Posts Tagged ‘Saku Koivu’

Ducks have announced the acquisition of center Mathieu Perreault from the cap challenged Washington Capitals in exchange for depth for non-roster forward John Mitchel and a 4th round selection in the 2014 draft.

With Ryan Getzlaf, Nick Bonino and Saku Koivu locked in, Perreault is likely penciled in as the Ducks new 4th line center. Obviously Ducks aren’t convinced that any of Daniel Winnick, Peter Holland or Rickard Rakell are the answer, at least for now.

The 5′ 10″, 185# Perreault has played 159 NHL games racking up 30g 37a 70pts +17 with 70 PIMS. Maybe most importantly he’s gone 50.8 and 51.7 in the faceoff circle in his first two full seasons in the NHL. He also has 11 playoff games under his belt, going 1-4 w/+3 in the Caps 7 Quarter Final loss to the Rangers last season.

Via Ducks News:

“Adding a young, quality center to the mix makes us that much deeper,” said Ducks executive Vice President and General Manager Bob Murray. “”I thought we needed some additional speed and scoring, and he is a feisty competitor. Having played under Bruce was also a factor in acquiring him, that’s another positive. He makes us a better team today.”

A native of Drummondville, Quebec, Perreault played three seasons in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (QMJHL) with Acadie-Bathurst from 2005-08. He won the Jean Beliveau Trophy as the league’s leading scorer in 2007-08 (34-80=114 in 65 games) and earned the Michel Briere Trophy as the league’s MVP in 2006-07 after scoring 41-78=119 points in 67 games.

Blog Summary: Perreault is a high energy player with some scoring upside. He could move up the depth chart upon Saku Koivu’s anticipated retirement. He brings an affordable $1.05m cap hit and will be RFA in 2014.

Cap impact: He brings an affordable $1.05m cap hit and will be RFA in 2014. The move leaves our Ducks with $1.8m in cap space per CapGeek. Any further acquisitions will probably involve a roster player going the other way.

In another player move, Nolan Yonkman was placed on waivers prior to sending him to Norfolk. Ducks have until 5:00pm tomorrow to finalize their opening night roster.

Tonight’s Game:
Phoenix @ Anaheim, 7:00pm start at the Honda Center. Audio stream available at http://ducks.nhl.com/index.html

The previous post, A look at the intangibles really begins this blog’s Ducks coverage of the 2013-14 season. If you haven’t at least skimmed it yet, you’ll be better equipped to understand this one and forthcoming posts through training camp.

At first blush, swapping out Daniel Winnick from the “checking line” for Emerson Etem would indicate a slightly different role for Saku Koivu and Andrew Cogliano. It ain’t necessarily so. All three forwards are proven penalty killers and defensively responsible. The move should improve scoring from the checking line. As Coach noted, “Their speed will give opposing teams fits.” Some sandpaper is sacrificed but Etem’s overall toughness shouldn’t be underrated.
The skill sets are complimentary. As noted all are defensively responsible and great skaters. Koivu and Cogliano are decent playmakers and finishers. Etem is a promising sniper.

One move this blogger has been waiting for and referenced here previously more than once is trying Daniel Winnick at center. Now wwe understand why that hasn’t happened until now.  “We wanted to try this last year, but there was just never a break, and we didn’t want to throw him into the fire.” Boudreau added, “He’s going to stay there for a while, at center, during the preseason,”
With Patrick Maroon and Devante Smith-Pelly on the wings, Winnick could well result in a very physical Stopper Line reminiscent of Pahlsson, Niedermayer & Moen.
Memo to fourth line center hopefuls Peter Holland, Rickard Rakell and Antoine Laganiere: Pick it up a notch!

Notice we have comments from Coachevidencing his thinking on the aforementioned opportunities. Now for one that isn’t being talked about in the blogs or reported on by mainstream media:

Where does Kyle Palmieri fit? Is he Bobby Ryan 2.0? The guy we never find a spot for and instead move him around and ask him to spark whatever line he happens to be on that shift? Jeez, I hope not.
In the early going at least Dustin Penner hasn’t played himself off the top line. Bones, Flash and Silfver are developing chemistry and producing results. The 3rd and 4th lines could be set.
Palmieri has earned more than a 4th line role. He’s aiming to become The Twins linemate. To earn that plum he’ll have to prove himself better than Penner and overcome locker room politics. Not an easy task for a guy who has only recently established his NHL cred.
Boudreau wouldn’t reveal his lineup for tomorrow’s preseason opener against Phoenix (7 p.m., Honda Center), but said “we’ve got the first three games mapped out, in a perfect world, and all seven games mapped out for the goalies.”

