someone to help support that second pairing while its best piece is out with injury. They have done just that in this acquisition.  While Manson’s underlying numbers are not spectacular, he is known for being a solid two way defenseman. His name is often brought up as a good piece for teams looking to bolster their blue line to acquire. The Avalanche were looking for just that. While the Avalanche have one of the best defenses in the league, they are also a team that suffers injuries at an incredibly high rate. Having a solid two-way defenseman who can put up 2nd pairing minutes will be important for the team to make a deep playoff run. 

Manson is also a physical presence on the ice. He is 6’3” and 218 lbs. The Avalanche defense is known to be on the smaller side with top pairing players like Girard only being 5’10” and 170 lbs. Manson is a good two way defensemen in addition to his size and physicality. The Avalanche have made sacrifices in the past to bring on bigger, more physical defensemen to make up the 3rd pairing and provide relief for the smaller skill guys. Manson can score and he can throw a hit. He is the perfect balanced defenseman for the Avalanche to add ahead of the deadline. The advanced stats don’t highly tout him because his last two years of play have been rough, especially on a rebuilding Ducks team. When watching him play though, it is clear he passes the eye test for a good defensemen who can still play consistently in both zones while still having the much needed sandpaper despite any performance dropoff. The Avs are the perfect place for Manson to get back to the top of his game in time for the playoffs. The Avalanche will need depth at every position to reach their cup dreams and Manson improves their blue line immensely. He will be an upgrade on both Jack Johnson and Ryan Murray as the defenseman slotting into the second and third pairings. 

Manson also has a reasonable cap hit of 2.1 million dollars because Anaheim agreed to retain 50% of his salary. He is a rental as well meaning he will not take up any of the Avalanche’s cap space next year, unless they decide to re-sign him. However he will become just one of many pending UFAs the Avalanche have to re-sign this off-season. Starting goaltender Darcy Kuemper and half of the top six in addition to Manson are all pending UFAs. This is an all or nothing deal.  The Avs have a few games of Manson and hopefully he uses those games to help the Avs get out of the second round. 

The stats in question:

Grades for Josh Manson Trade
Anaheim Ducks: B+
Colorado Avalanche: B

This is a win-win deal for both teams here. The Ducks have leverage in the deal here as winners as they get to grow their draft capital and get a prospect to add to their prospect pool. The Avalanche don’t lose here as they get a defenseman to plug in to help deal with the injuries on their team he is a solid defenseman. But I have to give an asterisk on how Colorado does in the playoffs. If they make it to the finals and win the Stanley Cup this season then they win this deal. But overall a solid move for both teams here.

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