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2008-09 DUCKS

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Whether Teemu Selanne is coming back is a key question the Ducks must answer in their quest to regain the Stanley Cup.

September 19, 2008|Dan Arritt | Times Staff Writer

When the Ducks officially open training camp Saturday at Anaheim Ice, topics of conversation among the players should be considerably different than a year ago.

No comparing stories on their visit with the Stanley Cup over the summer, no bragging of their dominance over the Detroit Red Wings and no estimating when, or if, Scott Niedermayer will rejoin the team.

This year, conversation is more likely to be along these lines:

"Boy, was that a long summer."

"Those Red Wings sure know how to play together."

"Is Selanne going to be back?"

That last question is a key issue for the Ducks, who won the Cup in 2007 but were eliminated in the first round of the playoffs last spring. They need Teemu Selanne's scoring punch.

Last season, Selanne didn't re-sign until Jan. 28. This season, the 38-year-old forward is hoping to join the team for training camp. The Ducks, $3 million over the salary cap, can't afford him just yet.

In an effort to carve room under that salary cap, Anaheim first tried to trade 39-year-old defenseman Mathieu Schneider -- and his $5.75-million contract -- and then put him on waivers.

He cleared waivers Wednesday and General Manager Brian Burke is working on a solution.

Meanwhile, the Ducks announced Thursday that individual game tickets for the regular season will go on sale Saturday at 10 a.m. Tickets may be purchased online at AnaheimDucks.com, or by phone with Ticketmaster. Tickets may also be purchased in person at the Honda Center box office.

Here's a glance at what we do know as the Ducks head into camp:

Who's gone?

* Todd Bertuzzi. The Ducks didn't feel as if they were getting their money's worth out of the enigmatic forward last season and bought him out over summer. He soon was signed by the Calgary Flames.

* Doug Weight. The Ducks traded Andy McDonald for Weight midway through last season, mainly to free up salary cap space so they could bring back Niedermayer. Weight didn't carry his weight as a second-line center and opted to sign a one-year deal with the New York Islanders.

Who's new?

* Brendan Morrison. He left Vancouver to sign a one-year $2.75-million deal in July. The Ducks are hoping he'll fill the second-line center role once occupied by McDonald and deserted by Weight. Morrison, 33, missed most of last season because of shoulder and knee injuries, but before that had appeared in 542 consecutive games.

* Steve Montador. Hoping to add another peg to the blue line, the Ducks lured Montador from Florida with a one-year deal. He set career highs with goals (eight), assists (15) and points last season, and also has Cup finals experience with the Flames in 2004.

Who stayed?

* Corey Perry. The Ducks made Perry a priority in the off-season, signing him to a five-year extension worth $26.625 million, a considerable raise over the $495,000 he earned the previous season. Perry proved to be one of the league's best bargains, producing a career-high 29 goals and 25 assists last season, despite missing 12 games because of a severe gash to his leg. He returned for the last three playoff games against Dallas, scoring two goals and an assist.

* Niedermayer. After an extended summer followed by an abbreviated season, Niedermayer ended the suspense early, announcing in late June he would be with the team at the start of training camp. Either way, Niedermayer knew he would be around the guys. He and his wife had their fourth son earlier this summer.

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dan.arritt@latimes.com

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