With training camps about to start, the last of the signings are being finalized and one late signing today by the Ducks comes at the perfect time. The Ducks have signed defenseman Paul Mara to a one-year deal worth $750,000 to help add experience and depth to their blueline corps. Mara struggled with injury last year in Montreal and didn’t factor much into what the Habs did last year.
Mara’s signing comes at a good time for the Ducks because newly acquired defenseman Toni Lydman is having issues of his own with double vision.
Doctors have done several batteries of tests on Lydman, ruling out most major medical concerns but not identifying the problem.
That sounds random and awkward for Lydman. The Ducks’ blueline was already set to be a point of contention as Lubomir Visnovsky, Andy Sutton, and Toni Lydman are the big names back on defense for Anaheim. That’s not exactly a murderer’s row of blueliners and losing Lydman just makes life harder there.
No offense to guys like Brett Festerling, Danny Syvret or Sheldon Brookbank but they’re not the sort of guys that will be able to consistently do well against the likes of San Jose, Chicago or Detroit in the west. Bringing Mara on board helps but they’re still going to have a hard time in the supremely competitive Western Conference.
As PHT’s mentioned before, the Florida Panthers stand as a fascinating contrast between youth and experience.
Let’s not kid ourselves, though; fresh faces usually beat out gray beards, at least when it comes to teams that are still trying to build toward contender status.
While it’s by no means official, two Panthers beat writers – the Miami Herald’s George Richards and the Florida Sun-Sentinel’s Harvey Fialkov – report that the Panthers are likely to pass on Martin Havlat.
It wasn’t just about the likes of Jonathan Huberdeau and Nick Bjugstad leading the charge. Other young Panthers (maybe most notably Quinton Howden and Connor Brickley) made the team, thus making Havlat less necessary.
One would assume that it might be tough for the 34-year-old to find work, at least if he insists upon only an NHL deal.
Health issues continue to dog him, but he’s no longer one of those guys who tantalizes with talent when he is healthy enough to play.
Havlat also doesn’t really bring much to the table defensively. While other veterans can kill penalties and show a little more verstaility, Havlat’s greatest selling point is scoring.
Could this be it for a solid career that may nonetheless end with a “What if?” or two?
Considering all of the controversy surrounding the 41-game suspension for Raffi Torres, some might have lost track of the guy who received that hit: Jakob Silfverberg.
The good news is that, at the moment, it seems like he’s OK.
The Anaheim Ducks announced that he skated on his own and will be involved in the team’s next practice:
That falls in line with some of the fall-out from the hit, as head coach Bruce Boudreau let out a relieved “thank goodness” at the young forward seemingly dodging a bullet.
Here’s video of the hit and the suspension decision:
Silfverberg, 24, enjoyed a nice breakout in 2014-15, especially during the playoffs.
Keep in mind that injuries can sometimes crop up later than expected, especially potential head injuries/concussions. Still, it seems like the initial reaction is that the damage was minimal.