Ducks News & Rumors: Mahura, Bieksa & More

The 2022-23 NHL season is now underway, with the Anaheim Ducks getting their season going on Oct. 12 in their home opener. A win to start off their season was exactly what they needed as they now embark on a five-game road trip.

Mahura Claimed Off Waivers

Josh Mahura’s career in Anaheim came to an end on Monday when he was claimed off waivers by the Florida Panthers. Mahura was drafted in 2016 by the Ducks and spent four seasons with them after a successful junior career with the Red Deer Rebels and Regina Pats in the Western Hockey League (WHL).

However, it never quite clicked for Mahura while with the Ducks, as he was continually shuttled back and forth between the NHL and the American Hockey League (AHL). He made the team out of training camp last year as part of the third defensive pair but was eventually usurped by Simon Benoit.

Josh Mahura Anaheim Ducks
Josh Mahura, fomrmerly of the Anaheim Ducks (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)

This season, Mahura was outperformed by not only Benoit but Nathan Beaulieu, who entered training camp on a professional tryout (PTO). Beaulieu’s performances during preseason led to him signing a one-year contract, though part of that was also due to an injury suffered by fellow defenseman Urho Vaakanainen. Mahura will hope to find his footing on a Panthers team that finished last season as the Presidents’ Trophy winner and has Stanley Cup Final aspirations once again this season.

Ducks Claim Leason Off Waivers

The Ducks also made a waiver claim of their own on Monday, plucking forward Brett Leason from the Washington Capitals. A 2019 Draft pick, Leason appeared in 36 games last season for the Capitals during his first NHL season and the 23-year-old will likely fill a fourth-line role whenever he’s actively in the lineup.

Opening Night Roster Finalized

The Ducks had to finalize their opening night roster on Monday and when the ink had settled, there weren’t too many surprises. Preseason sensation Pavol Regenda had his spot confirmed while Rocco Grimaldi, who was in camp on a PTO did not receive an NHL contract, to the surprise of some. Grimaldi strung together a few notable performances in preseason and it was reported by Lisa Dillman that an AHL PTO was on the table for him.

Gulls Sign Profaca to One-Year Deal

The San Diego Gulls, the Ducks’ AHL affiliate, signed defenseman Luka Profaca to a one-year deal on Oct. 12. Profaca participated in both the Ducks’ development and rookie camps as a free agent invite and he was also with the Ducks during training camp. This deal officially puts him in the Gulls organization and it was clear that they had a plan for him, especially after he played in the Gulls’ one and only preseason game.

Strome, Vatrano Record First Goals as Ducks

The Ducks kicked off their 2022-23 season in style, overcoming a two-goal deficit and defeating the Seattle Kraken in overtime on Wednesday night thanks to goals from Troy Terry (x2), Ryan Strome, Trevor Zegras and Frank Vatrano.

Strome and Vatrano tallied their first goals as Ducks after both signed with the team this past offseason. Strome manned the middle between Mason McTavish and Terry while Vatrano flanked Zegras’ right side.

Fellow offseason signing John Klingberg also notched his first points as a Duck with two assists. Klingberg joined the Ducks after eight seasons with the Dallas Stars.

Bieksa Announces Retirement

Former Duck Kevin Bieksa will sign a one-day contract with the Vancouver Canucks and retire on Nov. 3, when the Ducks are in town. Bieksa spent three seasons with the Ducks after being acquired from the Canucks during the summer of 2015. 

He has not played in the NHL since the conclusion of the 2017-18 season when his contract with Anaheim expired. Since then, he has been providing analysis on Hockey Night in Canada on Sportsnet and became a regular member of their panel in 2020.

Related: Ducks Seek Stability With New 4th Line of Jones, Grant & Regenda

The Ducks begin their five-game road trip today in New York, facing off against the New York Islanders. Their next home game is Wednesday, Oct. 26 against the Tampa Bay Lightning and old friend Corey Perry.

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