The Ducks’ defense corps is thin right now after some key injuries, but the team is set for the foreseeable future.
Josh Manson signed a four-year contract extension with the Ducks on Wednesday, the club announced, that keeps him under team control through the 2021-22 season. The average annual value of the deal is $4.1 million, according to a source who was not authorized to speak publicly.
Manson, 25, is known for his physicality as a stay-at-home defenseman.
“It shows even more confidence that they have in me and the kind of player I’ll be for years to come,” Manson, whom the Ducks drafted in the sixth round of the 2011 draft, said on a conference call. “I definitely wanted to get it done before the season started. I can focus a little bit more on the team and the season going on here.”
That season begins Thursday against the Arizona Coyotes, and Manson is slotted in on the team’s top pairing along with Fowler.
He’ll be heavily depended upon by coach Randy Carlyle while Lindholm and Vatanen recover, but Manson earned this contract with his steady play last season.
The 6-foot-3, 213-pounder led Ducks defensemen in hits with 426 and ranked second on the squad with a plus-14 defensive rating. He also had a career-best 12 assists.
“I’m not going to claim to be the best puck-mover going, but I feel like I get up and down the ice pretty well and there’s a physical part to my game,” he said. “I don’t put up the most points, but I feel like I can defend against any player in the league and also play this physical style that’s a part of my game.”
He earned his first playing time in 2014, but it was only for a brief stay. Manson logged regular minutes over the next two seasons.
The former Northeastern University captain consulted with his father, longtime NHL defenseman Dave Manson, before signing the deal. Manson hopes to contribute more on offense this season, but most of all, wants to earn his new riches “in everybody’s eyes.”
“I hope I continue to progress as the years go along,” Manson said. “I still feel I haven’t reach my potential. There are areas of my game I’d like to keep improving. I hope to be a better player at the end of my contract than I was when I was when I signed it.”