Fowler inks three-year, entry level deal. Update.

The Ducks have signed first-round draft pick Cam Fowler to a three-year, entry-level contract.

The 18-year-old will make $810,000 in base salary each year, plus a $270,000 signing bonus spread out over the three years. He joins No. 1 overall pick Taylor Hall (Edmonton) as the only players to sign with the clubs who drafted them in June.

By signing Fowler so soon, the Ducks appear eager to give the defenseman a shot at making the NHL club in his first professional season. Fowler had an impressive rookie conditioning camp, albeit against NHL rookies, prospects and minor-leaguers. Now he’ll have a chance to see if his skills translate to the Ducks’ main training camp in September.

On paper, there is room for Fowler on the blue line. Lubomir Visnovsky, Toni Lydman and Sheldon Brookbank are all signed to one-way contracts. Luca Sbisa and unsigned RFA James Wisniewski are expected to join them in Anaheim, leaving two roster spots open if Randy Carlyle decides to keep seven defensemen. The Ducks would like to add another top-four blueliner via trade, but it’s not certain they’ll be able to do so.

To make the NHL roster out of training camp, Fowler would have to buck history. The list of Anaheim draft picks who went straight to the NHL in their draft year is a short one: Steve Rucchin and Oleg Tverdovsky in 1994-95, Chad Kilger in 1995-96, and (then-26-year-old) Niclas Havelid in 1999-2000.

Add to the fact that Carlyle, a former Norris Trophy-winning defenseman, has a notoriously short leash on young defensemen, and the chips are stacked against Fowler.

At least today he is one step closer.

Confirmed: Defenseman Syvret signs with Ducks.

Danny Syvret, a defenseman who captained Corey Perry’s London Knights squad to the 2005 Memorial Cup championship, has signed with the Ducks. Sportsnet.ca. First reported the signing Tuesday; the team confirmed the announcement Wednesday. Syvret will make $600,000 in the NHL and $105,000 in the minors.

A 5-foot-11, 203-pound blueliner with a knack for offense, Syvret’s pro career has not picked up where his junior career left off. In his final season with the Knights (2004-05), he had 23 goals and 69 points in 62 games. Syvret has been a productive point producer in the American Hockey League since he was drafted in the third round (81st overall) by the Edmonton Oilers in 2005, and his point-per-game totals have increased each season at the AHL level. In 76 games for the Philadelphia Phantoms’, then the Flyers’ AHL affiliate, Syvret had 12 goals and 57 points in 2008-09. In 15 games with AHL Adirondack last year, he had five goals and 13 points.

But Syvret has had trouble sticking at the NHL level, with just two goals and five points in 49 games spread over parts of four seasons. If he joins the Ducks, Syvret would figure to be in competition with Brendan Mikkelson, Brett Festerling, Luca Sbisa – and possibly Cam Fowler — for one of the final NHL roster spots. The Ducks only have three defensemen (Lubomir Visnovsky, Toni Lydman, Sheldon Brookbank) signed to one-way NHL contracts, with another (James Wisniewski) scheduled for an arbitration hearing August 3.

Anaheim is still seeking a top-four defenseman with some experience. Syvret is not that defenseman, though the Syracuse Crunch, the Ducks’ new AHL affiliate, would certainly benefit from his addition. Judging by his participation in the recent Special Olympics ceremonies in London, he seems to be a good guy, too.

Mikkelson accepts qualifying offer, gives Ducks five defensemen.

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.

Ducks send Eminger to Broadway for Voros.

The Ducks have traded defenseman Steve Eminger to the New York Rangers for left wing Aaron Voros and minor-league forward Ryan Hillier.

A grinder with two-way skills, Voros was underutilized in New York by the admission of Rangers head coach John Tortorella. In 41 games last season, he had three goals, seven points and 89 penalty minutes. In 2008-09, Voros set career highs with eight goals, 16 points and 122 penalty minutes in 54 games.

The 29-year-old has one year and $900,000 remaining on his current contract, and gives the Ducks a salary-cap hit of $1 million – a net savings on Eminger ($1.5 million salary/$1.25 million cap hit).

Eminger was inconsistent in his lone season in Anaheim – sometimes a healthy scratch, other times worthy of top-four minutes. He wound up with four goals and 16 points in 63 games despite a slow start (one assist through 23 games).

Hillier, 22, played only 26 games last season between the Rangers’ AHL and ECHL affiliates. A 2006 third-round draft pick by the Rangers, Hiller has “a good combination of speed and skill, plays with a lot of energy, and shines when the puck is on his stick” according to the scouting report on HockeysFuture.com.

With the departure of Eminger, the Ducks have just four NHL defensemen under contract for next season: Lubomir Visnovsky, Toni Lydman, Sheldon Brookbank and Brett Festerling. Voros adds depth at left wing to a picture that already includes Joffrey Lupul, Matt Beleskey and Jason Blake – not to mention restricted free agent Bobby Ryan. The Ducks have also qualified restricted free-agent defensemen James Wisniewski and Brendan Mikkelson.

Brookbank re-signs for 2 years, $1.5 million. Update.

Defenseman Sheldon Brookbank has parlayed a career year into a two-year, $1.5 million contract with the Ducks. The 29-year-old will earn $700,000 in 2010-11 and $800,000 the following season for a $750,000 cap hit.

