Minnesota Wild

Ducks confirm Chris Stewart signing

11 Comments

The Anaheim Ducks finally confirmed that they signed Chris Stewart to a one-year contract on Sunday, one day after word surfaced regarding a deal.

They didn’t provide the financial details, so we’ll assume that it’s indeed a $1.7 million salary and cap hit as multiple reports suggest.

Beleskey replacement?

Most obviously, the Ducks are likely hoping that Stewart, 27, can help fill the void left behind by Matt Beleskey’s free agent departure. Stewart’s a power forward who can mix scoring and snarl, especially during his best moments.

It’s wise not to expect too much, as Stewart’s disappointed often enough that he even commented on the theme of offseason storylines revolving around possible rebounds last summer.

It’s fair to say that he has some scoring touch, but expecting him to approach his peak form (particularly back-to-back 28-goal seasons in 2009-10 and 2010-11) could really increase the chances of a letdown.

Not much of a risk

Pessimists might see parallels between the Ducks picking up Dany Heatley off the scrap heap last summer.

Then again, in a way, that wouldn’t really be a disaster for anyone but Stewart. Heatley’s weak offering obviously didn’t do much to hurt Anaheim’s chances in 2014-15, and the Ducks aren’t taking a huge gamble in handing Stewart a one-year deal.

Instead, it’s a great opportunity for Stewart.

He can bolster his chances of getting a much better contract next time around, particularly if he can convince the Ducks to buck the growing trend of teams packaging Stewart in various trades. He’s still in his prime years, so it’s reasonable to ponder a strong year for the feisty forward, particularly if he gets lucky enough to skate with Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry every now and then. Even if his linemates are weaker, Stewart gets to play in an aggressive system on a contending team. For all we know, this could be a sneaky bargain for GM Bob Murray.

(Uh oh, Stewart is roping us in again, isn’t he?)

Report: Ducks sign Stewart to one year, $1.7 million deal

27 Comments

The Anaheim Ducks have inked winger Chris Stewart to a one-year contract worth $1.7 million, according to a report Saturday evening from John Shannon of Sportsnet.

The Ducks have yet to officially announce any deal for the 27-year-old Stewart.

It’s worth noting that enforcer Brian McGrattan announced his deal with the Ducks via Twitter well before the club did.

Stewart spent last season with the Buffalo Sabres and then the Minnesota Wild following the NHL trade deadline.

Stewart scored a combined 14 goals and 36 points last season with both the Sabres and Wild, and he also brings size on the wing at 6’2″ tall and 231 pounds and an element of toughness.

Reports: Ducks, UFA forward Stewart nearing agreement on one-year deal

13 Comments

It appears forward Chris Stewart could be on the move once again.

According to multiple reports, Stewart, the unrestricted free agent winger, is nearing an agreement with the Anaheim Ducks on a one-year contract.

Stewart started last season with the Buffalo Sabres but was moved at the trade deadline to the Minnesota Wild for that club’s playoff run. He scored three goals and 11 points in 20 games with the Wild in the regular season but had just two assists in eight playoff games.

Related: UFA of the Day: Chris Stewart

Wild re-sign Folin to two-year, reportedly one-way deal

4 Comments

The Minnesota Wild announced via Twitter that they have re-signed 24-year-old defenseman Christian Folin to a two-year contract.

According to Michael Russo of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, it’s a one-way contract with an annual cap hit of $725,000 per season.

From the Minneapolis Star-Tribune:

Most interesting is it’s a full one-way contract. That currently gives the Wild eight defensemen if Mike Reilly makes the team (Ryan Suter, Jonas Brodin, Marco Scandella, Jared Spurgeon, Reilly, Matt Dumba, Nate Prosser and Folin).

I use the word “interesting” because if the Wild keeps eight defensemen and Niklas Backstrom remains on the roster once the season starts as a third goaltender, the Wild could only keep 12 forwards (no extras).

In 40 regular season games with the Wild last season, the former university hockey standout scored twice and recorded 10 points. Minnesota signed Folin as a college free agent in March, 2014.

Report: Wild’s Backstrom suffered serious nerve damage in elbow

49 Comments

More is coming to light about the injury that hampered Minnesota goalie Niklas Backstrom through most of last season.

Per the Star-Tribune — working off an interview Backstrom did with Finnish TV station MTV 3 — Backstrom apparently aggravated an early-season elbow injury this past spring, to the point where he couldn’t perform standard activities with his right hand.

More, from the Trib:

“It was a bit scary situation,” Backstrom told MTV 3’s Timo Kunnari during an interview that was translated for the Star Tribune by Usanomat hockey writer Juha Hiitela. “It happened pretty fast. All of a sudden two fingers are not working. Even in rest, two fingers were motionless. I couldn’t use my right hand to drive a car or to hold a phone.

“There’s a lot of stuff that’s happened during my career, but this really made me stop and think. You need your hand for the rest of your career. I’m righthanded.”

Backstrom, 37, underwent surgery to repair the injury in May and didn’t dress in the playoffs. It’s believed the Wild wanted to buy him out of the last year of his contract (he’s carrying a $3.417M cap hit), but was unable to given the Finnish netminder was injured during the buyout window.

As a result, Minnesota could head into next season with nearly $9 million tied up in three goalies — Backstrom, Devan Dubnyk and Darcy Kuemper.

Further compounding the issue? Player agent Jay Grossman claims Backstrom should be cleared to play for the start of the regular season, which could rule out putting Backstrom on long-term injured reserve, and getting the cap relief that comes with it.

Per the Tribune, Wild GM Chuck Fletcher declined to comment on the Backstrom situation.