Insider: Ducks "Wielding the Hammer" in Jamie Drysdale Talks

With the Trevor Zegras signing official, the Anaheim Ducks and their fans are breathing a huge sigh of relief. But there's still some unfinished business, with one more notable RFA, Jamie Drysdale, still unsigned. 

And according to insider Elliotte Friedman on his latest 32 Thoughts piece, "it sounds like there’s been some movement" in talks.

But Drysdale's near-season-long injury last year is throwing a wrench into the negotiations, as Friedman explains:

The biggest hurdle here surrounds the torn labrum Drysdale suffered in 2022-23. It limited him to eight games, two below the cutline for an “accumulated season” toward salary arbitration. As a result, the young defender is two years away from eligibility for that process, not one. The Ducks are wielding that hammer, hard.

The team is said to be wanting to get Drysdale signed for more than a small one-year throw-away deal, and playing hardball to get something with more term done, but of course at a team-friendly rate.

And adding confusion (or frustration, in the Drysdale camp) is the fact of those two measly games that he fell short of that arbitration process for next year, improving the Ducks' negotiating position now. Sources told Friedman that "there was some grumbling about him not being able to play at the end of the season."

But GM Pat Verbeek is adamant there was no wrongdoing. “The timeline (always was) six months. From the doctors’ standpoint, they always say four-to-six, but this injury that Jamie had was never going to be less than six months for him to be able to return to the ice. I had this conversation with not only our doctors, but with Jamie a couple weeks before training camp. We actually cleared this up a long time ago."

All of that being said, Friedman does say that there's some "movement" on a possible agreement in the near future with Drysdale.

Photo; Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports