Tha Sports Junkies 101

Ducks sign Rakell to Six-Year Contract

Tha Sports Junkies 101-Sports News, Rakell Bridget Samuels/via

Forward’s new deal reported to have annual average value of $3.8 million


ANAHEIM, CA-After a summer of back-and-forth and rumors of not being close to signing a contract, the Anaheim Ducks were finally able to re-sign one of their two key restricted free agents.

The Ducks signed center Rickard Rakell to six-year contract on Friday, with an average annual value reportedly of $3.8 million.

Rakell had a breakout season last year, where he set career highs in games played (72), goals (20), assists (23), and points (43). In 165 career games, the 23-year-old has tallied 29 goals and 78 points.

His emergence last season gave Anaheim even more depth down the middle, letting Ryan Kesler center one of the more effective third lines in the league. Rakell centered the second line, behind Ryan Getzlaf, and spent a lot of the season with Corey Perry on his right wing.

The Swedish native had been selected to represent Team Sweden at the 2016 World Cup of Hockey after forward Alexander Steen had to withdraw with an injury. However, Rakell had to withdraw himself after having abdominal surgery to remove scar tissue related to an appendectomy.

There has been no word yet if Rakell will join his teammates for their game Saturday night against the defending Stanley Cup champion Pittsburgh Penguins. One thing that is for sure, though, is that his re-signing helps balance the Ducks’ center position.

In their season opener last night, Kesler centered the second line and free-agent signing Antoine Vermette centered the third line. When Rakell returns to the lineup, those two guys should slide down to their more familiar, or ideal, positions.

While there was no official announcement on Rakell’s availability for tomorrow night, Anaheim did make a roster move, sending forward Joseph Cramarossa down to their AHL affiliate in San Diego.

Now that this signing has been done, general manager Bob Murray can shift his total focus to re-signing the Ducks’ other key free agent, defenseman Hampus Lindholm.