Anaheim Ducks Look to Lock Up Possible Free Agents Before Draft in June

Ken ArmerSenior Writer IMay 22, 2008

With Brian Burke moving at full speed ahead to lock up players before the 2008 NHL draft, the top target for the Ducks is to lock up Corey Perry. Burke has made it clear he has confidence he will re-sign Perry and according to the Times Perry has made it clear he wants to stay in Southern California. However Perry, a potential restricted free agent, could be the target of pricey offers this summer.

The 23 year-old forward led the Ducks with 29 goals despite sitting out the last six weeks of the regular season due to a torn tendon in his right leg. It is likely, even with missing six weeks, Perry will be worth an estimated $4 million a season.

"Right now we don't have the tagging room [for his contract], but we think we will on July 1 if the cap goes up as much as we think," Burke said. "We think we will be in position to sign him. He's made it very clear that he wants to stay."

Along with Perry, back-up goaltender,Jonas Hiller, who had a fantastic first NHL season, also can become a restricted free agent this summer. Hiller posted a 10-7-1 with a 2.06 goals-against average and figures to get a large raise from his $850,000 salary last season.

"The wild card is it's possible he's going to get a big offer overseas," Burke said. "He has to decide if he wants to play in the NHL. We'd love to have him back."

Center,Doug Weight, and defensemen,Joe Dipenta, will both be unrestricted free agents. Weight is not expected to be back in a Ducks jersey come fall due to his poor play after joining the Ducks in mid-December via the Andy McDonald trade with St. Louis. Dipenta’s future is more dependent on Scott Niedermayer’s decision on retirement.

"We intend to tell Joe where his status is before the draft," Burke said.

For more information on the Ducks and breaking off season news be sure to check out The Puck Drop: Your Source for Everything Anaheim Ducks

Source: "Brian Burke confident Corey Perry can be resigned" by Eric Stephens, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer.