The Orange County Register reported that Ducks winger, Joffrey Lupul, has experienced yet another setback in his recovery from December 2009 back surgery. The latest involves a recurrance of an infection that will require Lupul to have daily antibiotics for the next four weeks. In that time, Lupul will not be able to work out or do anything else to prepare for the upcoming hockey season.
The Register reports that Lupul is to be re-evaluated on September 20 – a few days after training camp is scheduled to begin for the Ducks. Considering that Lupul has not played since last December and has had minimal ice time due to a slow recovery from surgery, it is safe to say that he is unlikely to show up on the opening day roster.
Frustrating would be an understatement for both Lupul and fans, who were hoping that he would eventually make a contribution to the team. Lupul was part of the Chris Pronger trade and thus far, Philadelphia has been the winner in that deal.
Further frustrating things for Ducks fans is the fact that restricted free agent, Bobby Ryan, is yet to be signed to a new contract. Contract negotiations remain seemingly non-existent. Then again, the Ducks hold most of the cards in this situation.
Ryan has not received any offer sheets from other teams and he is the property of the Ducks. Ryan is not eligible for arbitration. Ryan can say yes or no to a contract offer, and that is about all the power that he yields at this point.
GM Bob Murray has desired to sign Ryan to a longer contract, but Ryan reportedly wants a shorter contract for an equivalent amount of money per year as the longer contract would offer. Neither side is budging, but Murray seems to hold all the cards. Have they heard of the word, “compromise?”
If Ryan wants to be on the ice for training camp with a contract in hand, he is going to have to compromise. So is Murray. Regardless, something has to give. With Lupul clearly out for longer than anyone ever suspected, the Ducks need their young, talented winger.
Which leads to Paul Kariya, another guy who has also worn #9 in a Ducks uniform and who happens to be good buddies with some Finnish old guy named Teemu Selanne. Will Kariya be signed by the Ducks? With potentially both Lupul and Ryan as unknowns, it might not be such a bad idea to bring Selanne’s other winger back to the fold.
Many have expressed thoughts that a Kariya signing hinges on a contract agreement with Ryan. Depending on how long that goes, the Ducks may not have the luxury of waiting for all their ducks to be in a row, so to speak. They may have to leap and make an offer to the aging Kariya and hope that the magic he and Selanne had at their peak is still there on the ice.
For now, Ducks fans continue to have many unknowns heading into a new season where most are predicting a so-so year. There is no resolution in sight for the answers to most of their questions.