Selanne ends suspense, signs 1-year deal.

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(Photo courtesy of Anaheim Ducks)

Teemu Selanne said he wanted to decide whether or not to extend his playing career by September 16. Looks like he beat his own deadline by a full day.

The 41-year-old right wing signed a one-year, $4 million contract Thursday that will keep the Ducks’ leading scorer in uniform for another year. The annual summer ritual of will-he-retire-or-re-sign was getting old, and there was a sense of finality this time when Selanne spoke to reporters on a national conference call.

“I look at it as my last year,” Selanne said. “Hopefully it’s going to be a good
one.”

Full story to come in tomorrow’s editions. Some more interesting details:

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Ducks have a ‘Plan B’ if Selanne can’t play.

If Teemu Selanne doesn’t play in 2010-11, the Ducks are prepared to go forward with a “Plan B.”

That plan may be closer to reality than it was a week ago. General manager Bob Murray said he spoke with Selanne three days ago and the 41-year-old has hit a snag in his recovery from arthroscopic knee surgery in June.

“He’s been struggling a bit,” Murray said. “I think he was getting depressed with the whole thing. Last week I think he had a few days where it wasn’t bugging him. I think he intends to go hard this week with the bigger boys in Helsinki. We are scheduled to speak after this week is over.”

Murray said he won’t hang a timeframe on Selanne, who recently told a Finnish newspaper that he won’t decide whether to retire or re-sign until September at the earliest. The Ducks took the same approach in 2007 when the right wing contemplated retirement, ultimately waiting until December-more than two months into the regular season – for Selanne to return.
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Ducks, Carlyle agree to contract extension.

The Ducks rewarded Randy Carlyle with a contract extension Monday that will keep the head coach in Anaheim through the 2013-14 season. Carlyle’s contract was due to expire a year from now, and the 2011-12 portion of his contract is being reworked as part of what is essentially a new three-year deal.

“We’ve been talking probably for a month an a half here on the direction which we were both trying to get to,” Carlyle said via telephone from his off-season home in Mindemoya, Ontario. “It’s something that probably started a little bit before the draft. Once the draft comes into play, usually everything else gets put aside. We were working at this thing piece by piece. It wasn’t that there were a lot of contentious issues, just that there was more time than normal.”

Carlyle guided the Ducks’ turnaround from another poor start last season, when they began 4-7-1 but came back to clinch the No. 4 seed in the Western Conference on the final day of the regular season.

Along the way Carlyle had to navigate the learning curves of rookies Cam Fowler, Brandon McMillan and young defenseman Luca Sbisa, and a season-ending injury to all-star goalie Jonas Hiller.

“I’ve all along said he’s a good coach. We’re always competitive, no matter what kind of team we throw at him,” general manager Bob Murray said. “He takes what you give him and he tries to win and he does very well at it, as his record indicates. He’s a good coach. His record speaks for itself.”

Under Carlyle, the Ducks have clinched the playoffs five times in six season, earning at least 98 points in four of the six seasons. Murray praised Carlyle’s work with the younger roster in 2010-11.

“He has his way with young guys,” Murray said. “He also took (Ryan) Getzlaf and (Corey) Perry when they were kids, too. The players are changing. He’s got to stay up with that. I think he’s done a good job staying up with how they’ve changed.”

More in tomorrow’s editions.

Ducks trade for Cogliano, sign Drouin-Deslauriers, etc.

The Ducks took their biggest step toward addressing their biggest area of need this summer today, trading a second-round draft pick in 2013 to the Edmonton Oilers for center Andrew Cogliano.

The 24-year-old has never missed a game in four NHL seasons – all with Edmonton – while racking up 57 goals, 146 points and 137 penalty minutes. Listed at 5-foot-10, Cogliano compares favorably to recently-retired forward Todd Marchant, another player whose two-way game evolved in Edmonton before he arrived in Anaheim.

“I’ve matured as a player,” Cogliano said. “At this point in my career, I can create offense but also take up the def side of things. I played a lot of penalty kill last year. I feel like I can contribute at both ends of the rink.”

