Ducks sign Scott Niedermayer - Burke is once again a genius!
Well, I was worried for a while, but as it turns out Brian Burke knew what he was doing all along. I never should have doubted him, in hindsight.
Burke went out and got the best defenseman available by signing Scott Niedermayer to a four year deal for $27 million. He also re-signed Rob Niedermayer for four-years, $8 million.
This is obviously a great signing for the Mighty Ducks. S. Niedermayer is the defending Norris Trophy winner and is arguably the best defenseman in the game today. His signing gives the Mighty Ducks incredible depth on the blueline. Carney and S. Niedermayer are the top pair, Salei and Ozolinsh are the second pair and, to hear Randy Carlyle tell it, that may be all he needs! However, if he wants to trot another pair onto the ice he has Vitaly Vishnevski and either Marc Popovic and/or Ladislav Smid. In my mind, that's the best group of defenseman in the NHL.
Now, the question becomes who will score for the Mighty Ducks? Sergei Fedorov is solid, of course, as the #1 center. Petr Sykora is a fine choice as the #1 right wing. However, who will play the left wing on the top line? Right now, it's either Joffrey Lupul, Mike Leclerc or Rob Niedermayer. Of those three, only Mike Leclerc is a natural left wing, but he doesn't have the natural scoring touch that Lupul does. R. Niedermayer is even less skilled when it comes to scoring, but he's the fastest and the best in the corners/forechecking. Lupul is the star in the making, but is he ready to play on the top line? It may be time to find out.
Randy Carlyle is the new coach, and he's an intense guy that promises to play up-tempo hockey. I'm not sure the Mighty Ducks have the legs to play that style on offense, but then again this is not the roster we will see on opening night. Burke still has time to make some more moves, and I'm sure he will. I lost my patience with him earlier this week because he had yet to make a big splash as Mighty Ducks GM. Now that he has, and now that he has brought a 31-year old Norris Trophy winner to Anaheim, I have more confidence in him than ever before that he will put together a team that will not only be good, but who will be a legitimate Stanley Cup contender.