Earlier today the Anaheim Ducks reacquired a former stalwart to their defensive squad in Francois Beauchemin. Once stolen away from the Columbus Blue Jackets in exchange for an over-the-hill Sergei Fedorov, the Ducks paid a slightly higher price in winger Joffrey Lupul, former first round pick Jake Gardiner and a conditional draft pick in 2013.
To make room for Beauchemin, the Ducks are expected to waive or trade either Paul Mara or Sheldon Brookbank, says Eric Stephens of The OC Register.
Beauchemin currently sat second on the Leafs in ice time, behind only his partner Dion Phaneuf. Last season, the team worked him even harder as he finished tenth in the League with an average of 25:27 per game. This year, Beauchemin averages more time on the ice than everyone not named Lubomir Visnovsky, which should take pressure off the expected Norris Trophy nominee.
In addition, the 30-year-old veteran should see time on the powerplay, taking time from Cam Fowler, Luca Sbisa and Toni Lydman– forcing the Ducks to make some important, depth-based decisions.
As for the Maple Leafs, they receive a relatively decent bounty for a free asset.
Joffrey Lupul played primarily on the third line in Anaheim but could have began turning the corner. Head coach Randy Carlyle, via Chris Johnston of the Canadian Press, said “I felt he was really starting to play to his top level. You have to spend something to get something.”
Lupul will start on the second line in Toronto and could force Tyler Bozak to a different line if he succeeds, pushing either Phil Kessel or Kris Versteeg to center. Bozak and minor-leaguer Darryl Boyce likely hurt the most from the acquisition of Lupul– who once scored 28 goals and topped 20 goals three times over his career.
In addition, the Leafs get a former first round pick in Jake Gardiner, who might become a decent puck moving defenseman. Playing with the University of Wisconsin, Gardiner seems to have a knack for putting the puck in the net, especially with the man advantage. Brian Burke originally selected the college standout which explain his insistence on re-acquiring this talented blue liner.
Gardiner as well as Keith Aulie could be an important part of the future in Toronto, especially with Luke Schenn, Carl Gunnarsson and Phaneuf already with the team.
Considering Lupul has one more year on his contract than Beauchemin, the Ducks could use the cap space to keep Corey Perry and Ryan Getzlaf. Not only do the Ducks gain some help for the stretch run, they also will also maintain flexibility which makes this an excellent move despite the bounty.
Getzlaf should return tonight, should he receive medical clearance (around 5PM EST today). The captain is slated to play on the top line with normal mates in Perry and Bobby Ryan, don’t forget to set your lineup accordingly.