Beauchemin out for season because of torn ACL

November 16, 2008|Chris Foster | Foster is a Times staff writer.

The Ducks, struggling to gain some traction, had that task become more difficult with the loss of defenseman Francois Beauchemin, who suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament against Nashville on Friday.

Beauchemin, one of the Ducks' top four defensemen, will undergo surgery and be out for six months, ending his season and leaving the team with a significant hole to fill. General Manager Bob Murray called up defenseman Brett Festerling and center Bobby Ryan from minor league Des Moines.

"We'll see what happens," Murray said. "When someone gets injured, someone else gets a chance. It's not the way you want things to happen, but Festerling and Bobby Ryan are getting a well-deserved opportunity."

The Ducks were able to recall both as Beauchemin was put on the long-term injury list, giving the Ducks salary cap relief. The Ducks had been about $800,000 under the NHL's $56.7-million cap before the injury.

It is highly unlikely that Festerling will be able to absorb the 25 minutes per game that Beauchemin has played. The Ducks will probably expect more minutes from Bret Hedican and Kent Huskins.

Murray had been looking to massage the roster, hoping to add a second-line scorer. Ryan could get a chance to fill that spot, but Murray may also have to look elsewhere to shore up a team that has been erratic.

The Ducks lost five of their first six games, then went 8-0-1. The 4-3 overtime loss to Nashville on Friday was their third consecutive loss.

"This definitely changes a few things, but every team has to go through this," Murray said.

"It's a terrible blow for Francois. That's what I'm concerned about at the moment."

The 28-year-old Beauchemin, who is making $1.65 million this season, is one of six Ducks players who will become unrestricted free agents at the end of the season.

Beauchemin has been an effective defenseman, with good offensive skills, since he was acquired from the Columbus Blue Jackets in 2005.

But the injury may alter Murray's plans regarding contract talks.

"We'll let Francois get through surgery, then we talk about it," Murray said. "He has a rough four weeks ahead him. We'll let him get through all of that."


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