Brookbank set career highs in 2009-10 in games played (66), assists (9), points (9), plus/minus (plus-10) and penalty minutes (114). His plus/minus rating and penalty minute total were second on the team, and his eight fighting majors tied for third.

Ducks management first approached Brookbank about a possible contract extension during the second half of last season. While he considered the possibility of seeking more money as a free agent, the deciding factor was that “I was comfortable here,” he said.

“I didn’t want to get too greedy. I wanted to be somewhere I feel like I fit in. I feel like I fit in here and my wife likes it here too.”
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Washington 5, Ducks 1.

The storyline was different this time, but the result was a familiar one for the Ducks on this six-game road trip.

After allowing an early goal, Anaheim (24-23-7) resiliently battled the Washington Capitals (35-12-6) for 40 minutes, then ran out of gas in an up-and-down third period.

Washington scored a mere 36 seconds into the game when Alexander Ovechkin was inexplicably left alone in front of the net, and easily tapped in a rebound past Jean-Sebastien Giguere, who was getting a rare start 24 hours after Jonas Hiller lost in Atlanta.

Having been introduced to the reigning league MVP, the Ducks’ defense buckled down considerably on Ovechkin and the high-flying Capitals. When they didn’t, Giguere was almost never out of position, sprinkling in several point-blank saves among the 34 he made through two periods.

The Ducks tied the game in the second period when Caps goalie Michal Neuvirth allowed a long rebound off a deep Sheldon Brookbank slapshot. The puck came to Dan Sexton in the left faceoff circle, and the Ducks rookie didn’t miss a wide-open net at 11:23.

But Washington, which leads the NHL at 3.81 goals per game, made up for lost time by teeing off against Giguere in the third period.

Shaone Morrisonn angled a deep slapshot in off the skate of Steve Eminger at 1:15 for the go-ahead goal. Mike Knuble scored 56 seconds after, and Alexander Semin scored on a breakaway at 4:15, making it a three-goal game in a three-minute span.

Semin provided the final score with another goal, this time during a 5-on-3 shift, at 11:47.

The Capitals’ eighth straight win is the team’s longest in 26 years.

The Ducks fell to 1-3 on the road trip, which resumes in Tampa Bay on Friday. Giguere stopped 44 shots in his first start since Jan. 3.

Bodie, Arty leave their marks.

Troy Bodie and Evgeny Artyukhin are a couple of 6-foot-4 heavyweights, standing on the far opposite end of the hockey spectrum of the slick-skating Finns Teemu Selanne and Saku Koivu.

But with Selanne and Koivu injured, Artyukhin and Bodie filled the void in the Ducks’ lineup on Sunday, scoring goals 32 seconds apart in the second period against the Calgary Flames.
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Chicago 5, Ducks 2.

The Ducks had to do all the little things — and all the big things — to defeat the Chicago Blackhawks, owners of the Western Conference’s best record, on the road Sunday.


After hanging on for 26 scoreless minutes, both areas of the game caught up with the Ducks.

“We had a couple opportunities on the power play,” head coach Randy Carlyle said. “In games like this, that can make a world of difference. We had our fair share of chances. We had lots of 2-on-1s, we got scoring opportunities, but we hit posts or their goaltender made some big stops.”

“We didn’t do enough to force ‘em. A couple 2-on-1s, we just skated right in. We didn’t change the angle of the puck.”

Petteri Nokelainen scored twice in less than two minutes of the third period to salvage a more respectable final score. But Blackhawks goalie Antti Niemi was otherwise invincible against the Ducks, stopping 22 of 24.

Blackhawks forwards Kris Versteeg and Troy Brouwer scored on Jean-Sebastien Giguere (23 saves) to put Chicago up 2-0 going into the final period. Then Marian Hossa did the biggest damage early in the third, scoring at even strength at 1:14, and again on a power play at 3:41, to effectively put the game away.

“I thought we did come out and play sort of the type of game we have to play in here … we were skating, we were making simple plays,” Ducks captain Scott Niedermayer said. “We had a couple chances; if those go in it’s a different game. They capitalized on theirs and it started to pile on at the end. It’s gone this way for us a fair number of times before this year.”

Sheldon Brookbank and Evgeny Artyukhin collected the assists on both goals for the Ducks (16-19-7), who will try to shake a three-game losing streak against the Detroit Red Wings on Tuesday in Anaheim.

Dallas 5, Ducks 3.

Playing their second straight game without injured center Ryan Getzlaf, the Ducks’ offense didn’t suffer nearly as much as their defense in Dallas.

Loui Eriksson’s hat trick, including a short-handed goal that opened the scoring, sent the Ducks to their third loss in their last four games. Eriksson’s second goal was the back-breaker — draped by Sheldon Brookbank, he flung a one-handed shot weakly between the legs of Jonas Hiller that somehow eldued the Ducks’ goalie at 6:19 of the second period.

Exactly 30 seconds after that goal tied it at 2, Stephane Robidas’ point shot angled in off the stick of Ducks defenseman Nick Boynton, and the Stars would not trail again.

Saku Koivu scored twice, and Dan Sexton added a pair of assists, in a losing effort for the Ducks. Mike Brown scored his career-high fifth goal for the Ducks, who got 37 saves from Hiller.

Forward Todd Marchant left the game midway through the second period and did not return.