Note to credentialed local media: The only reason we don’t have an answer to, “Where Palmieri fits” is because you aren’t asking the question. Aside to readers: Credentialed media claims the main reason for lost audience is increased competition. Just once I’d like them to consider the quality of their reportage.

Note to me: Exhale ;)

Three of the above quotes can be found in this report by Kyle Shohara of AnaheimDucks.com.

Ducks have some interesting parts and pieces. Everybody makes tangible and intangible contributions. This post is about the latter. In this post we’ll identify some of those intangibles and pose the question; Can this Ducks team come together and realize it’s potential?

After a great short season, our Ducks entered the playoffs with great expectations that were quickly dashed by the Detroit Red Wings in a thrilling series. Consequently, Coach Boudreau has defined this campaign as “Unfinished Business.” It’s a great goal defining mantra designed to motivate the players both individually and collectively. Identifying Bruce Boudreau’s most impactful intangible is so easy. It’s his humanity.

To understand the humanity in Gabby take a look at how he honors 9/11.

Gabby’s personal unfinished business is playoff success and get the most from his own personal OT game.

You could have knocked me over with a feather as I read Francois Beauchemin will probably start the season just 4.5 months following reconstructive knee surgery. Beauch is the kind of man whose respect other men aspire to earn. This man played through serious injury to become included in the Norris Trophy conversation. A feat even more amazing when one considers Beauchemin isn’t unanimously considered a top pairing D-man. He’s also not thought of as a heart and soul player though his heart and soul is his greatest single intangible contribution to the team.

Ducks best players, Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry are just entering their prime. Getz having earned his way into the Hart Trophy nomination. Pears has already earned the MVP award.
Bob Murray, at the urging of the Ducks captain, has reunited The Twins with their Cup team line-mate, Dustin Penner. Pancake appears committed to get a career that seemed to waiver off track during his two seasons with the Kings. Will returning to Anaheim do for Penner what it did for Teemu Selanne?
What was once the Kid Line on our Ducks Cup team is now Top Line expected to lead the team back into the elite of the league.

There’s also a very impressive veteran contingent led by Teemu Selanne and Saku Koivu. They will be joined at mid-season by Sheldon Souray. The contributions made by this group reaches far beyond their combined stats. They lead by example and the shared wisdom accumulated through a combined half century of NHL experience.

Ducks have a couple-3 other vets, Andrew Cogliano, Daniel Winnick and Bryan Allen who play an accountable and responsible brand of hockey. Cogs is an NHL Iron Man who can play all three forward positions and in any situation. He is our Ducks Swiss army knife. Contributions of Winnick and Allen are best measured in the reluctance of opposing players to battle position or the biscuit.

The cherry may well be the youth contingent that is made up of 8 guys well positioned to take the loosely defined next step in their respective careers.
Cam Fowler, Nick Bonino, Jakub Silfverberg and Kyle Palmieri. All four are counted upon to make significant offensive contributions.
Level-headed and well grounded, Emerson Etem will continue to play ES and PK. He will have to start scoring to earn PP time.
Peter Holland, Patrick Maroon and Sami Vatanen will be given an opportunity to establish themselves as bonafide NHL players.
If there’s one guy who needs to play with desperation, it’s Luca Sbisa. Only 23, Luca has 5 NHL seasons and 236 regular season games behind him. In all that time he hasn’t established himself as much more than a 3rd pairing, spot played D-man. It wasn’t that long ago many of Bob Murray’s Kool-Aid drinkers were predicting Sbisa would make us forget Chris Pronger. He doesn’t need to be great but he does need to become consistently accountable and responsible.

The aforementioned 8 most represent the affirmation “Unfinished Business.” They bring the naivety, passion and energy of youth.

Vying for spot duty are role players Matt Beleskey, Mark Fistric, Devante Smith-Pelly and Brad Staubitz.

Backing the guys up is arguably the best goalie tandem in the NHL. Each of Jonas Hiller and Viktor Fasth have earned the trust and respect of their teammates. Having trust in your goaltenders is quite possibly the single most impactful intangible benefit.

Steve Whitney has been catching the eye of many bloggers early in camp. Speed is eye-catching and Whitney floats around the rink at mach speed. He isn’t likely to make the show this year. Conversely, Rickard Rakell has failed to make a positive impression anyone during the first half week.

