There are a lot of questions surrounding the Anaheim Ducks this season. The first and biggest one is can they possibly keep up this pace and be a true contender (the answer is probably not, but that's for another story).
Both of the star players are free agents after this season, creating quite the conundrum for Ducks GM Bob Murray. Right now he has a team that's sitting in second place in the Western Conference, and while the Ducks might not be as good as they have looked so far, they are undoubtedly a playoff contender.
In other words, they aren't going to be in the position of being sellers if the April 3 trade deadline comes and the players remain unsigned.
That's why contract talks will start in the next week, with the Ducks trying to get one or both players signed to a new deal. Conventional wisdom seems to suggest Getzlaf will re-sign but Perry will be a lot trickier. If it comes to one or both not signing an extension, the Ducks will have some serious thinking to do, and they might give more thought to trading them than you would think.
From Pierre LeBrun of ESPN:
On the one hand, you figure there's no way you can afford to trade Perry, given that the Ducks are challenging for first overall in the NHL standings.
On the other hand, I think every GM in the league watched as Nashville kept Ryan Suter past the trade deadline last season, same for New Jersey and Zach Parise, and then watched both players walk out the door July 1, getting nothing in return.
This is just me guessing, but I believe there's a real chance the Ducks contemplate trading Perry if he's not signed by April 3, no matter their position in the standings. Again, no one has told me that but that's me reading the tea leaves, especially when you consider how sour the Ducks were after losing Justin Schultz to free agency last summer.
As you can see, there's a conundrum. Do you risk not trading one of your best players for the shot at playoff success and hopefully re-signing him before he hits free agency, or do diminish your team's chances at a playoff run this season and make sure you get something in return for a player like Perry?
If I'm Murray, that's a decision I don't make until the last minute, after I've judged what my team's chance is at making a good playoff run. If he truly believes his team can win the Cup, I think you have to go for it. That's the goal of every franchise, and the chance doesn't come around every year. Plus, maybe winning the Cup or getting close could help convince Perry to stay more than money would convince him.
But I completely get LeBrun's thinking, and other GMs certainly do, too. It's crushing to a franchise to get nothing in return for a player of Perry's caliber (and Getzlaf's). It's a brutally tough call, and you can argue there is no right answer, at least not until hindsight kicks in.
This year's trade deadline figures to have a few interesting names, but things will get crazy if Perry and/or Getzlaf lands on the block. It's hard to imagine any GM that wouldn't want either of those guys.