Ducks happy to grab Toni Lydman, re-sign Saku Koivu ... but stalled on Bobby Ryan, Teemu Selanne
Ducks General Manager Bob Murray, speaking on a conference call with reporters, said he had hoped to wait before signing free agent Toni Lydman on Thursday but saw the market for defensemen escalating and decided to lock up the former Buffalo Sabres defenseman for three years at $3 million a year.
"I saw where the numbers were going and I said if we're going to get a quality defenseman like Toni, we'd better go now," he said.
The Finnish defenseman, who was offered only two years by the Sabres, is "a three-four defenseman that eats up minutes ... [and] does everything well. He's a real solid, two-way defenseman, which we needed desperately," Murray said.
He said he thought he had lost Saku Koivu to another team because centers were a rare and precious commodity on the free-agent market, but the team reached agreement on a two-year deal at $2.5 million per year.
He wasn't as lucky dealing with restricted free agent winter Bobby Ryan. Murray said he raised his offer to $5 million a year for five years after Ryan had rejected a shorter and less lucrative deal, but Ryan didn't bite. Ryan's production -- 66 goals and 121 points in 145 games over the past two seasons -- merits big numbers, but Murray can't pay him more than the more experienced Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry, who will each earn $5.325 million next season.
"Basically the situation is nowhere," Murray said, adding that he's "done for a while" in negotiating with Ryan.
Other teams can sign Ryan to an offer sheet and the Ducks would have the right to match it, but that generally is frowned upon because it drives salaries up.
Murray said he expects to go to salary arbitration with defenseman James Wisniewski, also a restricted free agent.
The logical question after the Ducks re-signed Koivu was whether that will sway right wing Teemu Selanne into returning, but Selanne apparently is still contemplating whether to retire. Murray said he would like to get something firm from Selanne soon and might call him Friday.
"We're going to see what Teemu does and if the numbers come into line a little better, get another defenseman," Murray said.
-- Helene Elliott