Francois Beachemin’s bad news is good news for Bobby Ryan and Brett Festerling.
The Ducks placed Beauchemin on long-term injured reserve Saturday after an MRI exam revealed a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee. The defenseman is expected to miss approximately six months, which projects to May 2009 — around the time of the NHL Conference Finals.
“This is an unfortunate injury for Francois and we feel badly for him,” Ducks general manager Bob Murray said. “However, knowing his character as a player and person, we know he will rebound from this and return to the ice at full strength. Our team has faced adversity before and we expect everyone to step up in his absence.”
The Ducks recalled Festerling and Ryan from Iowa of the American Hockey League, and the two are expected to be in uniform for tonight’s game against the Kings.
Bringing up both players was possible because the Ducks already had one roster spot open under the NHL’s 23-man limit.
Beauchemin was injured on an open-ice hit by the Nashville Predators’ Scott Nichol in the third period of the Ducks’ 4-3 loss Friday night. He had been playing his best hockey in more than a year prior to the injury with four goals, including two game-winners, through 18 games.
The injury figures to present more playing time to the 22-year-old Festerling, whom head coach Randy Carlyle once called “the surprise of training camp,” as well as defensemen Steve Montador, Brett Hedican and Nathan McIver, who will move up the Ducks’ depth chart. Festerling has never appeared in an NHL game.
Ryan had five goals and 10 points in 23 regular-season games last year for the Ducks, who would have preferred to keep the right wing on the NHL roster this year. But salary-cap constraints, as well as Ryan’s slowed production late in training camp, earned him a ticket back to Iowa.
In 14 AHL games this year, Ryan had nine goals and 19 points, which ranked third in the league.
With respect to the salary cap, Ryan (who is due $1.746 million) and Festerling ($473,333) leave the Ducks $420,000 under the $56.7 million salary-cap ceiling. Beauchemin’s salary does not count toward the cap as long as he is on long-term injured reserve.