Shea Theodore #53 of the Anaheim Ducks skates against the Colorado Avalanche at Honda Center on September 22, 2013 in Anaheim, California.
(September 21, 2013 - Source: Jeff Gross/Getty Images North America)

Ducks sign 2013 first rounder Shea Theodore

The Anaheim Ducks have confirmed that 18-year-old defenseman Shea Theodore has inked a three-year, entry-level contract. He was taken with the 26th overall pick in the 2013 NHL Entry Draft.

Theodore has been getting a good look during the preseason. He registered a power-play assist in his debut on Sept. 16 and logged a team-high 22:06 minutes on Monday, although he also had a minus-two rating in that 2-1 defeat.

The British Columbia-native has plenty of offensive potential and is coming off a 50-point season in 71 games with the WHL Seattle Thunderbirds. At the same time, he has things to work on, particularly when it comes to his defensive duties.

“He got a little fire in his belly to be better, to grow,” Ducks GM Bob Murray told the Los Angeles Times shortly after Theodore was drafted. “He agrees with our assessment of the things he has to work on. And he has no problem talking about it. We were hoping he was still there when we got to pick.”

He will have a tough time making the Anaheim Ducks’ opening game roster, but the Ducks will have to enter the campaign without defensemen Sheldon Souray (wrist) and possibly Luca Sbisa (ankle). With that in mind, he can’t be completely ruled out.

Raffl coverts PTO into one-year, $575K deal with Jets

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There’s another Raffl in the NHL.

On Tuesday, the Jets announced that Thomas Raffl — the older brother of Flyers forward Michael Raffl — has signed a one-year, one-way deal worth $575,000.

Raffl, 29, was in Winnipeg’s camp on a PTO after a lengthy career in Europe. He spent time playing in Sweden and his native Austria, most recently with powerhouse EC Red Bull Salzburg — last year, Raffl scored 53 points in 52 games for Salzburg and three in seven games for Austria while serving as team captain at the World Hockey Championships.

“We would like to recognize and express our appreciation to the EC Red Bull Salzburg organization for allowing Thomas and the Winnipeg Jets this opportunity,” Jets GM Kevin Cheveldayoff said in a statement.

With the Jets, Raffl projects to play in the bottom-six forward group, where he can utilize his 6-foot-4, 215-pound frame in a checking-slash-energy role.

For now, though, he’ll start out with the club’s AHL affiliate in Manitoba.

Flyers to start season with seven d-men; MacDonald sent to AHL

Andrew MacDonald, Matt Calvert
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Seven defensemen will comprise the Philadelphia Flyers’ opening-day roster, which the club finalized today.

Those seven are Radko Gudas, Michael Del Zotto, Luke Schenn, Nick Schultz, Brandon Manning, Mark Streit, and Evgeny Medvedev.

Not on the list? Andrew MacDonald, who has cleared waivers and been assigned to AHL Lehigh Valley. (That move allowed the Flyers to keep both Manning and youngster Scott Laughton.)

Also not on the list were prospects Shayne Gostisbehere, Robert Hagg, Sam Morin, Ivan Provorov and Travis Sanheim. The first three will start the season in the AHL. The last two have been sent back to junior.

But the opening-day roster is not where this story ends. How the Flyers’ defensive mix changes as the season progresses will be worth watching.

They’d no doubt love to move Schenn, a pending unrestricted free agent with a $3.6 million cap hit. He could also end up in the AHL, a la MacDonald.

Medvedev, the 33-year-old who came over from the KHL and put up five points in five preseason games, is another pending UFA. The club could either look to re-sign or flip him.

Might 37-year-old Streit be a chip worth cashing in at the deadline, especially if the Flyers aren’t in a playoff position on Feb. 29? He’s only got two years left on his contract.

Meanwhile, GM Ron Hextall will be watching pending restricted free agents Manning and Gudas closely. Are they part of the future?

So, lots of decisions to make in Philly as the blue line continues its much-needed transition.