The Mighty Ducks and their top defenseman, Keith Carney, are negotiating to extend Carney’s two-year contract by a year, both sides hoping to reach agreement today.
The Ducks hold a two-year, $5.6-million club option on Carney, 34, the physical backbone of the Duck defense since his arrival from the Phoenix Coyotes in 2001.
“The one thing that is consistent here is you have us wanting Carney to stay and I think Carney wants to stay,” General Manager Al Coates said. “That’s a good platform to try and get something done.”
If a third contract year is not agreed upon by tonight, the Ducks will execute their two-year option on Carney.
On a busy Tuesday, the Ducks extended qualifying one-year contract offers to seven players who would have become unrestricted free agents Thursday. The most notable were forward Rob Niedermayer ($2.1 million), and defensemen Ruslan Salei ($1.9 million) and Vitaly Vishnevski ($1.3 million). The others were Ilya Bryzgalov, Kurtis Foster, Michael Holmqvist and Tony Martensson.
“When you qualify a player, you’re committing yourself to that player,” Coates said. “That’s what we’ve done with the people we think are the core of our future.”
Niedermayer, Salei and Vishnevski could elect for arbitration in an effort to increase their salaries next season.
Forwards Jason Krog, Petr Schastlivy and Cam Severson were among those not given qualifying offers, making them unrestricted free agents Thursday. Krog, 28, played in all 21 playoff games during the Ducks’ run to the Stanley Cup finals in 2003, but he had only six goals in 80 games last season.
“He’s put in some yeoman service to the team, but I think we need to move on,” Coates said. “We need to move by some people.”