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MIGHTY DUCK NOTEBOOK / ROBYN NORWOOD : Ferreira’s Game Strategy Stresses Playing for Keeps, Not Trades

General Manager Jack Ferreira has answered to nicknames ranging from Race Car to Quacker Jack, but one thing you wouldn’t call him based on this season is Trader Jack.

The Mighty Ducks have not made a trade since the season began.

The Florida Panthers have made 11--the most in the NHL.

One first-year team trades left and right, the other listens to offers and says, “No thanks.”

“I didn’t know you got points for making trades,” Ferreira quipped.

Jimmy Carson, a former 50-goal scorer, was on the trading block for months. The Ducks weren’t interested.

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Bob Kudelski scored 26 goals for a terrible Ottawa team, and the rival Panthers grabbed him in a trade while the Ducks stood pat.

Even when the Ducks lost leading scorer Anatoli Semenov for two months with a dislocated left elbow, Ferreira didn’t deal.

What gives?

For one thing, Ferreira is intent on sticking to the long-term plan, being patient and not trading away valuable draft picks or disturbing the team’s good chemistry and success.

For another, Paul Kariya is on his way.

“Every situation is different,” said Ferreira, who made close to 30 trades in his first year as general manager in Minnesota, in 1988. “I think some of the answers for our franchise are within our organization but aren’t signed. I not only look at the immediate situation, but long range. Sure, we may have been able to make a trade that would help temporarily but would really clog up the situation maybe a month from now. I’ve backed off doing some things for that reason.”

The Ducks need to add more offense and a quarterback for their weak power play. Kariya, the Maine star who says he wants to play hockey like Magic Johnson played basketball, might join the Ducks after he plays for Canada in the Olympics next month--if the Ducks can persuade him to sign now instead of returning to school for the rest of the season.

So say that after the injury to Semenov, the Ducks had traded for Carson, taking on a big salary and perhaps parting with a big physical forward. By March, with Semenov back and Kariya potentially in the fold, they would have too many centers competing for ice time, Ferreira figures.

So by the time you throw money into the mix--it won’t be cheap to sign Kariya or next year’s No. 2 overall pick--and the fact that the Ducks don’t have much to offer in trade, and you begin to see why Ferreira hasn’t made a deal since last summer, when he traded a third-round draft pick to Montreal for Todd Ewen and Patrik Carnback.

“In almost every instance, certain guys I don’t want to give up are the ones other teams want,” Ferreira said.

Most likely, that’s a Ewen or a Stu Grimson.

“They’re looking for power forwards, guys with size and presence,” Ferreira said. “Obviously, I could have made three or four of those type trades, but a year from now, I’d be looking for a guy like that.”

What happens if the Ducks are really in the playoff hunt come late February? The thought already has crossed Coach Ron Wilson’s mind.

“At the end of February or early March, if we feel we’ve got a realistic chance to make the playoffs, we might be looking for a quarterback for our power play,” Wilson said. “But you don’t want to compromise yourself two or three years down the road. We certainly don’t have a legitimate chance of winning the Stanley Cup. Teams that feel they do might make a lot of moves. We’ll see where we are. But to get things, you’ve got to give up things. People aren’t going to be asking for third- and fourth-liners.”

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Kariya Watch: Is he ready for the NHL? You be the judge. In his first 17 games with the Canadian Olympic team, Kariya has 29 points--four goals and 25 assists--and is playing on a line with former NHL players Petr Nedved and Chris Kontos.

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Newest Duck: Defenseman Don McSween, who signed a one-year contract this week with the defense corps thinned by injury was the defense partner of Duck teammate Bill Houlder last season in San Diego. McSween, 29, hadn’t appeared in an NHL game in four years before Wednesday’s game against San Jose.

In college, he played on the 1986 NCAA Division I championship team at Michigan State that included NHL players Mike Donnelly (Kings), Kevin Miller (Blues), Bob Essensa (Jets) and Joe Murphy (Blackhawks).


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