Posts Tagged ‘Toni Lydman’

A lower body injury (LBI) limited Sami Vatanen to under 5 minutes in the OT win against the Sharks. Sami didn’t dress Sunday against the Avs. Luca Sbisa is out with a mild ankle sprain. Ducks and Luca insist their just being cautious. Take that to mean he would be day-to-day in the regular season. Ducks already are without 1/3 of their top six from last season following Toni Lydman’s retirement and Sheldon Souray’s soft tissue tear in his wrist. Francois Beauchemin is projected to be ready to the start the season. Projected is the operative word though. That’s 66% of last of last season’s Top Six D, injured, retired or rehabbing.

No further reports on Vatanen’s LBI are available. The story began with an oft-repeated Eric Stephens tweet but no official word has come from our Ducks. The best we can do is hope it isn’t one of those nagging ow-eez that keep out of the lineup.

In the meantime, Bryan Allen and Mark Fistric become Top 4 D-men on our Ducks depth chart. Kyle Cumiskey has 139 regular season and playoff games with the Avs. Acquired from Colorado in Oct./2011, he has yet to play a regular NHL game with the Ducks.

Hampus Lindholm has turned some heads in camp but respected blogger Collin Insley has expressed concerns about how easily he seems to get knocked off the puck. It should be noted that GM Bob Murray has said the 6th overall pick in 2012 is “only 19.” Nobody has any doubt Lindholm will be a good one but he needs to get much stronger on the puck for NHL hockey.

The gossip blogs, with their focus on the Canadian and big market teams, are ignoring our Ducks challenges on the back-line. Murray runs a very tight ship as to leaks especially compared to his more transparent and master media manipulating predecessor Brian Burke. Even the oft speculated Bobby Ryan trade caught everyone by surprise.

Leafs unsigned RFA Cody Franson is far and away the best unsigned free agent available. His rights might be acquired for a non-roster prospect other than Lindholm or John Gibson. Franson is 6’5″ 213# who scored 4 goals and 29pts in 45 games last season. THN player profile describes him as an inconsistent offensive Dman with size. Franson is reportedly looking for a one year contract at $3m.

Given Leafs limited cap space and Morgan Reilly and comeback Paul Ranger having great camp and good camps respectively; Leafs have little need for Franson.

GM Bob Murray has always shown a preference for picking from the bargain bins and discount racks. While there’s no doubt an apparent need for back-line, Look for Murph to give the kids a chance, ready or not.

Where are they now? Former Duck goaltender Jeff Deslaurier has signed a professional tryout contract with the Penguins AHL affiliate Wilkes-Barre/Scranton. Deslauriers 29, hasn’t played in the NHL since going 2011 with our Ducks. He went 3-1 with a SP of .903. The move is widely viewed as insurance due to losing Tomas Vokoun indefinitely to blood clotting issues.

Arguably the most competitive training camp in Ducks recent history is set to open Thursday. There are 56 players who received invitations though two, Sheldon Souray and Andrew O’Brien are injured. Most are getting a taste of NHL competition and will be gone long before the season opener on October 2.

Among the 56 include, 6 goalies, 17 D and 33 forwards. One name you might recognize is NHL journeyman Garnet Exelby. He hasn’t played in the NHL since appearing in 51 games for the 2009-10 Toronto Maple Leafs.  Exelby is here on Professional Try Out (PTO) contract. Realistically, the hard-nosed Xman is auditioning for a two-way contract.

At center Ducks have an opening. The leading candidates are Peter Holland and Rickard Rakell. One or both of Antoine Laganiere or William Karlsson could make the decision difficult. Rakell could also get a look on wing.

Ducks are stacked on the wings and have quality players competing for four openings. The Twins, Bonino-Selanne need a winger and there are the two fourth line jobs up for grabs. Checking line wingers and PK specialists Daniel Winnick and Andrew Cogliano are likely set as top nine role players. The leading candidates for the openings include Dustin Penner, Jakub Silfverberg, Kyle Palmieri, Emerson Etem, Matt Beleskey, Patrick Maroon and Brad Staubitz. The latter two are on one way contracts. Other notables who could earn serious consideration include Devante Smith-Pelly, Max Friberg, Steve Whitney and Nicolas Kerdiles.

Via Jim Hodges, Virginian-Pilot, correspondent:

“From a contract standpoint, there isn’t a lot of room,” notes Coach Boudreau, “But if a guy comes in and stands out, you have to take a look at him,” no matter what kind of contract the player has, Boudreau added.

On the backline Ducks are looking to replace the retired Toni Lydman. Injuries to Sheldon Souray and Francois Beauchemin could necessitate extra long looks for a couple of youngsters. Sami Vatanen is the leading candidate to earn a top six spot. Cam Fowler, Ben Lovejoy, Bryan Allen and Luca Sbisa are the healthy incumbents. Newly signed veteran journeyman Mark Fistric is a serviceable depth D-man.