These Ducks might well be a year or 3 away from finishing their unfinished business. They do have a broad range of complimentary skill sets on the roster. Additionally, they have depth to replace the various parts lost to retirement or diminished skills internally.

In this sense, these Ducks are organizationally structured similarly to our Cup winning team that prospered with 9 sophomores on the roster.

We may have even finally replaced Chris Pronger and Scott Niedermayer though it will have taken 5 D-men to do it. Fowler and Vatanen for Nieds and Souray, Beauchemin and Allen for Pronger.

The talent is there for these Ducks to push themselves into NHL elite status. The questions are; will it all come together? Will they remain healthy? Will they peak in the playoffs?

Summer is what former Kings GM Dave Taylor called hockey’s financial season. We agree. With money and contracts in mind, we take a look at our Ducks following the Bobby Ryan trade.

Conventional wisdom dictated that if our Ducks were to move Ryan it would be for a 2nd line center, not cap room. If we have come to expect anything from Bob Murray it’s that he is unconventional. In his post trade interview, Murph said “Anytime you can upgrade and make your hockey team better and stronger and deeper, you try to do it….”

Ducks are definitely deeper but the better and stronger parts remain to be seen. Murph didn’t mention team speed but we’re definitely faster regardless of who replaces Ryan.

Cap Status:

In the hours following the Ryan trade, Saku Koivu re-upped for one year at $2.5m about a million less than his previous stipend. Obviously, he left money on the table. Today, Ducks announced RFA Matt Beleskey has inked a 2 yr commitment reportedly to be for $2.7m.
Kyle Palmieri and Teemu Selanne remain unsigned as of this writing. Murph did say he expects to chat with Teemu sometime next week
Per CapGeek, Ducks have 22 players signed with $7.84m in cap space. Palmieri and Selanne will likely cost in the $4.5 -5m range, leaving nearly $3m in the cap float. This represents some hard-earned flexibility going forward.

The Roster:

Coach Bruce Boudreau sets his forward lines identically to how previous coach Randy Carlyle did. Gabby sets two guys together and rotates a third in and out, up and down the depth chart. At the moment, he has exactly two sets of two forwards, Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry; Saku Koivu and Daniel Winnick. Everything else is to be determined at camp.

Nick Bonino, Peter Holland and Rickard Rakell resume their competition for the two open center spots. This year they could be pushed by Antoine Laganiere and William Karlsson.

At LW, Emerson Etem, Matt Beleskey and newcomer Jakub Silfverberg will each get an opportunity to make The Twins twosome a go to threesome. Patrik Maroon will also get a look. The Twins enjoyed Devante Smith-Pelly and gave him lots of encouragement two seasons ago. DSP shouldn’t be ruled out of the mix but he is a long shot to break into the top six at this point. Max Friberg will be looking to make an impression.
Kyle Palmieri is currently RFA and will certainly compete for the top spot if and when signed.

On RW Corey Perry is a lock on the top line. Pencil in Andrew Cogliano to remain alongside Koivu/Winnick on the checking line. This leaves two spots open. Emerson Etem and Matt Beleskey can play either wing giving Coach options. Devante Smith-Pelly and Brad Staubitz will be looking to earn some TOI. Newcomer Stefan Noesen is eager to move up and could but he’ll probably start the year in Norfolk.

On the back line Ducks will enter camp with a top 7 vying for spots. Write in Francois Beauchemin and Cam Fowler as next season’s TOI leaders. Ben Lovejoy earned a spot among the top 4. Sheldon Souray will keep his role on the PP but could see reduced TOI in ES situations as the season drags on.  Bryan Allen, Luca Sbisa and Sami Vatanen  will compete  for #5-6 spots. Hampus Lindholm could make that decision very difficult.

Ducks are loaded between the pipes with Jonas Hiller and Viktor Fasth. Rookies Frederik Andersen , John Gibson and Igor Bobkov will likely compete for spots in Norfolk.

Trade bait:

One of Hiller, Fasth or Andersen. Andrew Cogliano, Luca Sbisa.

Needs:

1 top six center, 1 top four D-man

Summary:

Unless a great trade opportunity is presented look for our Ducks to open camp with the current roster. Those who fretted our team had become top heavy are probably having a cow since the Ryan trade was announced.

This team will be in serious trouble if Ryan Getzlaf doesn’t dominate from puck drop in October. A slow start will be a disaster not only on the ice but also reflected in the revenue streams occurring at the gate, on television and in merchandise sales.

