After not buying out defenseman Kevin Bieksa or even asking him to waive his no-movement clause (NMC), the Anaheim Ducks had put themselves in a suboptimal position prior to the expansion draft for the Vegas Golden Knights.

As the Ducks submitted their list of protected players a few days before the expansion draft, reports surfaced that the club had reached a deal with the Golden Knights to lay off exposed defensemen Sami Vatanen and Josh Manson. The question, of course, was what the Ducks were giving up in this agreement.

As it turned out, promising young blueliner Shea Theodore was the key to the deal.

The Good News: Depth and Flexibility

Despite parting with Theodore, the expansion draft has not been a complete disaster for the Ducks. They shed expendable defender Clayton Stoner and his $3.25-million average annual value (AAV), as the Knights selected him within the parameters of the agreement. Stoner is a more defensive-oriented and physical blueliner whose style is becoming less and less important in today’s league. Injuries and a numbers game on the blue line limited him to just 14 games this past regular season and none in the postseason.