Depending on how you look at it, the Ducks either retained a reliable depth defenseman, or beefed up their blue line by 20 percent, on Thursday.
Either way, the fact is that Brendan Mikkelson accepted the Ducks’ qualifying offer and signed a one-year contract that will pay $687,000 in the NHL or $62,500 in the minors. The smooth-skating 23-year-old had two assists and 14 penalty minutes in 28 games last season for the Ducks.
Mikkelson was drafted 31st overall by the Ducks in 2005 and has spent most of his three professional seasons at the American Hockey League level [career stats here]. He would likely begin next season with Anaheim’s AHL affiliate, the Syrcause Crunch – but only if the Ducks can find two more qualified NHL defenseman between now and the beginning of the season.
Mikkelson joins Lubomir Visnovsky, Toni Lydman, Sheldon Brookbank and Brett Festerling as the only NHL defensemen currently under contract. The Ducks have also qualified restricted free-agent defenseman James Wisniewski and have prospect Luca Sbisa ready to turn pro, either in the NHL or AHL.