Barring injury, Jonas Hiller and Viktor Fasth will start the season in net. Frederick Anderson, John Gibson and Igor Bobkov are look at Norfolk with odd man out dropping to the Utah Grizzlies of the ECHL. Etienne Marcoux is in camp on an Amateur Try Out (ATO) and could earn a spot in the org with a strong showing.

Due to one-way contracts signed with Brad Staubitz and Patrick Maroon, Ducks will start the season with a 23 man roster made up of 14 forwards, 7 D-men and 2 goalies.

All camp invitees report today for medical checkup.

Ducks are landing and nesting for the new season. Guys are showing up at the rinks for pre-camp skates. It’s all low impact non-check scrimmages. Often called Pond Hockey or just shinny. The kind of hockey that frustrates a Bryan Allen or Mark Fistric and allows a slick sleuth like Kyle Palmieri to virtually to hot dog it at will.

Guys are working on skating, puck handling, passing, shooting and finding their timing. It’s important work. Primary attention is given to their agility, followed by timing and in the last few days prior to camp opening, chemistry or teamwork. This latter testing too is about timing though not just your own, but with your teammates.

What is established now will set the foundation for how and when the team comes together during the season and hopefully playoffs.

At camp the degree of difficulty is magnified exponentially. The moment the hitting starts, the competition gets brutally honest. This camp is will be our Ducks most competitive camp in years.

The team is set in goal but step outside the crease and there are question marks everywhere. Every reporter, blogger and poster is busily filling out their depth charts and most of us will be proven wrong.

Half of the forward jobs are open. You can pencil guys in here and there but nothing is set outside of Getzlaf, Perry, Selanne, Koivu, Cogliano and Winnick. Factually, the best we can do is handicap the competition at this point.

The D is similar. Toni Lydman retired. Sheldon Souray is out until Christmas. Francois Beauchemin will hopefully start the season but will have likely missed most of his camp. If Beauch starts, he starts a month behind.

Virtually half the team will get sorted out in camp. Bob Murray has finally created the camp he wants.

One result we might expect is TOI will be more evenly divided among the forwards. Fowler and Beauchemin will carry the heavy load on the back line.

I definitely see a playoff roster out there. Probably with home ice advantage in the first round.

According to a story published in the OC Register Ducks GM Bob Murray is watching those teams with cap issues. The GM also says he has money for Teemu Selanne. Sound cap management should include ample space to move players in and out of the lineup as warranted. Remember a couple of years ago when the Calgary Flames played a few games with a very short bench due to cap mismanagement? We were very nearly in that same predicament recently.

With a reported $4.3m in cap space Murph must have the go ahead to spend to the cap ceiling. He must also be expecting Teemu to take a significant pay cut from last season.

A run down of the CapGeek front page indicates that those teams over the cap if the season started today are Philadelphia, Boston, Pittsburgh, San Jose, Los Angeles, Detroit, Edmonton, Columbus and Minnesota.

Murray reportedly thinks September will be an interesting month as teams make players available to get cap compliant. The OCR speculates, as I have, that our Ducks see themselves as set at center. At least for the first 20 games into the season.

With Toni Lydman expected to retire and Murph committed to seeing what Vatanen can do, it’s difficult to see what positions another move might involve. Following the Bobby Ryan trade, Murph did say that he wasn’t done making moves for next season.

If he’s going to bring Teemu back and leave room for player movement any trade will have to involve a contract or two leaving Anaheim. In other words, roster players. This reality suggests Murph is likely to go big or stand pat.

In this cap crunch season there just isn’t anyone out there more exciting or promising than bringing back Teemu Selanne and/or Vinny Prospal.

Note: This post first appeared in the comment section of the “Palmieri signs” story. I moved it to the front page, gave it it’s own story and prominence because czhokej is soliciting comments. Just felt he would get more comments on the front page than on a back page.

As always in the “BackChecking with” format, my comments are italicized.

czhokej: One thing, which actually doesn’t belong here, but it is still on my mind.

bc: it does now :)

czhokej: People think that I am always focused on the negative issues,

bc: Yeah, you whine like a first wife….Seriously Bud, I don’t recall anybody but you labeling or characterizing your posts on this site. Fact is only one team raises the Cup each year. Every other team falls short. Thus sport is mostly negative because ultimately, our teams lose more than they win.

czhokej: …but I have noticed that in the playoffs our coaching was not up to par. Especially at the end of the series, our system was just confusion and improvisation.

