The Mighty Ducks have been trying to earn a playoff berth with a defense that isn't quite major league, and General Manager Jack Ferreira moved to shore it up Friday by acquiring veteran defenseman J.J. Daigneault from the Pittsburgh Penguins for winger Garry Valk.
The Ducks have played with only two veteran defensemen and as many as three rookies after recent injuries to Dave Karpa and Ken Baumgartner--and their defense corps was shallow to begin with.
In Daigneault, 31, they get a proven player in his 12th NHL season, one best known in Southern California for the role he played in helping the Montreal Canadiens win the Stanley Cup against the Kings in 1993.
Daigneault is more offensive than defensive, and the Ducks hope he'll solve some of their problems getting the puck out of their own end. They also hope he'll help a power play that has been a disappointment for most of the team's four-year existence.
"We needed a little more experience," Ferreira said. "He can make the first outlet pass, and hopefully he's someone for our power play."
Daigneault, who will be a free agent after the season, has appeared in 53 games for the Penguins and has 17 points and a plus-minus rating of minus-five.
In Valk, who had eight goals, the Ducks give up one of their grinders, a player who had been with the team from its opening game in 1993. Only Guy Hebert, Joe Sacco and Bobby Dollas remain.
"That's the one thing I really wanted to do here was to make the playoffs," Valk said. "Now I guess I'm guaranteed to get there. I really wanted to be part of it, especially because it would be a first for this team. I felt it was really attainable this year."