Ducks fans can and should expect more from Corey Perry and Cam Fowler in the stat department. Emerson Etem and Kyle Palmieri look ready to produce 20+ goal seasons. Andrew Cogliano, Saku Koivu, Jakub Silfverberg and Matt Beleskey, Nick Bonino and Peter Holland must provide consistent secondary scoring.

Any additional scoring we get from the blueline and the depth forwards is a bonus.

The goaltending is strong and can overcome defensive lapses and give the team a chance to win most every night. Each of Jonas Hiller and Viktor Fasth has shown the ability to steal a game our guys really didn’t deserve to win.

Overall it’s way too soon to make a projection or prediction.

Hold your screamin’ when you see the return. Ducks GM Bob Murray did say we’d be a very different team next year. Sources I trust are telling me this move was made to get to the Ducks under an internal cap limit. Other sources I trust tell me another move for a second line center is coming.

To Ottawa: Bobby Ryan

To Anaheim: Jakob Silfverberg, Stefan Noeson and Sens 2014 1st round pick.

Now for some analysis eight or so hours after the trade broke on Twitter.

There’s no question our Ducks received three valuable assets in return for Bobby Ryan. Look anywhere you like and you won’t find anyone with a bad thing to say about Jakub Silfverberg and Stefan Noesen. Silfverberg is a roster player. Rest assured he was scouted Brian Burke, who knows a thing or two about hockey players. It would be grossly unfair and unrealistic to put any expectations on him though. He’s a sophomore with all of 34 NHL games experience.

People closer to the Ducks than I are sharing two distinctly different schools of thought. One school, let’s call them Wharton, says this move was made to get the Ducks under an “internally set” cap number. The hockey side is telling me another shoe will drop. GM Bob Murray is looking for an established second line center.

Frankly, I believe both are telling it as they know it and believe it to be. It’s very evident in Murph’s comments. Those words merit vetting in a Backchecking with format. as previously my take is italicized:

On why this trade appealed to the Ducks,
It was the best hockey deal I was offered for him. When trading a guy of the caliber of Bobby, you’ve got to get a deal that helps you now and in the future. That’s what we were looking for. We got a real good hockey player back in Jakob Silfverberg. And the deal gives us Stefan Noesen. Funny story about him: He’s the reason we moved down in the draft a couple of years ago because he went right before our pick. He was a guy we had identified and when we didn’t get him we moved down. Now we’ve been able to get him and we also got a first-round pick in the deal. It was the best hockey deal.

Best hockey deal is bullpucky! This trade was the best cap deal. Bob Murray should be embarrassed  for even trying to sell that in SoCal!!! That comment is 10#’s of scum sucking gutter slugs stuffed into a 5# bag.
The hockey side of this deal can’t be evaluated until we learn what Murph does with the money.

On whether this trade will open the door to more deals,

It sure gives me a lot more [salary cap] flexibility. We were far too close to the cap before and I was not comfortable there. We did not enjoy those years where every morning you would have to figure out whether you were under or over [the cap]. This gives us room if another good hockey deal comes along. If we have to go and get somebody, I now have space to do it. I’m waiting and watching, making a few phone calls on certain individuals to let them know I’m interested.

Now Murray is giving us the straight skinny. The good news is that he’s prepared to spend the money IF the right player should become available.

On whether the Ducks are looking for another center,
There are a couple out there, and we’ve made phone calls. I don’t know that we’re well along the way with them. I don’t know if we’re their preferred destination in some respect, and I’m not going to give lots of term. I’m not doing that. I’m just not doing it. Nothing over four or five years. So we shall see how this goes, and if not, we’ve got a couple young kids who have earned the right to play. We’ve had kids come along that we really like. That’s a fine position we’re in. I have opened a lot of doors today.

The kids at center are obviously Nick Bonino, Peter Holland and Rickard Rakell.  Two LW spots has also opened up for any two among Kyle Palmieri,  Jakub Silfverberg, Patrick Maroon or Devante Smith-Pelley. If none of those guys can win it,  the fall back position is Matt Beleskey alongside the Big Dogs.
As of this writing, Dave Steckel, who could return in a 4th line, PK and face-off specialist role is still available.
Expect to see Bonino, Holland and Rakell compete for TOI at camp and possibly right through to the trade deadline; unless of course one of them establishes himself as the go to scoring line center. If not and our Ducks playoff bound, look for Murph to acquire a second line center at the trade deadline.

On Silfverberg,
First of all, when he won those awards in Sweden, we were watching him. He’s a very smart hockey player, great shot. He scores goals and can make plays, and he’s very good defensively. He’s a two-way, top-six forward at either wing. He’s very versatile. We really like him and have for a few years.

