Following through on his pledge to bolster the Ducks’ minor-league system, general manager Bob Murray signed center Trevor Smith to a one-year contract Friday. The 25-year-old is likely to start the season as a member of the Syracuse Crunch.
Smith, 25, appeared in a career-high 77 games last year with the AHL’s Bridgeport Sound Tigers. He notched 21 goals and 47 points with a plus-5 rating and 73 penalty minutes last season, ranking second on the team in goals, third in scoring and tied for third in assists. The 6-foot, 195-pound center also added three points and two PIM in five Calder Cup Playoff games. In seven NHL games, all with the New York Islanders, Smith has one goal and no assists.
The Ducks were down one veteran minor-leaguer when they decided not to qualify restricted free-agent forward Shawn Weller.
On Wednesday night, the day before Saku Koivu was set to become an unrestricted free agent, Ducks general manager Bob Murray thought that Koivu was a goner.
The 35-year-old center admitted today that he had other offers from other teams, but “the package and everything that Anaheim had to offer was by far the best option for me and my family on the hockey side, and off the ice.
“It wasn’t financially the best offer, but for us it was the best fit,” Koivu said.
Time will tell just how critical his decision was. It could be huge.
The Ducks have invited 31 prospects to the team’s annual prospect summer conditioning camp from July 5-11 at Anaheim Ice. The camp will include both on-ice and off-ice workouts, as well as three scrimmages open to the public on Tuesday, July 6, Thursday, July 8 and Saturday, July 10, with each beginning at 6 p.m.
The camp roster includes 2010 draft picks Cam Fowler, Emerson Etem, Devante Smith-Pelly, Tim Heed, Kevin Lind, Chris Wagner and Brett Perlini, as well as many other recent draftees.
According to the official release from the team,
The seven-day camp focuses on both the on- and off-ice development of the organization’s top young prospects. In addition to on-ice scrimmage sessions, each player will participate in strength and conditioning drills that allow coaches and management to closely evaluate the progress of each athlete. Along with daily weight and aerobic training, each player will also receive a personally tailored nutritional recommendation and be tested for strength thresholds, range of movement and aerobic capacity.
The complete roster:
The Ducks have signed unrestricted free agent Saku Koivu to a 2-year extension worth $2.5 per year, keeping the center in Anaheim at a slight pay cut. Koivu, who turns 36 in November, joined the Ducks in 2009 on a one-year, $3.25 million contract.
Ducks general manager Bob Murray said that he believes that right wing Teemu Selnne is still contemplating retirement, and the Koivu signing was not tied in his mind to Selnne’s decision. But the two Finns share the same agent, Don Baizley, and Koivu’s return certainly won’t dissuade Selnne from coming back.
Murray said that addressing Selnne is his next priority before making another foray into the free-agent market. Earlier Thursday, the Ducks signed free agent defenseman Toni Lydman.
The Ducks have signed free agent Toni Lydman for three years, reportedly worth $3 million per season.
The former Buffalo Sabres defenseman is known for his shot-blocking skill and physical defensive play. Lydman stands 6-foot-1 and ranked second on the Sabres with 98 blocked shots in 67 games last season. He was the Sabres’ leader in ice time and blocked shots in the playoffs.
Lydman, who spends his summers in his native Finland, told the Buffalo News that the Sabres offered only a two-year contract.
“It was the term,” Lydman said by phone from Finland. “I would have liked to stay, but two years was their offer, and Anaheim offered three years, so that was the biggest thing.”
Lydman also had four goals and 20 points in 67 games and was a plus-10 last season, when he made $3.15 million. He also played for the bronze-medal-winning Team Finland at the Winter Olympics in February, and the silver-winning Suomi in 2006.
In nine seasons with Buffalo and Calgary, Lydman has 33 goals, 198 points and 451 penalty minutes. He is also a veteran of 46 career Stanley Cup Playoff games, earning three goals, 11 points points and 40 PIM.
Lydman is the Ducks’ first signing on a quiet day in Anaheim, but a busy day around the league. Free-agent defensemen Paul Martin (Pittsburgh), Sergei Gonchar (Ottawa) and Zbynek Michalek (Pittsburgh) all found new homes before the Ducks signed Lydman.
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