OTTAWA – The Anaheim Ducks should know by Friday whether star defenceman Scott Niedermayer will be back in the fold next season.
“I think everybody would like to know,” Kevin Epp of Titan Sports Management, Niedermayer’s agent, said Wednesday. “Being in limbo is never a good situation for the team, or for Scott.”
Epp was seen huddling with Ducks assistant GM Bob Murray in a hotel lobby Wednesday as the hockey world arrived in Ottawa for the NHL entry draft.
“I think this year Scott understands the importance of letting the team know so they can move forward before the draft if they need to make a move one way or another,” said Epp.
The first round of the entry draft goes Friday night. The Ducks would be active on the trade front if Niedermayer decides to retire.
The 34-year-old Niedermayer waited until December last season to come back after winning the Stanley Cup last June. He has one year left on a deal that pays him US$6.75 million. Will he come back?
“We’ve talked about it this last week,” said Epp. “It’s hard to say that he’s leaning one way or another. I think he feels 100 per cent committed to the team but he also enjoyed his time off. I think he’s in the crossroads again like he was last year.”
“There’s unfinished business,” added Epp. “They didn’t finish the way he would have liked. I think there’s some more incentive to come back. But we’ll see.”
Niedermayer, a Norris Trophy winner in 2004 and Conn Smythe Trophy winner in 2007, had 25 points (8-17) in 48 games last season. He added two assists in a six-game, first-round playoff loss to the Dallas Stars.
The Ducks are also trying to re-sign star forward Corey Perry, who is a restricted free agent July 1, and Niedermayer’s decision could also have a bearing on the club’s financial flexibility.