Nothing like putting expectations on a sophomore with 34 NHL games behind him. Silfverberg may become a great top six forward one day but he isn’t one yet.
Fact is, right now our depth chart at LW is Matt Beleskey, Kyle Palmieri, Daniel Winnick then maybe Jakub Silferberg. Let’s get to camp and see what he earns.

On whether Silfverberg could play on the top line,
Oh yeah. He’s definitely smart enough and can make plays. He works and he competes. When we all get to camp and everyone is here, that will be up to Bruce [Boudreau].

That’s hockey speak for, “Hey Coach, get me $5m production from this $900k asset.”

On Noesen,
Stefan is one of these guys who is a big man who has skills. But his skill has to come from playing the power forward role. The job of our organization will be to show him how to use the power forward stuff to make the skill come out. He’s got that combination, where players like him tend to want to go to the skill first and they don’t become the players they can be. The power game has to be part of his game. We’ve got some work to do, but we like what we have. Players like him are hard to find.

Stefan is a power forward. The kind of guys who are worth developing but there are hundreds who fail for each Jerome Iginla who makes it. Noeson”s likely first team in the Ducks org plays out of Norfolk, VA.

On Ryan,
Unfortunately, Bobby played second fiddle for so long here and never got the full opportunity. Through it all, he was an outstanding Duck. He was an outstanding player for us and he was a solid citizen. These are not easy days. I’ve known Bobby forever, since he was drafted. These are tough ones. You can only thank him.

This is the most honest comment Bob Murray made today. I give Bob Murray a lot of points for admitting the failure that was denying Bobby Ryan a full opportunity. At least that is the straight skinny.

On Ryan’s reaction to the news,
I think Bobby expected it. He was totally classy with me. I don’t think it shocked him. I thought the call went fine. They’re not easy calls to make.

Of course he was classy. We’ve watched Bobby grow from an awkward teenager into a media fave. You don’t achieve that without knowing how to carry yourself, comport and present yourself. What did you expect Bob, a reckless barstool tossing tantrum? No wonder Murray used the phone.

On the organization’s depth at forward,
We’re getting back to that point where we have enough bullets, so that when we get close, we have enough to pull the trigger. I’m getting more and more comfortable with the bullets we have. We’re getting deeper and deeper and deeper.

Yes we have more names. The question is are we a better hockey team today without Bobby Ryan? And going forward, will we make the same mistake with Emerson Etem that Murray admitted we made with Ryan?

On the depth on defense,
I’m going to force the issue on Sami Vatanen. I wanted him to play more last year. I want to give him a good, hard look. [Hampus] Lindholm, he’s only going to be 19 years old, but he was really coming gangbusters.

With Slowmo Souray and Bonehead Sbisa in the top six Murph is praying
Sami breaks through and gives us another bonafide puck moving D-man.

On the timing of the deal,
The rumors started out of Philadelphia, and once that starts, I get calls from people. When I get calls for players, I don’t care what their name is, I say, “What are you offering?” Anytime you can upgrade and make your hockey team better and stronger and deeper, you try to do it. It was about that time that call was first made, and we’ve been off and on ever since. I think Ottawa got pushed a little bit by the Alfredsson thing today, and that was a rough situation for them.

We ought to just call these Murph balls. Really Murph? According to you Jakub Silfverberg is an upgrade on Bobby Ryan while Noesen and the 1st round pick make us deeper.
Is it really necessary for me to inform Ducks fans that we are not a better hockey team tonight than we were this morning. This isn’t to say or even suggest we won’t be better as soon as 25 games into the season. Can Getzlaf play as well in October as he does January? Can Etem have a breakthrough season?

So far, I’ve only blogged on this topic with my head. I’ve purposely left my heart out of it. My heart is heavy tonight. It will be fun following Bobby Ryan and learning what he can do with guys like Jason Spezza, Erik Karlsson and some 1st unit PP TOI.

Jeez, thank gawd we sent him East!

If our Ducks have any interest in Mike Ribeiro they may want to bypass him, his agent go directly to the Mrs. Following the Caps announcement that they wouldn’t extend the point a game center, the Mrs. tweeted “Nothing like being uprooted from your home for no apparent reason” As if that didn’t fully convey her passion she add the hashtag #pissedbeyondbelief. As everybody knows or will learn eventually, if Momma aint happy, ain’t nobody gonna be ha-ha-happy.
Ribeiro 33 is reportedly looking for a contract similar or better than his just concluded 5 years at $5m per.
Ducks would have to move a salary in order to accommodate the gritty center. At this point in their respective careers, Ribeiro brings more to the table than Vincent Lecavalier who the Ducks met but passed on.

