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Ducks parting ways with Koivu, Hiller and Winnik

Jun 19, 2014, 2:28 PM EDT

Saku Koivu Getty Images

The Anaheim Ducks are moving on from three veteran presences.

On Thursday, GM Bob Murray said the club wouldn’t extend offers to pending UFAs Saku Koivu, Jonas Hiller and Daniel Winnik, per the O.C. Register. The moves aren’t entirely surprising given Anaheim’s wealth of young prospects on the horizon, but still represent a significant shift in the club’s identity.

Koivu, 39, has been with the team for the last five seasons and has served as the Ducks’ alternate captain since signing in 2009. Despite missing significant time last year with a concussion, Koivu still put up a respectable 11 goals and 29 points in 65 games while averaging over 15 minutes a night… that said, he struggled in the playoffs and went goalless with just one assist, and saw his ice time dip to 12:44.

Cutting ties with Hiller, 32, isn’t surprising at all. The writing was on the wall late in the regular season when Bruce Boudreau played both Frederik Andersen and John Gibson down the stretch, and was further etched when Boudreau turned to Gibson, not Hiller, after Andersen was hurt in the second-round defeat to Los Angeles. The Swiss netminder, who has spent all six of his NHL seasons in Anaheim, sits third all time among Ducks goalies in games played (326), wins (162) and shutouts (21).

As for where Hiller might end up?

Winnik, 29, is an interesting case. He scored a career-high 30 points last season — while making a tidy $1.8 million — and at times proved to be a useful, big-body forward (6-foot-2, 215 pounds) in his two seasons with the Ducks. The former Coyote, Shark and Avalanche did fall out of favor in the postseason, though, sitting as a healthy scratch on a number of occasions while recording just one assist in nine games.

As mentioned above, Anaheim does have a ton of young forward talent waiting in the wings. Devante Smith-Pelly, Rickard Rakell and Emerson Etem were all knocking at the door last season, and the club still has the likes of William Karlsson (53rd overall, 2011) and Nicolas Kerdiles (36th overall, 2012) in the mix.

  1. lowenni - Jun 19, 2014 at 2:56 PM

    Ducks will be fine without Hiller and Winnik. Hope Koivu doesn’t retire, the guy deserves to win a Cup as much as anybody. Bit of a forgotten Finn playing under the shadow of Selanne in Anaheim and he didn’t get talked about a lot this postseason but the guy is still looking for his first Cup. Truly a class act and a fantastic story with what he went through with cancer. Wouldn’t mind seeing him on my Caps to provide some serious veteran leadership.

    • aldog83 - Jun 20, 2014 at 12:59 PM

      Maybe #2 center for HAWKS.

  2. stevebass2 - Jun 19, 2014 at 3:45 PM

    I would be ecstatic if Winnink came back to the Coyotes. He was a fan favorite when he was here, and we desperately need an upgrade for our PK unit. I imagine he’d be a perfect fit.

  3. skoivu10 - Jun 19, 2014 at 4:03 PM

    I’m a Ducks fan. Sad to see Hiller go, but it’s needed for the team to do well. There is no way he wants to play back up and paying him 5 million or so isn’t going to help us. Winnik is a huge shocker. The fans loved him and he played really well on our team. Koivu is my favorite player, so it’s sad to see him go. Would have loved to see him win a cup with Anaheim. Go Ducks!

    • areaman714 - Jun 19, 2014 at 5:05 PM

      Hiller deserves to play for a more knowledgable fan base. Yes, I am a Ducks fan. It amazed what many fans used to rationalize hating him.

  4. barkar942 - Jun 19, 2014 at 4:22 PM

    And with all of the free agent goalies this off season, Marty thinks he is gonna be a starter somewhere? I personally kind of doubt that unless Lou trades Schneider.

  5. streetpack - Jun 19, 2014 at 4:30 PM

    The habs have no practical use for Koivu yet the child in me would love to see him suit up for them again. Logistically it makes no sense however

  6. bcisleman - Jun 19, 2014 at 4:36 PM

    Winnik is the kind of big physical vet Isles could use on their third line. Brian Boyle is another thought.

  7. flyboystransport - Jun 19, 2014 at 4:54 PM

    Winnick and hiller wouldn’t look too bad in orange and black……

    • handsofsweed - Jun 20, 2014 at 9:34 AM

      Odd that you’d say that. Does Oregon State even have a hockey program?

      • 1981titan - Jun 20, 2014 at 12:39 PM

        Oh, I thought he was talking about Oklahoma State.

  8. jacketsfan7 - Jun 19, 2014 at 5:07 PM

    You have emery and mace so I don’t think hiller would fit in, however I would love to see winnik in a flyers jersey, they could use a guy like him on the 3rd line

    • flyboystransport - Jun 19, 2014 at 6:30 PM

      Emery isn’t signed

  9. jkaflagg - Jun 19, 2014 at 6:33 PM

    The puzzling demise of Hiller – who virtually carried a punchless Swiss team to contention in the Olympics – was probably the biggest factor in the Ducks disappointing playoff run. Remember the Hiller who shut out the Kings at Dodger Stadium ? It looked as though the Kings couldn’t get one past him even if the game had stretched into spring training….but unlike many of the Kings players who went to Sochi, he seemed to regress when he returned.

    Ducks will be fine with Gibson and Andersen moving forward, but it’s a shame that Hiller’s mostly admirable career in Anaheim ended so poorly.

  10. jacketsfan7 - Jun 19, 2014 at 7:47 PM

    He isnt? I thought he was. Well maybe if they don’t ink him again hiller could battle for the #1 goaltending spot vs mace

  11. soundsofsuccess7 - Jun 19, 2014 at 9:37 PM

    Winnik was one of the worst players on the team and a no-brainer to let go of.

    Hiller is a very good goal at times, practically useless at other times. Anderson and Gibson forced him out but I wish him nothing but future success.

    Sad to see Koivu go, but it was only a matter of time. Real class act but his only contribution to the team was ability to win faceoffs. Hope he can get a Stanley Cup before he retires.

    • 1981titan - Jun 20, 2014 at 12:42 PM

      Disagree with the Winnik comment. Playing within the bounds of being a big body in from t of the goalie & mucking in the corners I thought he was a useful third or fourth line forward. Agree with you other comments.

  12. vbcaps - Jun 20, 2014 at 9:27 AM

    I’d like the caps to look at hiller if they can pick him up cheap for a couple years. Holtby can be a holtbeast just hoping to see him play more consistently this year

  13. buddysguys - Jun 20, 2014 at 11:50 AM

    queue the Miller to ANA bullspit….

  14. moogro - Jun 21, 2014 at 5:29 PM

    Saku with Mikko would be nice if affordable.

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