Bret Hedican Signs One-Year Deal; Anaheim Ducks Preparing for Major Overhaul?

Bobby RussellCorrespondent IOctober 23, 2008

Another ex-Canuck has joined the Anaheim Ducks.

The Ducks have signed defenseman Bret Hedican to a one-year contract. Financial terms have not been officially disclosed, but the salary is said to be worth around $850,000.

How the Ducks have the room to make this move is beyond me. Make no mistake, Hedican is a potential top-four defensemen and is a definite upgrade over Ken Klee or Nathan McIver. He will probably be playing with Chris Pronger.

But the Ducks are once again over the salary cap. Brad Larsen's injury allows the Ducks to go slightly over the cap, so they might be under the legal limit for the time being.

But this signing is probably step two of a major overhaul. Things got started earlier this week, with Ken Klee being placed on waivers.

Klee cleared waivers yesterday, but it's probable that the Ducks are still trying to get rid of him. Since he is over age 35, the Ducks are forced to count his entire $1.25 million salary against the cap, even if he is sent to the AHL. The Ducks could place him on re-entry waivers, but that would leave the Ducks stuck with half of the salary.

The Ducks would then have $1.955 million being wasted on two players who are not on the team. Todd Bertuzzi's buyout is already burning $1.33 million, and Klee's $625,000 waiver fee would add to the misery. Ducks' fans can thank Brian Burke for all of this.

The "best GM in the league" appears to be doing another favor for an old friend. He suddenly has a penchant for signing once-talented players who have played for him in the past. First came Todd Bertuzzi, then Brendan Morrison, and now Bret Hedican.

For the record, it's possible that Morrison and Hedican have some talent left—they deserve a chance to show what they can do. But they are both past their prime and they need to do a better job than Bertuzzi did last year (which isn't asking very much).

If a trade is in the works, my guess is that Francois Beauchemin and Chris Kunitz are the top candidates. Beauchemin has expressed a desire to test the free agent market over the offseason and Kunitz is the most expendable of the Ducks' top six forwards. Ryan Carter is capable of replacing Kunitz and he plays a very similar style.

With the weekend fast approaching, we may not see the Ducks make a move until next week. Until then, be sure to tune-in to their upcoming Canadian road trip. And be on the lookout for Kristi Yamaguchi. (you knew it would be mentioned eventually!)


Image: Courtesy of Anaheim Ducks official website