Caps also announced D-man Jeff Schultz will be placed on unconditional waivers for the purpose of buying him out. The 27-year-old enjoyed his best years under Ducks Coach Bruce Boudreau but has fallen out of favor with Gabby’s successors Dale Hunter and Adam Oates. Schultz is a big, physical stay@homer.

Other D-man waived today include now former Avs Greg Zanon and Matt Hunwick. Neither brings a skill set or level that should interest our Ducks. One who does however, Hal Gill at 37, may or may not fit a team looking to get younger and faster on the back line.

Another center considered not as pricey as Ribeiro or Lecavalier is Detroit’s Valtteri Filppulla. The native of Finland is also not as physical but he does play a responsible two-way game. Anaheim has two good reasons, Teemu Selanne and Saku Koivu, every Finn wants to play here.

GM Bob Murray previously showed some interest in the recently well-traveled Derek Roy. He’s just the kind of guy who could contribute to Murph waking up one day one day and realizing, “All of sudden we’re a small team.”

Florida Panthers would like to keep Stephen Weiss but all seems quiet in Miami. Still, he’s another slick, smallish center who does put up points and helps those around him be better.

GM Bob Murray admitted what this blog reported last week. He was getting calls about the availability of Bobby Ryan and Jonas Hiller. With the focus shifting toward pending UFA’s Nathan Horton and David Clarkson, more than a few will come back a calling next week.

Ducks needs haven’t changed, first on the list is a second line center followed by a top 4 D-man. And yes, one of Bobby Ryan or Jonas Hiller would be moved if the right opportunity is presented.

Via Anaheim Ducks.com:

On trade discussions,
There wasn’t a lot of talk today. The last couple of days leading up to the draft, there was a lot of rumors circulating and I followed up, because I was interested in certain players if they were available, and I had to find out what the asking price was.

One of those rumors included Nucks D-man Alexander Edler. I infer Edler came off the market as Murray noted Nucks solved their cap problems with the Schneider trade.

Some teams have called us about certain players on our team. We have very good depth at the goaltending position and some teams are having issues there, so they’re calling to find out what we’re going to do with all of our goaltenders, which is a very nice problem to have.

As this blog reported Friday and Saturday, the search for a second line center continues.

On interest in free agent Vincent Lecavalier,
I inquired about what exactly they were looking for as far as term and the money situation, and when I go to the bottom of that, we couldn’t get in that ballgame. So, we pulled ourselves out of the discussion.

Various reports put Lecavalier in the $4.5m – 5m with a term of 3-5 years. 

On the Saku Koivu negotiations,
We’re still talking. There are some elements in his contract we’re debating over. I expect to get that done within the next week or so. We’ve talked enough so that I’m not worried about it.

Sounds like the 3rd line keeps its center. Koivu will likely remain the go to key faceoff guy.

On Teemu Selanne’s decision,
Nothing to report. I wish I had something to say, but I don’t.

Hopefully, our Ducks will hear something definitive before July 5th, when UFA’s become available.

Update: Ben Lovejoy has signed a 3 year contract with our Ducks. L.A. Times Helene Elliott and OCR reporter Eric Stephens are reporting it to be a $3.3m contract. Many had him leaving while this blog only reported that the sides were still talking. Another example that you can trust this blog to keep the facts from getting in the way of speculation.

Holy cats this scrunched season has been difficult on this blogger. Can’t thank yougetwhatyouputin enough for his help during the season. No sooner do we come down from the SCF and wham we head straight into Entry Draft weekend.

The Gossip Girls are having their fun. Generating site hit stats with unfounded rumors and speculation that our Ducks are about to trade Bobby Ryan and/or Jonas Hiller.

In news you can take to the bank, OCR’s Eric Stephens is reporting that our Ducks don’t intend to use any compliance buyouts this summer. From other sources I’ve picked up that Murph is presently negotiating with Saku Koivu on a one year contract. He’s talked with Ben Lovejoy’s agent but there’s nothing to report as of this posting. Toni Lydman has probably played his last game in a Ducks uni. Our Ducks will wait for Teemu’s decision but there’s a soft deadline of July 5, the day pending UFA’s become available.

