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Saku Koivu retires after 18 seasons in the NHL

Former Montreal Canadiens and Anaheim Ducks center Saku Koivu announced his retirement Wednesday.

"Looking back at my 22 years of pro hockey, first in Finland and then in the NHL, I feel truly blessed and fulfilled," he said in a statement released by the NHL Players' Association. "I have been contemplating retirement for quite some time and am very confident in my decision at this time and place."

Koivu, 39, played 18 seasons in the NHL, appearing in 1,124 regular-season games and 80 Stanley Cup Playoff games. He scored 255 goals and had 832 points in the regular season, and 18 goals and 59 points in the playoffs.

Longtime Montreal Canadiens and Anaheim Ducks center Saku Koivu announced his retirement Wednesday after 18 seasons in the NHL. (Photo: Graig Abel/NHLI, Debora Robinson/NHLI)

He was captain of the Montreal Canadiensfor nine seasons, from 1999-2000 to 2008-09, becoming the first European-born player to hold that role.

"I feel I was truly lucky to have a chance to play for the legendary Canadiens for so many years and serve as captain and share that great honor with many truly legendary captains from before my time," he said.

Koivu spent the final five seasons of his NHL career in Anaheim with fellow Finn Teemu Selanne, who retired after last season.

“[Saku is] a great human being and everything he did was well-deserved,” Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau said. “I want to congratulate him and thank him for the years."

The Canadiens selected Koivu in the first round (No. 21) of the 1993 NHL Draft. He ranks in the top five among Finnish-born NHL players in games played, goals, assists and points.

Koivu was a regular for the Finnish national team and served as captain. As a professional he won nine international medals, including four in the Olympics (bronze in 1994, 1998 and 2010; silver in 2006). Koivu missed the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympics and the majority of the 2001-02 season while receiving treatment for non-Hodgkins intra-abdominal lymphoma.

Koivu returned to the Canadiens lineup in the 80th game of the 2001-02 season and received a long ovation from the fans in Montreal. He was awarded the Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy in 2002.

"You're going to look back and see all the things he did with the Canadiens and the Ducks and the Finnish national team as well, I think he has the respect of each and every team and in each and every town that he played for, from his country, from his teammates and from the staffs," his younger brother, Minnesota Wild forward Mikko Koivu, told the Star-Tribune. "He has always been a class act, and I think you're going to hear that a lot from around the League and around the hockey world."

Saku also left a legacy in Montreal with the creation of the Saku Koivu Foundation in 2002, which has raised $8 million to buy a Positron Emission Tomography (PET) scanner for the Montreal General Hospital that has aided in the treatment of cancer patients.

"My time in Montreal was special beyond playing hockey," Koivu said. "Thank you to the fans and lovely people of Montreal for your support and love, and for providing my family and me with wonderful memories that we will always cherish as well as the immense support during my illness. Thank you with all my heart to Dr. and Mrs. David Mulder and Dr. and Mrs. Blair Whittemore and the staff at Montreal General Hospital for saving my life."

 

Ducks Sign Maroon to Three-Year Contract Extension

The Ducks have signed left wing Patrick Maroon to a three-year contract extension through the 2017-18 NHL season. Per club policy, no financial terms of the deal were disclosed. Maroon, 26 (4/23/88), scored 11-18=29 points with a +11 rating and a team-leading 101 penalty minutes (PIM) in 62 games for the Ducks last season. Maroon set career highs in goals, assists, points, plus/minus, PIM and games in 2013-14, while also recording a career-best five-game point/assist streak (2-6=8) from Mar. 23-31, 2014. The 6-3, 230-pound winger made his Stanley Cup Playoff debut in 2014, collecting 2-5=7 points with a team-high 38 PIM.

He owned a six-game playoff point streak (2-4=6) from Apr. 23-May 8, 2014, the longest by a rookie since Los Angeles’ Warren Rychel in 1993. Maroon finished the playoffs ranked tied for sixth among rookies in scoring and sixth in assists. Acquired from Philadelphia with David Laliberte in exchange for Danny Syvret and Rob Bordson on Nov. 21, 2010, Maroon originally signed a two-year contract extension with Anaheim on Mar. 21, 2013.

