Vancouver Canucks

Avalanche sign veteran d-man Beauchemin for three years

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The Colorado Avalanche have signed veteran defenseman François Beauchemin to a three-year deal with a $4.5 million cap hit, according to Renaud Lavoie of TVA Sports.

Beauchemin, 35, did not re-sign with Anaheim; the Ducks essentially filled his spot by trading for Kevin Bieksa.

In Colorado, the hope will be that Beauchemin can provide a steadying presence on a team that struggled defensively last season.

At 35 years old, Beauchemin is no youngster. However, he still managed to average 22:45 of ice time in 2014-15.

“He’s the voice,” Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau said of Beauchemin during the playoffs. “Everybody else is so young. [He] is the voice back there. You can hear him talking all the time.”

Canucks re-sign Weber for one year

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Yannick Weber will re-sign with the Vancouver Canucks for one year and $1.5 million, according to Sportsnet’s Elliotte Friedman.

Vancouver did not tender Weber a qualifying offer, making him an unrestricted free agent. But the Canucks always wanted to re-sign him; they just didn’t want to go to arbitration with him.

In his season-ending press conference, GM Jim Benning spoke well of the 26-year-old defenseman who scored 11 goals with 10 assists in 2014-15. .

While it once seemed it could be tough for the Canucks to keep Weber, yesterday’s trade of Kevin Bieksa to Anaheim made room.

Ducks quickly ink Bieksa to two-year, $8M extension

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The Anaheim Ducks didn’t waste any time locking in Kevin Bieksa.

Acquired yesterday from Vancouver in exchange for a 2016 second-round pick, Bieksa today agreed to a two-year, $8 million extension with the Ducks — keeping him in Anaheim through 2018.

The 34-year-old has one year left on his current deal (at $4.6M per), so this latest extension won’t kick in until the 2016-17 campaign. While the new deal is a slight pay cut, it’s still a pretty healthy salary for a guy that looked to be slowing down last season, especially in Vancouver’s opening-round playoff loss to Calgary.

Still, Bieksa can be an effective player both offensively and defensively when healthy, and he did miss extensive time last year to a broken hand. He’ll also add some veteran know-how and grit to the Anaheim blueline, especially with Francois Beauchemin likely to sign elsewhere in free agency.

The move to Anaheim will, as has been mentioned earlier, re-united him with former Canucks teammate and roommate Ryan Kesler.

Ducks stay busy, name former Adams winner MacLean assistant coach

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Just minutes after swinging a deal to acquire d-man Kevin Bieksa from Vancouver, the Anaheim Ducks bolstered their coaching staff by hiring Paul MacLean as an assistant to Bruce Boudreau.

MacLean, 57, has been out of work since getting fired as the head coach in Ottawa last season. A former Mike Babcock assistant in Detroit, MacLean achieved great success with the Sens — twice being nominated for the Jack Adams as coach of the year, winning once — but was dismissed after a lackluster start to the ’14-15 campaign amid criticisms of his blunt, occasionally harsh approach with players.

MacLean was tied to a few head coach openings after being fired but failed to land any of them and, as such, was available for Anaheim after GM Bob Murray fired assistant coach Brad Lauer earlier this month. Lauer had been on Boudreau’s staff since their arrival in November 2011 and coached the Ducks’ power play, which ranked 28th in the NHL this season.

One would think MacLean’s hire is tied directly to Boudreau’s future employment. If the Ducks falter at some point next season and Boudreau is dismissed, MacLean would be an easy in-house replacement to take the reins.

Trade: Bieksa headed to California — but it’s Anaheim, not San Jose

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The Vancouver Canucks have finally moved veteran d-man Kevin Bieksa — but not to the team many expected.

On Tuesday, Bieksa was sent to Anaheim in exchange for a second-round pick at the 2016 NHL Entry Draft. The deal comes just days after a widely-circulated report claimed the 34-year-old rearguard was on his way to San Jose, only for the deal to be scuttled during the draft weekend in Florida.

In Bieksa, the Ducks get an experienced rearguard is heading into the last of a five-year, $23 million deal with a $4.6M annual cap hit. In his prime, Bieksa was a key piece of Vancouver defense, cracking the 40-point plateau three times while developing a reputation as someone that played with an edge. He’s also known for his leadership qualities, having served as an alternate in Vancouver, and as a Canada’s captain at the 2015 Worlds.

That said, Bieksa has seen better days.

Last season was a struggle; a broken hand limited him to just 14 points in 60 games and his lack of foot speed and mobility were exposed in Vancouver’s opening-round playoff loss to Calgary.

In Anaheim, Bieksa will be reunited with former Vancouver teammate Ryan Kesler and will step onto a blueline that has some uncertainty; Ducks GM Bob Murray flipped little-used James Wisniewski to Carolina at the draft, and has yet to decide if he’ll return veteran Francois Beauchemin (this deal suggests Beauchemin is done in Orange County.)

The club also recently bought out Mark Fistric.

Notes…

— The pick heading to Vancouver is interesting. It’s believed the Canucks thought they were getting a ’15 second-rounder from the Sharks, only to learn a ’16 second-rounder was on the table… the same pick Anaheim gave.

Per TSN, it sounds like Bieksa’s agent, Kurt Overhardt, is working on an extension with the Ducks.

— This is the second significant deal Canucks GM Jim Benning has done with Murray in as many years, having sent Kesler to Anaheim last summer.