When we discussed Randy Carlyle’s three-year contract extension earlier today, much of the focus was on the Anaheim Ducks’ predicament going into the 2011-12 season. Few teams face the kind of uncertainty that Anaheim is coping with right now, with high-scoring veteran winger Teemu Selanne mulling retirement and Jonas Hiller dealing with vertigo issues.
Perhaps it shouldn’t be too surprising that Ducks GM Bob Murray addressed both players while discussing Carlyle’s contract extension today. Unfortunately, Murray wouldn’t (or couldn’t) really giving any concrete information.
As far as top goalie Jonas Hiller is concerned, Murray seemed pretty optimistic, saying that Hiller has been working out regularly in Switzerland and is “in a good place” right now. A healthy Hiller would be absolutely huge for a Ducks defense that declined signficantly since the departure of Chris Pronger and retirement of Scott Niedermayer.
Murray said that Selanne is “struggling a bit” to recover from off-season knee surgery, which explains why the prolific Finnish winger will probably put off a retirement decision until September. Meanwhile, Murray said that he placed “no time frame on him whatsoever” on Selanne’s decision, which only seems fair for a veteran player who has meant so much to the franchise.
“I think he was getting depressed with the whole thing and then I think he had a few days where it wasn’t bugging him,” Murray said Monday. “I think he intends to go pretty hard this week with the bigger boys that are there in Helsinki. We are scheduled to speak after this week is over.”
Murray said that he does have a plan of action if Selanne does retire, although he didn’t really elaborate on the details. Interestingly enough, he did seem to imply that this Plan B might involve more than just a free agent acquisition (although he didn’t explicitly say as much).
Speaking about the prospect of replacing Selanne, Murray said: “You don’t replace him so you just have to …. we’d have to change the team. Yes, there’s a Plan B. We’d have to do some things that I don’t want to discuss right now.
“But we’d have to look at building the team a different way without Teemu. There’s no doubt about that. And you don’t replace him. You go about it a different way with your hockey team.”
As cryptic as that sounds, the rest of the Ducks’ off-season could be fascinating to watch, especially since Selanne’s retirement is a possibility. Both Hiller and Selanne’s situations could have a big impact on the Ducks and their rivals, so stay tuned for future updates.