Kukla's Korner Hockey
by Paul on 05/16/09 at 11:10 AM ET
from Helene Elliott of the LA Times,
Ducks General Manager Bob Murray probably cost himself some negotiating leverage and big bucks Friday when he called Scott Niedermayer “irreplaceable” and all but begged the smooth-skating defenseman to sign for another season.
It might be worth the elevated price.
With Niedermayer, the Ducks can retain a strong corps of veterans while easing younger legs into the lineup, a process Murray began with late-season trades that transformed them from a bottom-feeder to a playoff upstart that dismissed the top-seeded Sharks in the first round and took the defending Stanley Cup champion Red Wings to seven gritty games.
If Niedermayer retires, right wing Teemu Selanne could follow, despite having a year left on his contract. To a team already thin on its second line—Murray’s other priority—losing Selanne might trigger a step backward.
Murray said he needs to know Niedermayer’s plans before the June 26 draft so he can formulate a strategy.
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