Ducks center Derek Grant sits out OT loss to Vegas with trade deadline near
ANAHEIM - Ducks center Derek Grant was held out of their 6-5 overtime loss Sunday against the Vegas Golden Knights at Honda Center, a clear signal general manager Bob Murray had at least one pending offer for one of his most valuable trade chips before Monday's deadline.
It wasn't certain which teams were bidding for the services of Grant, who has a career-high 14 goals to go with six assists in 49 games in his second stint with the Ducks. He is eligible to become an unrestricted free agent July 1 and could re-sign with the Ducks if he is dealt.
Murray made one significant move Friday to acquire center David Backes, a first-round draft pick and a prospect from the Boston Bruins in exchange for right wing Ondrej Kase. The keys to the deal were the additions of the pick and the prospect, junior-level defenseman Axel Andersson.
Backes, 35, could be slotted into Grant's spot as the Ducks' fourth-line center when he's ready to play, and assuming Grant is actually traded before noon (PST) on Monday. Backes had been out of the Bruins' plans since Jan. 9, and played only 16 games this season, his 14th in the NHL.
The Ducks could have used his experience Sunday. In fact, they could have used all the help they could get when it came to containing Golden Knights forward William Karlsson, whose hat trick propelled Vegas to a 5-3 lead it could not hold in the final minutes of regulation.
Adam Henrique scored twice, including once with goalie John Gibson on the bench in favor of a sixth skater, to rally the Ducks for a 5-5, forcing the game to overtime. Nick Ritchie assisted on both goals, after he had scored two goals earlier in the game.
Former Ducks defenseman Shea Theodore then won it 3:50 into OT for Vegas, its fifth in a row.
Vegas rallied for a 3-2 lead entering the third on goals from Alec Martinez, the former Kings defenseman to returned to Southern California for the first time since a trade last week, and Karlsson, a former Ducks forward who continues to haunt his old club.
The teams traded goals in the first half of the third, with Ritchie and Karlsson each scoring his second of the game. Karlsson's goal came just as a tripping penalty to the Ducks' Max Jones expired and it gave the Golden Knights a 4-3 lead at 6:28 of the period. Karlsson then made it 5-3 at 11:05.
The Ducks recalled right wing Kiefer Sherwood from the San Diego Gulls of the AHL before Sunday's game against Vegas, and coach Dallas Eakins played him on the top line alongside left wing Rickard Rakell and center Ryan Getzlaf. It was a prime assignment.
Eakins also shifted Devin Shore into Grant's center spot and the move paid off with a goal in the dying seconds of the opening period. Shore deflected a perimeter shot from defenseman Brendan Guhle into the net to tie the score 1-1 at 19:58 of the first period.
The Ducks were outplayed for extended stretches to start the game, and they trailed 1-0 after Patrick Brown scored his first NHL goal, at 12:49 of the first period. Shore's goal sent a jolt of energy through the Ducks and they moved ahead 2-1 on Ritchie's goal at 10:03 of the second.
More to come on this report.
OMG in OT 😜#VegasBorn | #NHL20 pic.twitter.com/7HVc9zNvyg
- Vegas Golden Knights (@GoldenKnights) February 24, 2020
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