The St. Louis, MO native has appeared in 77 career NHL games with the Ducks, collecting 13-19=32 points with a +10 rating and 113 PIM. He has also played six American Hockey League (AHL) seasons with Philadelphia (2007-09), Adirondack (2009-10), Syracuse (2010-12) and Norfolk (2012-13), earning 118-160=278 points with a +7 rating and 544 PIM in 353 games. Maroon was drafted by Philadelphia in the sixth round (161st overall) of the 2007 NHL Entry Draft.

 

Ducks Sign Stoner to Four-Year Contract

The Ducks have signed defenseman Clayton Stoner to a four-year contract through the 2017-18 NHL season. Per club policy, financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. Stoner, 29 (2/19/85), has scored 4-27=31 points with a +3 rating and 296 penalty minutes (PIM) in 227 career NHL games with Minnesota. He led team defensemen in hits (99) and led the club overall in PIM (84) last season, while collecting 1-4=5 points in 63 games.

He played all 13 postseason games with Minnesota, picking up a career-high 1-2=3 points with a +2 rating and 26 PIM. Selected by Minnesota in the third round (79th overall) of the 2004 NHL Entry Draft, Stoner averaged a career-best 18:12 time-on-ice (TOI) and established a career high in assists (10) in 2012-13. That season, he set a franchise record for defensemen with a +5 rating on Mar. 25, 2013 at Dallas. The 6-4, 216-pound defenseman has appeared in 14 career Stanley Cup Playoff games, earning 1-3=4 points with a +3 rating and 26 PIM. Stoner held a conference call with reporters shortly after being signed by the Ducks.

Below are his comments: On the negotiating process "Anaheim made it known they were looking for more size. They like physical defensemen on the backend. My agent was pushing for Anaheim, too. When they were talking terms, it was either three or four years. I wanted four years, and they were willing. That was a big part of my decision. What the club has done in the past few years was something I was really looking forward to and trying to help."

On his impressions of Anaheim "As a player on a different team, you always look at Anaheim as being a beautiful place to live. But at the same time, it’s amazing what they’ve done as an organization. A lot of times, the warmer climates aren’t big hockey meccas, and sometimes the teams aren’t as good, but Anaheim goes completely against that.

They won a Cup fairly recently and had a chance here in the past few years. My goal is to come in play a physical style and try to be a steady, stay-at-home defenseman who can be reliable and be counted on in key situations. "You’ll probably see me drop the gloves a few times to stick up for my teammates. I’ll just try to be a steady guy. Nothing too flashy, but contribute in all areas if I can."

 

Ducks Acquire Thompson from Tampa Bay in
Exchange for Fourth-Round and
Seventh-Round Selections in the 2015 NHL Draft

The Ducks have acquired center Nate Thompson from the Tampa Bay Lightning in exchange for a fourth-round and seventh-round selection in the 2015 NHL Entry Draft. Thompson, 29 (10/5/84), has scored 39-46=85 points with 199 penalty minutes (PIM) in 391 career NHL games with Tampa Bay, New York Islanders and Boston. Thompson owns a career faceoff percentage of 51.7 (2002-for-3869) and has won over half of his faceoff attempts in five of the last six seasons.

The 6-0, 212-pound center has also appeared in 22 Stanley Cup Playoff games with the Lightning, collecting 1-3=4 points with a +2 rating and 4 PIM. Selected by Boston in the sixth round (183rd overall) of the 2003 NHL Entry Draft, Thompson set career highs in short-handed goals (2), appearances (81) and plus/minus (+3) last season.

His nine goals fell one shy of matching his 2010-11 career high and his 16 points represented the second-best mark of his career. An alternate captain with Tampa Bay, Thompson ranked second among team leaders in faceoff percentage (50.9) and third among forwards in overall short-handed time-on-ice (162:13) and average short-handed time-on-ice (2:00).

 

Ducks Make Four Selections in Rounds 2-7 of 2014 NHL Draft

The Ducks selected four additional players in Rounds 2-7 of the 2014 NHL Entry Draft today at Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, PA. In addition to yesterday’s first-round pick (10th overall) of Nick Ritchie (Peterborough, Ontario Hockey League), the club selected defenseman Marcus Pettersson (second round, 38th overall), defenseman Brandon Montour (second round, 55th overall), defenseman Matthew Berkovitz (fifth round, 123rd overall) and left wing Ondrej Kase (seventh round, 205th overall). “Our philosophy is to take the best player available,” said Ducks Director of Amateur Scouting Martin Madden.

