The Mighty Ducks and defenseman Oleg Tverdovsky are believed close to an agreement on a new multimillion dollar contract. The deal could be completed this week, according to a league source.
Tverdovsky, 24, earned $1.7-million last season. Money apparently isn't as much of a factor as the length of the contract. It's believed the Ducks would prefer a longer deal, and Tverdovsky and his agent, Don Meehan, would like a shorter one.
"The only progress report I will make is after it's done," said Pierre Gauthier, team president and general manager. "I won't make any public comments."
Gauthier added that it's "important to explore all scenarios. . . . We understand we have to be fiscally responsible, but not cheap. We'll pay fair market value."
Don't look for Tverdovsky to receive the five-season, $25.5-million contract the Carolina Hurricanes gave defenseman Sandis Ozolinsh. Ozolinsh, 28, was the NHL's eighth-highest scoring defenseman with 52 points last season with Colorado. Tverdovsky was ninth with 51 points, including 15 goals, best of his career.
"There are a lot of factors, including experience and winning a Stanley Cup," Gauthier said. "[But] every contract has an impact on other players in the league."
Gauthier also is working on a new deal for Matt Cullen, who faces a difficult challenge to keep his job as the Ducks' second-line center after free agent German Titov was signed this summer to a three-year, $4.5-million contract.
"We're confident we can get these guys signed by the start of camp," Gauthier said. Training camp begins Sept. 9 at the team's Anaheim training facility.