With compliance buyouts already making Danny Briere and Vinny Lecavalier available Ducks are forced to pass on those opportunities due to lack of cap space. Ducks are most likely to look to their young, Sami  Vatanen and Hampus Lindholm to win jobs on the blue line. Emerson Etem, Kyle Palmieri, Peter Holland and Devante Dmith-Pelly to firmly establish themselves on the Ducks roster.

As to the draft, our Ducks pick 26th in the first round followed by the 45th, 87th, 147th and the 177th pick in subsequent rounds. Our Ducks will not be picking in the fourth or seventh round. The second round pick at 45th overall is the NY Islanders pick and our part of the Lubomir Visnovsky trade.

It is highly likely that all of our picks in this draft will play in the AHL, Major Junior A, NCAA or in of the European elite leagues next season. It is highly unlikely a pick in this Entry Draft will make the NHL coming out of camp. As such, I’ll wait to see who we pick rather than burn bandwidth on kids who will be a couple-3 years away from getting their mail C/O the Honda Center.

Hockey News’ fantasy reporter Daryl Dobbs published his off season look at our Ducks. Our backchecking with follows in intalics.

Pending UFAs – Teemu Selanne, Saku Koivu, David Steckel, Matthew Lombardi, Radek Dvorak, Toni Lydman, Jordan Hendry, Ben Lovejoy, Nate Guenin.

Pending RFAs – Harry Zolnierczyk, Matt Beleskey, Kyle Palmieri, Mat Clark

Of the above David Steckel, Ben Lovejoy, Matt Beleskey and Kyle Palmieri are expected to be retained. Our cap challenged Ducks will have to make a couple of major moves in order to bring back Teemu Selanne and/or Saku Koivu. Even if the Finn Twins signed heavily discounted contracts.
Mat Clark could be held over but he failed to break into the NHL during his EL contract. He might be a late bloomer or he could be semipro grade.

Looking to add – Selanne had 13 points in his last 42 games (combined regular season and playoffs). His ice time dwindled as the season wore on and if he decides to return for another season I will be surprised. The Ducks need a second-line right-winger. Assuming Kyle Palmieri has found a home on the Corey Perry-Ryan Getzlaf line, Bobby Ryan and Emerson Etem (who were only tried on a line together in a couple of games) will need a right-winger.

Dobb’s sticks with the safe assumption that top six jobs are Palmieri’s and Etem’s to lose. That’s how it looks going into camp. Unless Palmnieri has a breakthrough season, expect Coach to continue to spot play Matt Beleskey on the top line, especially when he wants a more physical presence. Emerson Etem is Teemu’s heir apparent.

Ready for full time – Etem played 30 of the last 31 games of the regular season, plus all seven playoff games. Consider him a full-timer with a role that is almost certain to expand. As a result, expect his 0.26 points-per-game average to increase in 2013-14.

Sami Vatanen is a dynamic offensive defenseman who is ready to make the jump full time now that he’s played the North American game for a full season. With 45 points in 62 American League games, plus another two points for Anaheim, he’s clearly adapted well and makes for a must-own in keeper leagues.

Center Peter Holland is ready for a third-line role, though he may be more of a mid-season addition as opposed to breaking camp with the team. Short-term he holds little value, but his long-term outlook as a second-line center is pretty good.

Hulking winger Patrick Maroon is also on the cusp of making the jump. He has potential for 60-plus points, but not for a few years – and only if he’s brought along accordingly. Historically, his production at different levels has taken a couple of years to get rolling and the NHL will be no exception.

Next season looks to similar to this season in that young guys coming up will be asked to replace and improve on veterans moving out. Teemu is already forever remembered but he may not be missed if Bobby Ryan bounces back from an off year and Etem and Palmieri breakthrough.

Adding Sami Vatanen and his right-handed shot will change the zeitgeist of our Ducks blue line. If Dobbs is right that Vatanen produces 30 Points , he’ll bring needed support to our only other genuine puck moving D-man Cam Fowler.

Next season will no different from last season in that we’ll be looking for young guys to establish themselves as bonafide NHL players. Peter Holland and Patrick Maroon don’t have to be anymore than consistent depth forwards. If they can’t though, the GM  will again be bargain shopping for vets like Matthew Lombardi and Radek Dvorak.

Fantasy Outlook: A good team that has a little bit of everything and ample depth in every position. Goaltending is especially strong with Viktor Fasth and Jonas Hiller battling it out for No. 1, with Frederik Andersen also impressing – and John Gibson on the way. If Cam Fowler can take a step forward offensively and Vatanen has a 30-point rookie season, the Ducks should be competitive once again. There are no superstars on the way, but their pipeline is a good one that promises to produce a steady flow of NHL players in all positions. Coach Bruce Boudreau has opened things up for the Ducks and the team finished seventh in goals scored – a trend that should continue.

