Anaheim Ducks' Overpopulous Defense: Who Are the Most Expendable Players?

Liz BrownsteinContributor IFebruary 9, 2011

TORONTO, CAN - FEBRUARY 7:  Francois Beauchemin #22 of the Toronto Maple Leafs skates in a game against the Atlanta Thrashers on February 7, 2011 at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto, Canada. The Leafs defeated the Thrashers 5-4. (Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images)
Claus Andersen/Getty Images

With this morning's trade bringing Francois Beauchemin to Anaheim, the Ducks are currently carrying nine defenders with them.  For a team with some outstanding blueliners like Lubomir Visnovsky, Toni Lydman, young Cam Fowler and now Francois Beauchemin, what defender is the best one for GM Bob Murray to trade away?

1. Andy Sutton

The monster known as Andy Sutton, who was signed to Anaheim during the offseason, has been a disappointment over this season after missing 21 games with a broken thumb at the beginning of the season.  Since that return, Sutton has clearly clashed with the other defenders on Anaheim's roster.  Sutton has been clumsy with the puck in Anaheim's zone, allowing unexpected turnovers causing several goals against.  On top of that, his Pronger-like stature has started to work against him with many unacceptable minor penalties forcing the Ducks to kill penalties two minutes at a time.


2. Andreas Lilja

Lilja was a blueliner who was signed after Sutton went down back at the beginning of the season in October.  Andreas has been a key penalty-killer and shot-blocker, being ranked second on the team in blocked shots.  So even though he is expendable, I would be sad to see him go if Sutton stayed in Southern California.  A departure of Lilja wouldn't destroy Anaheim, however keeping Sutton could be something that would hurt Anaheim in the long run.  Lilja was ranked 10th on the Ducks in average time on ice per game; however Beauchemin can help pick up those minutes.


3. Paul Mara

Another offseason signing that has fizzled out is that of Paul Mara.  The New Jersey-native defenseman is not a big name, often being overshadowed by such players as Fowler and Lydman, and since Mara hasn't had a lot of bad publicity, or good publicity for that matter, he is expendable.  If Mara is traded away, his exit would not make many changes because, aside from his time on the ice numbers, there isn't much that he contributes.  


Overall, out of the three, I'd love to see Sutton get traded away because between his inconsistency and the fact he has the biggest contract of these three players, opening up some cap space could really benefit the Ducks come the offseason.

So with adding Frankie to the blue-line roster, expect another move or two sending defenders, possibly these three and hopefully Sutton, elsewhere.  GM Bob Murray might look to bring in a few more depth forwards or defensively-minded forwards, or he could just try to snag a few draft picks and open up some more salary cap room.