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December 31, 2013 | 1:48pm ET
Ducks looking to bolster blueline
TheFourthPeriod.com

With the calendar flipping to 2014, NHL general managers will soon become hockey's versions of the Wolf of Wall Street.

They'll be working the phones to corner the market on assets they need to put them over the top for a Stanley Cup championship.

Between now and the March 5 trade deadline, TFP will regularly break down a team's most pressing need, at the time, with a solution on how to cash out.

We get things going in Anaheim, where the Ducks have flown to the top of the NHL propelled once again by Corey Perry and Ryan Getzlaf, whose play should garner him a Hart Trophy nomination at season's end.

The Situation: Despite significant injuries, head coach Bruce Boudreau has pressed all the right buttons to place the Ducks atop the Pacific Division ahead of the pre-season divisional favorites Los Angeles and San Jose.

The Need: There are questions about the ability of the Ducks' blueline to carry them to a deep playoff run. Injuries to Sheldon Souray and Luca Sbisa (both absent due to wrist surgery) have forced rookies Hampus Lindholm and Sami Vatanen into action.

Lindholm has been a revelation, entering the Calder discussion for Rookie of the Year with his play through half a season, but the injuries have pushed Cam Fowler and Ben Lovejoy up to the top pairing.

Even with the expected return of Souray and Sbisa to the lineup in the season's second half, the Ducks could use another veteran defenseman to solidify the group.

The Play: The Ducks are deep at forward and have skill players battling for ice time. Dustin Penner has also been a revelation in the O.C., Jakob Silfverberg is a future All-Star and Andrew Cogliano is on track for a 20-goal season from the third line.

The forward that hasn't solidified his role on the team is winger Kyle Palmieri, a 2009 first-round selection with a scoring touch and versatility. Though he scored back-to-back game winning goals on Anaheim's recent road trip, he found himself a healthy scratch when the team returned to Honda Center against Phoenix.

The New York Rangers are in need of more offense and with veteran rearguard Dan Girardi approaching unrestricted free agency, an exchange involving these two would a start the discussion.

The Rangers, who would need more in return, mind you, would gain a player with contractual control to help their stagnant offense, while Palmieri would be highly motivated with a return home to his metro New York roots.

If the Ducks defer on Girardi's walkway status, another option could be Ottawa Senators blueliner Marc Methot, who has one-year remaining on his deal beyond this season at a reasonable cap hit of $3 million.

TFP Senior Writer Dennis Bernstein contributed to this report.


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