In Cogliano and Brandon McMillan, the Ducks now have two viable options for the third-line center position. McMillan finished a strong rookie campaign with 11 goals and 21 points, but his 38.9 percent success rate in the faceoff circle was the lowest on the team. Cogliano only won 41.6 percent of draws last season, but his 461 faceoff wins were the most of any Oiler, and that figure should reasonably increase if he’s surrounded by better and hungrier players.

Cogliano also scored 18 goals in each of his first two NHL seasons before dipping to 10 and 11 the last two years, respectively.

The Ducks’ third- and fourth-line positions – arguably their biggest area of weakness in the playoffs – are more clear but still a little muddy. Cogliano and enforcer George Parros are all but locks; so are youngsters Brandon McMillan, Dan Sexton and Matt Beleskey if they don’t take a step backwards, and Jean-Francois Jacques. There could be one or two open positions –for a fourth-line center, or a third- or fourth-line left wing — with a decent crop of candidates lying in the AHL and junior ranks.

Considering his two-way potential and his faceoff skills, it’s safe to say that adding Cogliano should allow McMillan to switch to either the left or right wing. Counting those two, along with Beleskey, Dan Sexton, Kyle Palmieri or perhaps Emerson Etem -to name just four candidates -the Ducks could have a young third line with above-average speed.

“We dabbled in this a bit over the last year and a half,” general manager Bob Murray said. “The biggest thing for us is speed. We tried to increase our team speed the last couple of years and we really haven’t accomplished that. He can definitely skate.”
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Murray chosen as an assistant for Team Canada at worlds.

Ducks general manager Bob Murray will be part of the management team assisting former Ducks executive Dave Nonis for the upcoming IIHF World Championship, Hockey Canada announced Thursday. The tournament will take place April 29-May 15 in Bratislava and Kosice, Slovakia.

Nonis, currently the senior vice president of hockey operations for the Toronto Maple Leafs, will be the GM. Recently retired defenseman Rob Blake and Brad Pascall, Hockey Canada’s vice-president of hockey operations/national teams, will also be part of the management team.

“I’m honored to represent Canada at the World Championships,” Murray said in a statement. “I hope to be able to support Dave as best I can and look forward to putting the team together.”

Prior to joining the Maple Leafs front office, Nonis was the Anaheim Ducks’ senior advisor of hockey operations from June to December 2008. He left for Toronto with Brian Burke after Burke accepted the Maple Leafs’ general manager position.

According to Hockey Canada, the four managers have started scouting and evaluating players and staff with the expectation of naming its staff, including coaches, in March and players in early April. Additional players could also be added after the first round of the NHL playoffs.

The team will assemble in Europe on April 22, and play in two pre-competition games, on April 24 vs. France in Paris and on April 27 vs. the Czech Republic in Prague. Canada will be based in Kosice, Slovakia for the preliminary round.

Ducks extend Sbisa for four years, $8.7 million.

The Ducks secured a major piece of their defense Tuesday by signing Luca Sbisa to a four-year contract extension worth $8.7 million. The 21-year-old will make $1.2 million next season, $2 million in 2012-13, $2.6 million in 2013-14 and $2.9 million in 2014-15.

“We are pleased to be able to reach an agreement with Luca on a long-term contract,” general manager Bob Murray said in a statement. “He has a bright future ahead of him and we look forward to watching him continue to develop.”

Sbisa becomes only the second Ducks player signed through 2014-15 (Bobby Ryan is the other) and gives the team seven defensemen under contract for next season. Sbisa would have become a restricted free agent July 1, when the entry-level deal he signed with Philadelphia was set to expire.

Already a smooth skater when he broke in as a rookie with the Flyers in 2008-09, the former first-round draft pick has taken tremendous strides since the beginning of the season to become a more well-rounded defenseman. He’s eliminated the ill-advised forays with the puck through the neutral zone in favor of a more conservative game, in the process becoming a third-pair fixture (recently with Francois Beauchemin) on the back end.

Sbisa has two goals and eight points in 52 games this season. He’s second on the team in hits (131) and sixth in blocked shots (61) while averaging 16:23 time on ice per game.

Ducks give Murray four-year extension. Updated with Murray comments.

