Josh Manson and the Toronto Maple Leafs
First, Manson injured his finger during a game against the Ottawa Senators on January 28 and went on IR in early February, where he was classified as out indefinitely. If you don’t know when a guy will be healthy, it makes it very difficult to target that player at the deadline.
Recently, it has come out that the Ducks are expecting Manson back any day now. According to Eric Stephens of The Athletic, Manson has recovered from his finger fracture and is on track to play Thursday night against Nashville.
Second, and to the surprise of many, the Anaheim Ducks have spent most of this season in a playoff position. There is no way the Ducks are subtracting a player like Manson if they have a chance to make the playoffs.
Unfortunately for them, the team is 4-6 in their last ten games, and currently on the outside of the playoff picture at the time of writing this. They are now 4 points out of wild card contention, and two of the teams ahead of them are on fire (the Dallas Stars and Vancouver Canucks). Connor McDavid and the Oilers are also ahead of them, and I don’t think they are interested in missing the playoffs either.
The Ducks will need to make up ground in the next 10 days or so if they want to convince themselves that a playoff run is a reality. It’s possible, but it’s unlikely, and Pat Verbeek has already said publicly that he wants to get assets for his UFA’s if he is in the position to do so. Anybody that is not extended by March 21 is going to be available.
Third, it was made known by Elliot Freedman that Manson had Toronto on his limited no-trade list, citing the Covid restrictions in Ontario as a deterrent to playing there.
In recent developments, the Canadian teams are easing restrictions, and travel across the border is opening back up. If this trend continues, Manson may decide to waive his no-trade to go to a Canadian team that has a chance at a playoff run.
If this truly is the guy Dubas wants, events are now in motion that could change the landscape around a player that was, by all accounts, previously unavailable.