bc: Neither Pavel Datsyuk or Henrik Zetterburg had registered a point in the series until the game following Abdelkader’s hit on Toni Lydman. Wings then took 3 of the final 4 games. Datsyuk put up 2 goals and 3 assists and Zetterburg scored the winner in game 5 plus added another goal along with 4 assists.

czhokej: Tactically and strategically we were making mistakes.

bc: Part of me agrees with you because we weren’t positioned well to counter the Wings speed. The rules have taken physical teams best strategy away though. We can’t slow teams down by interfering and running picks. OTOH, Wings flash and dash game puts us in reactive rather than proactive position. When that happened we couldn’t keep up.

czkokej: Some may say that I did not like RC even though he won the Cup.  No, I really liked Randy Carlyle in 2007, but I did not like that he was not able to change the system afterwards, when it did not work anymore, when we had a different roster, and when every opponent was ready for our predictable game plan.

bc: Even in Trauma RC molded what was a run and gun team into a dump and chase puck management team.

czhokej: And I do not want to say “deja vu”, because Bruce Boudreau is a different coach and his season with the Ducks was successful, regardless of the loss to Mike Babcock.  And he is a good motivator.

bc: This isn’t so much disagreeing cz, but more I just don’t know. Where is the line between player responsibility and Coach putting them situations where they can succeed. We lost 3 games in OT and 4 games by one stinkin’ goal. Perry had no goals, Selanne 1 and Ryan 2 in seven games. Other than Getz and Beauchemin our top scorers were third and fourth line players. Our best players, were not our best players in that series. does that fall on the coach or the player?

czhokej: This comment may sound like a work of a conceited mind, but nevertheless, I would like to hear your opinion, ladies and gentlemen.

bc: Sounds more like an intelligent and passionate fan to me.

 

That was Ducks GM Bob Murray’s closing statement to conclude Select-a-seat according to blogger Chris D-5 of Anaheim Calling.

Fact is, everything Chris D-5 has reported from Select-A-Seat was previously reported on this blog leading up to the draft. It’s always good to get confirmation in public comments made by the GM though.

Hopefully, this is an indication that our Ducks recognize Mr. Murray’s credibility gap and moves are underfoot to correct the widely held perception. If so, it is welcome and long overdue!

What you can and should appreciate from the GM’s, “We’re not done yet” comment is that he has until the trade deadline before he’s done affecting the 2013-14 roster.

The key times for a trade to happen are late August, along about mid-November around the 20 game or quarter-pole mark teams tend to make need assessments and perform SWOT analysis.

Unless there’s a steal of a deal, look for the serious trade chatter to begin about mid-November. The org is high on Nick Bonino. What isn’t known yet is where he fits, top six or 2nd six. Along with Emerson Etem, Bones may actually be our hardest working Duck.

Peter Holland has nothing left to prove or learn in the AHL. Is he ready to take his game to the next level?

Rickard Rakell will also be pushing for a spot.

Sami Vatanen is the leading candidate to replace UFA Toni Lydman.

Our Ducks have fewer questions entering this season than last. Ironically there is also more competition for jobs from within the org. Especially on the wings.

The roster will most likely consist of 14 forwards, 7 D-men and 2 goalies.

While Murph isn’t done, nothing is imminent. Look for our Ducks to enter camp with the current 23 man roster and make the next moves sometime after the 20 games into the new season.

Ryan Getzlaf is again the key. If the Captain starts strong our Ducks will be winning. This will allow Murph to show some patience with the supporting cast. If Getz starts slow look for Anaheim to be shopping sooner rather than later.

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.

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.

Wings won because of their foot speed and ability to get to the loose pucks. They got to the loose pucks, took control and won. We had plenty of opportunities to put them away and we just didn’t finish.

Yes we missed Toni Lydman but one guy isn’t the reason you lose a series. We lost because we didn’t put them away sooner. The longer the series went their confidence went up and we seemed frozen in time and space. We had no response. Detroit elevated their game and we didn’t. As a team we didn’t have it to elevate.

One look at the plus/minus screams foot speed on the blue line is a serous issue. Beauchemin, Souray and Sbisa our 3 weakest skaters were each minus-2 on the series. Our better skaters, Fowler (3), Lovejoy (4), Allen (1) and Lydman (1) were each on the plus side.

I really don’t want to wade deep into the weeds but essentially the Wings won because we couldn’t skate with them. Everything else, their puck possession, passing and positioning, came off their skating and ability to win faceoffs and be first on those precious loose pucks.

One of the things I didn’t notice until Game 7 was how Detroit was beating us in the low slot.  They were getting two guys down low. One guy positioned on the top of the crease to screen Hiller. A second was roaming 3-6 feet out and picking up those loose pucks and rebounds.

Many unknowingly and incorrectly blame Hiller for those rebounds but that is not how hockey is taught or played at elite levels. The goalie is responsible for making the first save. It’s the job of the skaters to either get on the rebound or tie up the opposition so that they don’t get second and third shots. The only bad goal in tonight’s game was Filppula’s.