The Ducks have extended the contract of general manager Bob Murray through the 2015-16 season, the team announced today. Financial terms weren’t disclosed.

The NHL trade deadline is three days away, but the Ducks didn’t wait that long to hand Murray his report card.

“Bob has positioned us well for the future,” CEO Michael Schulman said in a statement. “He has added youth to our current lineup, with several exciting prospects still on the horizon. He deserves the stability this contract extension brings.”
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Ray Emery on making it back (almost).

The Ducks hope Ray Emery doesn’t have to back up his words with actions. Not yet, at least.

“I wouldn’t be here if I didn’t think I was ready to contribute,” Emery said Thursday, following his first NHL practice in more than a year. “If I get a chance, I’m going to try to make the most of it, try to do my best.”

Earlier in the morning, general manager Bob Murray said that Emery would ideally get his next game action in a Syracuse Crunch uniform.

Emery made three starts for the Crunch, going 2-1-0 with 2.62 goals-against average and .925 save percentage, after the Ducks signed him to a two-way contract last week. On Wednesday, he was back on an NHL bench as the back-up to Curtis McElhinney against the Kings. Reading into the situation, Emery will probably back up Dan Ellis tomorrow against the Minnesota Wild.

“I think we have to stick to the game plan with him,” Murray said. “He’s here now, he’s getting shots, he’s getting NHL shooters right now. He’s (working) with (goaltending consultant) Pete Peeters. He’s going to be here, obviously, until Jonas (Hiller) comes back. He’s got to play more games. Hopefully at the end of all this, we have three strong goaltenders that are ready to make a run.”
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Ducks acquire Ruutu from Ottawa. Updates with Ruutu comments.

The Ducks acquired Ottawa Senators tough guy Jarkko Ruutu in exchange for a sixth-round pick in the 2011 draft Thursday. The Finnish left wing will not be able to join the team right away until he obtains a work visa.

In the meantime, Ruutu told reporters on a conference call that he’s just happy to be joining a playoff-contending team. The rebuilding Senators, mired in last place in the Eastern Conference, have also traded veteran forwards Chris Kelly and Mike Fisher in the past week.

“I’m excited to go to Anaheim,” Ruutu said. “They have a good team, a couple Finnish guys, too. … When you re out of the playoffs, you’re not really playing for anything. Suddenly you get traded to a team that’s been plaing really well lately, it’s really exciting for me.”

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Five things about the Joffrey Lupul-Francois Beauchemin trade.

The Ducks will be posting a complete transcript of this morning’s conference calls with Francois Beauchemin and general manager Bob Murray soon.

In the meantime, here are five things you need to know:

1. Beauchemin isn’t playing tonight. He’s flying to Vancouver today, then will hopefully practice with the Ducks tomorrow and play Friday night in Calgary, Murray said.

2. Murray said he determined the Ducks were a playoff team when they rallied in January with captain Ryan Getzlaf on injured reserve. Then he determined the team needed the most help on defense now – but not down the road, with youngsters Cam Fowler, Luca Sbisa and prospect Nick Schultz developing well. That made Jake Gardiner expendable. “We gave them a good young prospect here,” Murray said. “We feel we’re really deep at that position of prospects, on defense.”

3. Including Beauchemin, the Ducks have nine defensemen. Asked if another move was in the works, Murray said “nothing’s imminent.” So it looks like there will be eight defensemen and 13 forwards available tonight in Vancouver. Left wing Aaron Voros, who cleared waivers this morning, might be back in the lineup.

4. Beauchemin admitted he “didn’t really like it” when the Ducks didn’t match the Maple Leafs’ offer to him in free agency in June 2009. But he liked Anaheim enough to put the Ducks on his list of 12 teams he would accept a trade to. “Bob (Murray) was the guy who mentioned to (Brian Burke) in that (Sergei) Fedorov deal, to include me in it, because he saw me playing the American League five, six years ago,” Beauchemin said, “and our relationship hasn’t really changed.”

5. Lupul said he has “a lot to prove” to a Ducks team that “just let me go after 20 games.” He’ll have to wait – the two teams won’t play each other again this season.