Anaheim Ducks

Rutherford: Pens need a better ‘supporting cast’ for core

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Penguins GM Jim Rutherford is more than comfortable with the core of his roster.

And no, he has no plans to trade Evgeni Malkin, despite the speculation.

It’s the “supporting cast” — beyond Malkin, Sidney Crosby, Kris Letang and Marc-Andre Fleury — that Rutherford is taking it upon himself to improve.

For good reason, he sees Chicago as the blueprint for success in the salary-cap era.

“The Blackhawks’ core group have risen to the occasion over the span of these last three Cups,” Rutherford told the Post-Gazette. “Clearly Kane and Toews and Crawford and Keith and some others have been really key players, but all three times they’ve had a different supporting cast.

“The conclusion I draw from that is that 1, we have the core guys to win a championship and 2, it’s my job and the job of everyone in hockey [operations] to try to get the right supporting cast so that we can build enough balance, speed and youth to have a complementary group that allows us to make the same run.”

One of the areas where the Penguins have fallen short is player development. Case in point, Rutherford admitted at the end of the season that Beau Bennett hasn’t been brought along properly.

Bennett was the Penguins’ first-round draft pick (20th overall) in 2010.

That was also the year Los Angeles took Tyler Toffoli, one of the leading scorers for the Kings in their second Cup run, with the 47th overall pick.

The next year, the Blackhawks drafted Brandon Saad in the second round and Andrew Shaw in the fifth.

To stay competitive in the salary-cap era, teams need that constant “support from the bottom.”

The Penguins haven’t received that. We mentioned Bennett’s failure to develop into an impact player. Well, at least he’s still with the organization. Pittsburgh traded the first-round picks that came before and after him. Simon Despres (2009) went to the Ducks to get Ben Lovejoy; Joe Morrow (2011) went to Dallas to get Brenden Morrow.

The Pens do have some good prospects in Derrick Pouliot, Kasperi Kapanen and a few others. The key for Rutherford will be to develop those prospects properly, while also acquiring the right veterans, for the right price, to fill out the rest of the roster.

Related: Rutherford insists Pittsburgh is ‘very appealing’ for free agents, even with ownership situation

Report: Heatley considering offers to play in KHL

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After spending much of the 2014-15 season in the American Hockey League, Dany Heatley is considering offers to spend next season in the KHL.

The Hockey News cites Championat.com, which is reporting that CSKA Moscow and SKA St. Petersburg have contacted Heatley about playing in the KHL next season.

Heatley signed a one-year, $1 million contract with Anaheim last summer, but found himself on waivers after just six games with the Ducks.

In February the Ducks sent Heatley along with a 2015 third-round pick to the Florida Panthers for Tomas Fleischmann.

The 34-year-old had a minus-3 rating in six NHL games during the 2014-15 season. He added eight goals and 12 assists in 43 AHL games split between the Norfolk Admirals and San Antonio Rampage.

Heatley spent part of the 2004-05 lockout in Russia with Ak Bars Kazan scoring three goals and an assist in 11 games.

Report: Ducks received permission to speak with Paul MacLean

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Last month the Ottawa Sun reported that no team had approached the Senators for permission to speak with fired coach Paul MacLean.

According to hockey insider Pierre LeBrun, that has changed.

The Anaheim Ducks have been granted permission to speak to MacLean regarding their vacant assistant coaching position.

MacLean was fired in December after the Sens started the season with an 11-11-5 record.

In parts of four seasons behind the Ottawa Bench, the 57-year-old guided the Sens to a 114-90-35 record. The Senators clinched playoff berths in each of MacLean’s first two seasons.

Anaheim has a vacancy on Bruce Boudreau’s staff after the club fired Brad Lauer earlier this month.

In his 30 Thoughts post, Elliotte Friedman suggests MacLean may need some convincing to take a job other than a head coaching role.

MacLean served as an assistant coach in Anaheim when Mike Babcock was the team’s head coach.

Report: Ducks’ Thompson suffered two labral tears, expected out five to six months

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Surgery performed this week on Anaheim Ducks forward Nate Thompson has reportedly revealed further damage to his injured shoulder.

According to a report from Eric Stephens of the Orange County Register on Friday evening, the operation revealed two labral tears, with a recovery time of five to six months for the 30-year-old Thompson.

The Ducks stated that Thompson would undergo surgery on Thursday. The hard-hitting forward missed the first round of the playoffs because of injury, before returning to the Ducks lineup against the Calgary Flames.

In his first season with the Ducks, Thompson scored five goals and 18 points in 80 games, before scoring twice with six points in 12 playoff games.

Ducks reveal Getzlaf has a sports hernia

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Ducks captain Ryan Getzlaf was very hard on himself in Game 6 of the Western Conference Final in what would ultimately be a 4-3 series loss to Chicago. As it turns out, he might not have been 100%.

The Ducks revealed that Getzlaf played through a sports hernia. It’s not clear when he sustained the injury and thus we don’t know how long he was dealing with the problem. He did record two goals and 20 points in 16 playoff contests, including an assist in Game 7 of Anaheim’s series against the Blackhawks.

The good news is that Getzlaf will not require surgery. Teammate Nate Thompson unfortunately can’t say the same.

Thompson, 30, is scheduled to have a shoulder operation today. He was hurt in a game against Arizona on April 11 and missed the first round of the playoffs as a result. However, he returned on April 30 and went on to record two goals and six points in 12 postseason contests.

It’s not yet known what the timetable is for Thompson’s recovery, per the Orange County Register’s Eric Stephens.