One thing our Ducks gave us this year is hope. For the first time since the Pronger trade and the retirement of Scot Niedermayer our Ducks appear to be getting better instead of worse.

The immediate future looks very bright. Emerson Etem and Kyle Palmieri are obviously keepers. Pending UFA’s Ben Lovejoy and Dave Steckel will probably be resigned. Steckel could join Winnick and Cogliano on the checking line. Nick Bonino won himself a center spot this season. Rickard Rakell and Peter Holland will compete for the other spot.

Corey Perry and Bobby Ryan can be expected to bounce back from off years and poor playoff performances.

There are only three, maybe four roster changes I see going into next season.

Luca Sbisa will be challenged to keep his spot by Sami Vatanen and Hampus Lindholm. Luca has four of the five skills necessary to play the game at the NHL level. His ability to read, pickup or see a play developing and properly react to it is questionable.

Teemu Selanne and Saku Koivu represent difficult decisions because both could be tempted to return for the Olympics. Though it isn’t at all certain that either could win and hold their Ducks job against the up and coming kids next season. I’d much rather see each of them move on their own terms rather than be pushed out.

Sheldon Souray’s lack of foot speed became exposed as the season wore on and certainly in the playoffs. He could be, actually should be, bought out. He’s another guy who I have too much respect for to watch get pushed aside. Watching Rob Niedermayer get the hook and be told he couldn’t play anymore was sad. It’s understandable that some guys just won’t come off the ice until you shoot ‘em and drag ‘em off. I just think it’s sad to pull the trigger.

So I’d much rather see Teemu, Saku and Sheldon leave now before younger guys push them out.

Ducks next job is cleaning out their lockers and exit interviews. It was a tough year for a few players. There will no doubt be some retirements and maybe a buyout over the summer. Our next task is preparing for the draft where our Ducks will 22nd overall. Definitely not high enough to snag a player likely to help immediately.

One goal and just that quick our Ducks move from the hockey season to the financial season. Our attention turns from the ice to the front office.

For me, I’ll share with you on this thread before taking some time off.

The Red Wings have their backs to the wall in this must win game. Our Ducks have outscored them 8-1 since the mid-point of Game 2. Clearly the momentum is all Ducks.

While our Ducks have completely outplayed the Wings, we don’t quite have the results to show for it. Bad officiating can impact the outcome of games and series.

If ever there is a moment for a team to stick to its own game, for our Ducks that time is now. There’s no really reason why they can’t. Justin “Cheap & Chippy” Abdelkader is gone for what could be the series. Abdelkader is the guy who baited Souray into retaliating which led to Wings PP and their winning OT goal in Game 2. Souray’s cross checking penalty in the last minute of the second period was also against Abdelkader. Having this Cheap & Chippy nemesis suspended will help our Ducks stay focused on the  job at hand.

Souray wasn’t the only guy getting payback on Abdelkader. Sheldon just got caught.

Wings are also thin on the blue line after Danny DeKeyser busted his thumb  in a scrum with Ducks Kyle Palmieri, IIRC. Babcock has gone with Brian Lashoff but also has Carlo Colcaiacovo and Ian White available.

czhokej posted that Babcock’s comments on Abdelkader’s hit, “wasn’t a smart thing to say.” Detroit GM Ken Holland also defended the hit. These guys have it backwards. You defend your player, not what he did.

Like many, I’ve long admired the Red Wings and held them out as model franchise. What Holland and Babcock have shown this week is that’s easy to have some class when you’re winning. It’s when you’re challenged that your true character comes out. Holland and Babcock flunk the test. The Wings are no longer an org that I would point out as model worth following.

If our Ducks are feeling anything like I and suspect most who’ve played hockey feel today, they really want this game. It’s not just about winning for a downed teammate, though Toni Lydman is nothing if not respected in our Ducks room. It’s about putting on a clinic built on discipline and character.

The Red Wings fans have shown the world that they’re fair weather band wagon followers at best.

Our Ducks play a physical brand of hockey. Gone are the excesses of the Pronger days. Coach Bruce Boudreau has changed this group from a collection of stars and bus riders into a genuine team. This is why this game is so important to our Ducks. They have the proven ability to win it. They deserve to win it.

Most of all, our Ducks, arguably the NHL’s most complete hockey team, can show the world that physical hockey played within the written and unwritten rules is a beautiful thing.

There are many times during the course of a hockey season and playoff that no words are necessary. All that is needed is eye contact with your teammate for confirmation that tonight we get ‘er done. And on Wednesday we put ‘em away.

And really there’s one reason to do it. These Detroit Red Wings and their fans don’t deserve to be here.