Anaheim must recover from Kariya fiasco

Anaheim general manager Bryan Murray needs to find a way to fit Sergei Fedorov into the Mighty Ducks.

Updated: July 9, 2003, 11:06 AM ET
By By Jim Wilkie | NHL Insider
Anaheim knew defending its Western Conference championship wasn't going to be easy after its surprising run to the Stanley Cup finals this past season. Few thought the Mighty Ducks would make the challenge more difficult on themselves by allowing franchise player Paul Kariya to flee as a free agent.

Now that Kariya has joined pal Teemu Selanne in Colorado by signing one-year contracts totaling $7 million, Mighty Ducks general manager Bryan Murray is left trying to recover from his decision to make Kariya an unrestricted free agent and needs to make things right with Anaheim fans.

Without new blood, the Ducks will be back fighting for one of the final playoff spots instead of making a jump to perennial contenders. Anaheim still has marvelous goalie Jean-Sebastien Giguere, who will be getting a big raise as a restricted free agent, but somebody has to score some goals. Kariya's departure leaves Petr Sykora -- also a restricted free agent -- as the team's best skater, although he will badly miss the smooth passes of Adam Oates, who was also set free.