Jan 8, 2012; Anaheim, CA, USA; Columbus Blue Jackets left wing Vaclav Prospal (not pictured) scores a goal on Anaheim Ducks goalie Iiro Tarkki during the third period at the Honda Center. The Anaheim Ducks won 7-4. Mandatory Credit: Kelvin Kuo-US PRESSWIRE

Who the Ducks Should and Shouldn't Keep: Defenseman & Goalies

Most of the Anaheim Ducks potential free agents are forwards. There are only a few defenseman and goalies they will have to pick and choose on who to keep. Then, basically all of them are non-NHL players right now. So, let’s get started.

Apr 03, 2012; Vancouver, BC, CANADA; Anaheim Ducks defenseman Sheldon Brookbank (21) during the third period against the Vancouver Canucks at Rogers Arena. Mandatory Credit: Anne-Marie Sorvin-US PRESSWIRE

D – Sheldon Brookbank: Unrestricted Free Agent

Brookbank is coming off probably his best NHL season. The Ducks were among the bottom ten teams in the entire league in goal differential. On the Ducks roster, they only had seven players to appear in more than 20 games with the team finish in the positives in plus/minus. Brookbank had the highest plus/minus rating on the Ducks this past season at +11. He appeared in a career high 80 games. He also set career highs in goals (3), assists (11), points (14) and plus/minus (+11). If it were possible, I would resign Brookbank, but try to get rid of Toni Lydman. I’ve never been a fan of him and I’ve made that known on twitter. However, I really don’t think anyone would want Lydman, so, I guess that’s not possible. The Ducks should resign Brookbank and GM Bob Murray has said that the Ducks are talking with Brookbank’s agent and that they have already sent an offer.

G – Dan Ellis: Unrestricted Free Agent

Yeah, this guy is gone. It’s almost a foregone conclusion. Right now, the Ducks have three guys that could be their back up goaltender. That’s too many. The odd man out will be Dan Ellis. He’s getting pretty old now and he’s just been riddled with injuries lately. The play of Jeff Deslauriers when given the chance and the signing of Swedish goalie Viktor Fasth have all but concluded Dan Ellis’ time in Anaheim.

December 29, 2011; Anaheim, CA, USA; Anaheim Ducks goalie Dan Ellis (38) defends the goal against the Vancouver Canucks during the third period at Honda Center. Vancouver defeats Anaheim 5-2. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-US PRESSWIRE

Non-Roster Players:

The Ducks have four non-roster defenseman that are potential free agents this off season. Both Mathieu Carle and Kyle Cumiskey are restricted free agents and Matt Smaby and Sean Zimmerman are unrestricted free agents. Then they have two goalies that potential free agents, Iiro Tarkki (RFA) and Marco Cousineau (UFA).

D – Mathieu Carle: Restricted Free Agent

Carle was once one of the best defenseman in the QMJHL, but he has been down in the AHL since 2007-2008 and has put up some decent numbers for an AHL defenseman. He is an offensive-minded defenseman, much like many of the other young Duckling defenseman. He has been known to make some defensive lapses because he’s focusing too much on the offensive side of the game. I’d like to see him get a chance at the NHL level because we won’t be sure of how good he can be until he sees some action. However, Carle agreed to a Kontinental Hockey League (KHL) contract with Dinamo Riga.

D – Kyle Cumiskey: Restricted Free Agent

Going back to his days in Colorado, I have always been a fan of the young defenseman. Another offensive-minded defenseman of course. Just like Carle, good puck-moving defenseman with good vision. He has seen some action in the NHL, enough to at least for him to no longer be considered a prospect. His time, along with Carle, may be running out on having a long successful NHL career. I want to see Cumiskey get more of a chance in the NHL, but it will be tough with a lot more experienced defenseman already with the team. However, Boudreau likes to play the younger guys much more than Carlyle did, so, who knows.

D – Matt Smaby: Unrestricted Free Agent

Now here is one of the rare defensive-minded defenseman in the Ducks system. He’s a big guy listed at 6’6″, 239 lbs. Which is also a little rare among Ducks defenseman. So, he definitely has the size to be an NHL defenseman. He missed a lot of time this season with torn ligaments in his right thumb. However, when he did suit up for the Syracuse Crunch this year, he had a pretty good plus/minus, +12 in only 30 games. He has seen plenty of NHL action with the Tampa Bay Lightning before coming to Anaheim. I think he’d be resigned and maybe given a chance to be an extra defenseman with the Ducks or a starter in the AHL.

D – Sean Zimmerman: Unrestricted Free Agent

Career AHL defenseman. That’s what he is and it’s really up in the air where he will be. He’s been an AHL journeyman in his career. I wouldn’t be surprised to see him leave, but I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s resigned to maintain the blue line for the AHL franchise. Stay-at-home defenseman with a good work ethic but just not really on any NHL team’s radar.

G – Iiro Tarkki: Restricted Free Agent

Tarkki is coming off of his first season in North America and it wasn’t too bad. He had a few appearances with the Ducks last season but he wasn’t expected to even get that, but due to injuries he was forced into the lineup. He was the main starter for the Syracuse Crunch and had a pretty good season. He went 29-17-4 with a 2.45 GAA and .925%. In the playoffs for the Crunch, he definitely had a much harder time. He went 1-3 with a 3.68 GAA and .881%. Overall, I think he kind of exceeded expectations last season. However, none of this matters because Tarkki has already signed a deal with Salavat Yulaev of the Kontinental Hockey League (KHL).

G – Marco Cousineau: Unrestricted Free Agent

Not much expected from him. Spent most of this past season with the Elmira Jackels in the ECHL. He does not have much of a shot at the NHL. Really about 99.9% chance he will never suit up in the NHL. But hey, gotta fill out the roster. He can go or can stay, who cares not to be too rude about it Marco.

Follow me on twitter @ddb_sean!

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Tags: Anaheim Ducks Dan Ellis Elmira Jackels Iiro Tarkki Kyle Cumiskey Marco Counsineau Mathieu Carle Matt Smaby Sean Zimmerman Sheldon Brookbank Syracuse Crunch

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