ANAHEIM, Calif. – The Anaheim Ducks re-signed centre Saku Koivu and grabbed defenceman Toni Lydman on the first day of free agency. Now they’re hoping Teemu Selanne will join his Finnish friends this fall.
The Ducks kept Koivu with a US$5-million, two-year contract and signed Lydman to a $9-million, three-year deal Thursday, shoring up two areas of need for a club trying to stay competitive after big personnel losses in the past year.
General manager Bob Murray said he didn’t specifically sign two Finns to tempt the high-scoring Selanne, who hasn’t decided whether he’ll return for another season in Anaheim—but he knows it can’t hurt.
“I still think Teemu is thinking,” Murray said in a phone interview. “We’ll see what the next couple of days bring.”
Murray also voiced his frustration in negotiations with forward Bobby Ryan, saying the restricted free agent turned down a five-year, $25-million offer Thursday. Murray said he’s done negotiating “for a while” with the 23-year-old Ryan, who scored 35 goals for Anaheim and played on the U.S. Olympic team last season.
“Basically, that situation is nowhere,” Murray said.
Koivu had 19 goals, 33 assists and a plus-14 rating while fitting in well with the Ducks last season, his seventh straight 50-point campaign. He spent his first 13 NHL seasons in Montreal, where he was the Canadiens’ captain for 10 years, before moving his leadership and all-around play to the West Coast.
After thinking that Koivu would end up signing elsewhere, Murray moved quickly when he saw the bull market for centres and defencemen to lock up Koivu and Lydman, a free agent after spending the past five seasons with the Buffalo Sabres.
The Ducks badly needed at least one top-four defenceman after losing captain Scott Niedermayer—who retired last month—along with Chris Pronger and Francois Beauchemin over the past two summers.
Murray said the Ducks likely will go to arbitration with defenceman James Wisniewski. He’s still looking for another defenceman in free agency, but isn’t sure Anaheim will find anything.
The 32-year-old Lydman has 33 goals and 165 assists in nine NHL seasons with Calgary and Buffalo, including 20 points and a plus-10 rating for the Sabres last season. He played alongside Koivu and Selanne in the past two Olympics, including Finland’s silver-medal performance in Turin and bronze-medal effort in Vancouver.
“He’s not the type that’s outstanding at anything, but he does everything well,” Murray said. “He’s a (No.) 3 or 4 defenceman that eats up minutes. He does power play. He does penalty killing. He’s a real solid two-way defenceman, which we needed desperately.”