The Anaheim Ducks’ anemic defense gets to finally add Andreas Lilja to the mix today after Lilja had to get his work visa issues worked out with the United States. If you don’t recall, one of the pressures on Lilja to find a job in the NHL quickly was because he was due to be forced out of the country if he didn’t. After making the trip to Europe with the Sharks and then not signed by them, things got serious fast for the Swedish defenseman. Being a non-American working in America (and Canada) has its issues like that sometimes.
Lilja adds a big, physical presence with a mind for defense to the Ducks rather punch-free blue line. Lilja also the occasional brain fart for a game-crippling turnover to his repertoire, but his last couple of seasons in Detroit showed that he improved upon those issues. Lilja comes through as a much-needed big body for Anaheim who has struggled so far this season to keep opponents from turning the game into a shooting gallery for goalie Jonas Hiller.
To make room on the roster, the Ducks sent young defenseman Luca Sbisa to Syracuse in the AHL. 2010 first round pick Cam Fowler’s presence in Anaheim has been a welcomed one for the Ducks as he’s survived being sent back to the OHL twice now. He’ll have up until his ninth game in the NHL for the Ducks to decide whether or not they want to keep him all season.
The New York Islanders have claimed goalie Jean-Francois Berube off waivers from the Los Angeles Kings, the club announced today.
Berube won the Calder Cup last season with AHL Manchester, but the 24-year-old has yet to appear in an NHL game.
That the Isles claimed Berube could be evidence that Jaroslav Halak will not be ready to start the season after all.
If that’s the case, Berube would back up Thomas Greiss, with Stephon Williams expected to go to the AHL.
The Isles open their regular season Friday at home versus the Blackhawks, then play the next day in Chicago.
The Toronto Maple Leafs have claimed one of the more intriguing players placed on waivers — former Vancouver defenseman Frank Corrado.
Corrado, 22, was waived by the Canucks on Monday. The former OHL standout had appeared in 28 career games for Vancouver — including 10 last year — but was squeezed out of an NHL spot following the emergence of Ben Hutton, who surprised many onlookers by making the 23-man roster.
Canucks GM Jim Benning will receive criticism for losing an asset like Corrado for nothing. Several Vancouver pundits warned of exposing a young, promising d-man to waivers and those warnings ultimately proved accurate.
With Toronto, Corrado could push for playing time as the club indicated on Monday veteran d-man Sephane Robidas wouldn’t be with the team to start the year. That would leave the the Leafs with seven healthy blueliners: Dion Phaneuf, Jake Gardiner, Roman Polak, Morgan Rielly, Matt Hunwick, Martin Marincin and Scott Harrington, who can go to the minors without having to clear waivers.
Petter Granberg, another defenseman, is currently on IR.
In a corresponding move to the Corrado claim, the Leafs put forward Richard Panik on waivers. Panik, who Toronto plucked off waivers from Tampa Bay last year, appeared in 76 games for the Leafs, scoring 11 goals and 17 points.