Auto Club Speedway’s annual fall event is getting a new start time as well as a date: The Oct. 11 Pepsi 500 is scheduled to begin at noon.
The Ducks have extended qualifying offers to five restricted free agents: defensemen James Wisniewski, Brett Festerling and Brian Salcido, and forwards Petteri Wirtanen and Petri Kontiola. All would have become unrestricted free agents Wednesday.
Painchaud was acquired from Atlanta in the Mathieu Schneider trade and split last season between the ECHL and AHL. Birner, acquired from St. Louis in 2007 along with Doug Weight, split last season between the AHL and Finnish Elite League.
Kontiola recently signed with Metallurg Magnitogorsk of the Russian Kontinental Hockey League, and his agent has informed the Ducks that Kontiola expects to play there next season. By tendering the forward a qualifying offer, Anaheim has simply secured Kontiola’s NHL rights.
Also, forward Troy Bodie has signed a two-year contract that will pay him $500,000 if he reaches the NHL and $75,000 in the minors. Bodie scored 15 goals in 71 games for Iowa last season before earning a four-game NHL call-up at midseason.
Bobby Ryan and Ryan Whitney have been included on the United States Olympic team orientation camp roster, released today.
Martin Madden, the Ducks’ director of amateur scouting, said his first draft with Anaheim went “very well.”
“In a draft situation, there’s so many permutations that people will tell you it doesn’t go exactly how it wanted to … but they’re trying to fool you. Some guys we would have liked, but you look back and you look at the players that we did get, and they all add up to the modus operandi we had for this job: To find kids with talent who compete with passion. I think we were able to do that from the first pick to the last.”
Madden, general manager Bob Murray and company certianly bucked one trend of the Brian Burke era: Of the Ducks’ seven selections, two were Canadian, two were American, and three were born in Europe (specifically Russia, Finland and Slovakia).
That’s more international flavor than Burke (to borrow a pun from his own phraseology) might sample at a United Nations banquet. In the previous three drafts combined, the Ducks took four European players and 19 from North America.
“It’s certainly not by design that we ended up with fewer Canadians than in past years,” Madden said. “We worked on our list five different times. We analyzed it five different times. We had characteristics we were looking for in players. Even Brian Burke would agree it doesn’t matter what nationality they are as long as players play with heart, desire and character off the ice; that they have a self-starter attitude. We took a few big swings to try to hit some home runs in the middle of the draft. We’ll see how those turn out, but we’re really happy with the quality of the individuals. The bottom line is, that’s good enough for us: Canadian, Finnish, American or Slovakian.”
Here’s what Madden had to say about the second-round picks:
The Ducks kept their remaining picks Saturday — one each in rounds 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6 — and used them (in order) on defenseman Matt Clark, goalie Igor Bobkov, defenseman Sami Vatanen, center Radoslav Illo and defenseman Scott Valentine.
Teemu Selanne has informed general manager Bob Murray that he will play for the Ducks in 2009-10.
The Ducks selected Peter Holland, an 18-year-old forward out of Guelph of the Ontario Hockey League, with the 15th overall selection. Holland is a 6-foot-2, 185-pound center coming off a 28-goal 67-point season in 68 games for Guelph.
Scott Niedermayer will end his latest flirtation with retirement and return to the Ducks next season. The 35-year-old defenseman, who becomes a free agent on July 1, will sign a new contract in the near future, a team spokesman said.
The player who can make the most immediate impact is Lupul, a 25-year-old winger, who was the seventh overall selection by the Mighty Ducks in 2002. He was traded for Pronger once before, along with Ladislav md and draft picks, when the Ducks acquired Pronger from Edmonton in 2006. Lupul had 25 goals and 50 points in 79 games last season, along with 58 penalty minutes.
Sbisa, 19, was the 19th overall pick in 2008. He appeared in 39 games last season for the Flyers, notching seven assists and 36 penalty minutes, before returning to juniors in January.
More details in tomorrow’s editions.
Former Duck Sergei Fedorov is now a former Washington Capital, having signed with Magnitogorsk Metallurg of the KHL, according to Sportbox.ru and reported in English on russiatoday.com. The 39-year-old forward, whose 85 games in a Mighty Ducks uniform spanned both sides of the lockout, scored 11 goals in 52 games last year for Washington.