The Anaheim Ducks will not discuss new contracts with Trevor Zegras, Jamie Drysdale and Troy Terry until after this season, general manager Pat Verbeek said.
Zegras, a forward, and Drysdale, a defenseman, each is entering the final season of a three-year, entry-level contract. Terry, a forward, is also entering the final season of a three-year contract. Each can become a restricted free agent.
"We're going to wait until the season goes," Verbeek told The Athletic in remarks published Thursday. "That way the players don't have a distraction. It gives the players the full year to kind of just concentrate on playing hockey and then at the appropriate time we'll talk with the agents and do what we got to do."
Zegras had 61 points (23 goals, 38 assists), second among rookies behind forward Michael Bunting of the Toronto Maple Leafs (63 points), in 75 games with last season and was a finalist for the Calder Trophy, awarded to the NHL rookie of the year. Selected by the Ducks with the No. 9 pick in the 2019 NHL Draft, the 21-year-old has 61 points (26 goals, 48 assists) in 99 games.
Drysdale had 32 points (four goals, 28 assists), second among rookie defensemen behind Calder Trophy winner Moritz Seider of the Detroit Red Wings (50 points), in 81 games last season. The 20-year-old, who was the No. 6 pick in the 2020 NHL Draft, has 40 points (seven goals, 33 assists) in 105 games.
"We hope they take their game to another level," Verbeek said of Zegras and Drysdale. "We're going to need them to take it to another level. The hardest thing coming into your second year is teams start to know who you are. It's not easier, it's harder and I think they understand that. We'll see. That's the hardest thing. Second year is always a tough year for NHL players. I'm hoping they take a big step and keep elevating their game."
Terry led Anaheim with NHL career highs in goals (37) and points (67) in 75 games last season, his fifth in the League. A fifth-round pick (No. 148) in the 2015 NHL Draft, the 25-year-old has 115 points (52 goals, 63 assists) in 204 games.
"We're going to have to see how their years go this year and then obviously we're going to have to get some new contracts out," Verbeek told the Ducks website. "Having flexibility with the (NHL salary) cap is vital moving ahead. At the end of the day, there's only so much money to go around. We have to make sure we can all fit it in."
The Ducks signed forwards Ryan Strome (five years) and Frank Vatrano (three years), and defenseman John Klingberg (one year) to contracts as free agents this offseason. At 31-37-14, they finished seventh in the Pacific Division last season and have not qualified for the Stanley Cup Playoffs since 2017-18.
Verbeek also said the Ducks are in no rush to name a captain after Ryan Getzlaf, their captain for the past 12 seasons, retired.
"We're going to take our time," Verbeek told the team website. "… When we name a captain, it's going to be the right guy and a guy we plan on [him] being here for a long time."