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Ducks address sizable concerns

The Sports Xchange
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The Ducks got bigger on the first day of free agency. But did they get better?

General manager Bob Murray believes so after making a splash, committing nearly $23 million to toughen up the defense corps and replace a popular enforcer with a younger version.

After coming to terms with defenseman Bryan Allen on a three-year contract for $10.5 million, the Ducks added another veteran in Sheldon Souray for three years and $11 million.

Souray and Allen will fill the holes created when the club traded Lubomir Visnovsky and allowed Sheldon Brookbank to walk after the free agent turned down a contract offer.

Murray tired of watching the Ducks get pushed around in the defensive end last season. The 6-foot-5 Allen and 6-foot-4 Souray instantly become the club's biggest defensemen.

Souray, 35, played last season in Dallas and had six goals, 15 assists and a plus-11 rating while averaging more than 20 minutes of ice time with the Stars.

"The decision there was the term," Murray said. "We wanted to get some more experience and size back there. We wanted to be a little bit harder to play against. If we were going to do that, we had to go that route.

"I know the questions on Sheldon from before. Quite honestly, I talked to a few veterans on our hockey team and they definitely said to me, go forward and get this guy if you can. So I did."

Allen, 31, is a stay-at-home shutdown type who was credited with 101 hits and 188 blocked shots with Carolina last season while also scoring a goal and 13 assists. He's played in 601 NHL games over 11 seasons with Vancouver, Florida and Carolina.

"He's a quality, character human being," Murray said. "He can kill penalties. Both he and Sheldon can eat minutes, Sheldon more on the power play and Bryan more killing penalties.

"We have some good veterans in the organization and some real good kids. It's a good mixture."

The Ducks knew George Parros was going to sign elsewhere, so they filled that hole by signing Brad Staubitz to a two-year deal worth $1.275 million. Staubitz spent time with both Minnesota and Montreal last season.

Copyright (C) 2012 The Sports Xchange. All Rights Reserved.

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