A tough week for the Ducks and Andreas Lilja could be ending with a contract that brings the veteran defenseman to Anaheim.
A report on the Swedish website HockeyExpressen.se indicates that the 35-year-old Lilja will sign with the Ducks. Anaheim lost veteran defenseman Andy Sutton to injury in Friday’s regular-season opener in Detroit, a 4-0 loss. Brett Festerling was summoned from the AHL prior to Saturday’s game in Nashville, a 4-1 loss.
Sutton’s thumb fracture left the Ducks without two of their key blue line additions; Toni Lydman is still out following an acute episode double vision. Lilja, meanwhile, has been looking for a contract since he was cut in training camp by the San Jose Sharks – after he flew with the team to Europe.
Lilja is a defensive-minded defenseman who has played the last five seasons with the Red Wings. In 478 career games, he has 15 goals, 74 points and 501 penalty minutes.
The website mlive.com reported that Lilja’s visa was set to expire today.
3:20 p.m. update: Lilja will sign a one-year contract with the Ducks, but agent Todd Diamond relays that the defenseman might not be able to suit up tomorrow in St. Louis. Monday is Columbus Day, a federal holiday, which will delay Lilja’s ability to renew the P-1 (work) visa.
As a side note, Diamond said that Lilja was never offered – nor did he reject – a contract from the Red Wings, contrary to the mlive.com report.