“From that perspective, we accomplished our task in this weekend’s draft. We got players our staff is passionate about and who fit the Ducks’ identity.” Pettersson, 18 (5/8/96), played 10 games with Skelleftea of the Swedish Hockey League last season, going scoreless with two penalty minutes (PIM). Pettersson played most of the season with Skelleftea’s junior team, collecting 4-14=18 points with 38 PIM in 38 games. The 6-4, 170-pound blueliner has represented Sweden in several international tournaments, including the 2014 Under-18 World Championship and the 2013 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge where he won gold. Montour, 20 (4/11/94), scored 14-48=62 points with a +35 rating and 36 PIM in 60 games with Waterloo of the United States Hockey League (USHL) last season.

The 6-0, 172-pound defenseman was named the USHL’s Player of the Year and Defenseman of the Year after leading all USHL defensemen and ranking ninth overall in scoring. A USHL First Team All-Star, Montour helped Waterloo to the top record in the regular season and went on to lead the USHL in postseason scoring with 6-10=16 points in 12 Clark Cup Playoff games. He is slated to attend the University of Massachusetts in the fall of 2014. Berkovitz, 18 (2/16/96), represented Team Wisconsin of the Upper Midwest High School Elite Hockey League last season, collecting 3-10=13 points in 21 games. Berkovitz attended Ashwaubenon High School (WI), where he was one of the school’s top scorers in three of his four seasons.

The 6-1, 180-pound blueliner was the lone defenseman out of eight finalists for the 2013-14 Wisconsin Hockey Coaches Association Player of the Year Award after scoring 11-26=37 points with a +16 rating in 24 games. Berkovitz, who helped the team to the Section 5 championship game with a team-best four points (0-4=4) in three playoff games, will attend the University of Wisconsin this fall. Kase, 18 (11/8/95), recorded 1-2=3 points in five games with the Czech Republic at the 2014 World Junior Championship, including the game-winning tally against Slovakia that clinched a spot in the quarterfinals.

Kase spent the majority of 2013-14 with Chomutov in the top league in the Czech Republic where he registered 4-3=7 points in 37 games. He also skated for Chomutov’s junior team for seven games, picking up 5-10=15 points. At the 2013 Under-18 World Championship, the 6-0, 165-pound winger was named one of his country’s top three players after collecting 1-2=3 points in five games.

 

Ducks Name Yawney Assistant Coach

The Ducks have named Trent Yawney assistant coach. Yawney brings 13 seasons of coaching experience between the NHL and American Hockey League (AHL), including his most recent position as head coach of the AHL’s Norfolk Admirals. Yawney will join Bruce Boudreau’s coaching staff with fellow assistant coaches Brad Lauer and Scott Niedermayer, and video coordinator Joe Piscotty.

During the 2013-14 season, Yawney led the Norfolk Admirals to a 40-26-3-7 record and a berth in the 2014 Calder Cup Playoffs. Norfolk upset the top-seeded Manchester Monarchs to advance to the Eastern Conference Semifinals before falling to the St. John’s IceCaps in six games.

In 2011-12, Yawney joined the Ducks’ then-affiliate in Syracuse as associate head coach. He guided the team to a 37-29-5-5 record, including a 15-3-1-1 record over the team's last 20 games to jump from 14th place to seventh place in the Eastern Conference and earn a berth in the 2012 Calder Cup Playoffs. Yawney began the 2011-12 season as a pro scout for the Ducks, a position he also held in 2007-08. A native of Hudson Bay, Saskatchewan, Yawney has six years of NHL coaching experience.

Most recently, Yawney served as an assistant coach with the San Jose Sharks from 2008-09 through 2010-11. During his tenure in San Jose, the team made two Western Conference Final appearances (2010, 2011) and won the Presidents' Trophy as the team with the NHL's best regular season record in 2008-09.

Prior to San Jose, Yawney served as head coach of the Chicago Blackhawks from 2005-06 and was an assistant coach in 1999-00. Drafted by Chicago in the third round (45th overall) of the 1984 NHL Entry Draft, Yawney scored 27-102=129 points with 783 penalty minutes (PIM) in 593 NHL games with Chicago, Calgary and St. Louis. Additionally, Yawney played 60 Stanley Cup Playoff games, helping the Blackhawks to the Western Conference Finals in 1989 and 1990.

After breaking his arm in January 1999, Yawney began assisting Chicago’s coaching staff and later transitioned from playing to coaching full-time in 1999-00.

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