Pressed against the salary cap in 2013-14 as things stand now, the Ducks may have to trade Bobby Ryan and bring in a cheaper option. How that goes down will have huge waves in fantasy hockey. Fantasy Grade: B- (last year was C-)

Looks like another summer of stupidity when trading Bobby Ryan is the auto-reflex solution to every problem. We already have to replace 35-40 goals lost to the expected retirements of  Selanne and Koivu. While Palmieri and Etem look to be good bets, neither is a certainty.
After losing 35-40 goals, conventional mainstream media wisdom wants us to find a cheap 30 goal scorer to replace Bobby Ryan? Maybe now you get a sense to why I roll my eyes at the notion.
At least they’ve stopped with the trading Jonas Hiller nonsense.
There are other solutions, including but not limited to trading Cogliano and Sbisa. This is likely if DSP takes a step or two forward after his step backward last season and Hampus Lindholm shows any kind of ability to go with his high Hockey IQ.
Another option would be to exercise a compliance buyout of slow-footed Sheldon Souray and pickup a lower cost stay@homer like pending UFA Doug Murray. If you believe Sami Vatanen is 30 points in the bank, we keep the snarl in a Murray and improve on Souray’s offense.

Projected depth chart:

Kyle Palmieri – Ryan Getzlaf – Corey Perry
Bobby Ryan – Nick Bonino – Emerson Etem
Daniel Winnick – David Steckel – Matt Beleskey
Patrick Maroon – Peter Holland – Devante Smith-Pelly

Francois Beauchemin – Ben Lovejoy
Cam Fowler – Sami Vatanen
Bryan Allen – Douglas Murray/Hampus Lindholm

Jonas Hiller – Viktor Fasth

Fantasy Grade: B+

Former Ducks GM Bryan Murray believes he’s on the cusp of building another Stanley Cup contender. He helped lay the foundation for the 90 ‘s and beyond Red Wings,  guided the Panthers and our Ducks from new franchise to the Stanley Cup Final. Today at age 70 Bryan Murray is looking to raise the Ottawa Senators from pretender to contender.

Sizing up 2013 Murray told the Canadian Press, “The only disappointing thing about this year is that we never found out how good we really were.”

The Senators lost Jason Spezza for 43 games, Erik Karlsson 31, Craig Anderson 24, Jared Cowan 41. Comparably that be our Ducks playing without Ryan Getzlaf, Cam Fowler, Jonas Hiller and Francois Beauchemin.

Murray is looking to add scoring and Ottawa Sun columnist and GM wannabe Bruce Garrioch suggested Bobby Ryan.

The respective GM’s do have a trading history. It is also one that should scare the beejeebers out of Ducks fans. While GM in Detroit Bryan Murray sent Anders Eriksson to Bob Murray’s Chicago Blackhawks for Chris Chelios. Not one of Bob Murray’s better days at the office, no?

It is very unusual when teams on the cusp of becoming Cup contenders are also good trading partners. The reason is that both teams are looking to add to their roster without giving up roster players.

Bryan Murray admitted as much noting, “If there’s a deal to be made at some point during the summer I have to take a hard look at it. If it means doing a couple of things, trading a young player or two I’ve got to be open-minded to do that to try to make this team better.”

Ducks aren’t looking for young players who can help a year or two down the road.

The summer crop of Trading Bobby Ryan rumors stems from the fact that our Ducks have cap issues.

Per CapGeek.com our Ducks have $4.8M in available cap space for 2013-14. That number doesn’t include signing any of the projected UFA’s or RFA’s. The pending roster UFA’s include, Teemu Selanne, Saku Koivu, David Steckel, Matthew Lombardi, Radek Dvorak, Toni Lydman and Ben Lovejoy. Our RFA’s are Kyle Palmieri and Matt Beleskey.

It should be just enough to bring back Steckel, Lovejoy, Palmieri and Beleskey.

Isn’t that amazing. Just months after re-hiring Brian Burke our Ducks are cap challenged all of a sudden.

In a summer when we’re likely losing 40 goals with the pending departures of Selanne, Koivu and Radek Dvorak, trading Bobby Ryan for cap compliance makes no sense at all. Even for a guy who traded Chris Chelios for Anders Eriksson.