The Anaheim Ducks were forced to start their 2016-17 season without forward Rickard Rakell in the lineup, as the center had failed to come to terms on a contract extension by opening night.
Just one game into the season, though, things finally got settled between the player and the club.
TSN’s Bob McKenzie confirmed on Friday morning that Rakell, who finished his 2015-16 campaign with 20 goals and 43 points through 72 regular season games, has inked a six-year extension to remain in Anaheim. His annual average salary, per McKenzie, is $3.8 million per year.
Drafted by Anaheim with the final pick of the first round at the 2011 NHL Entry Draft, the 23-year-old Rakell has been playing in North America since his draft season – when he joined the OHL’s then-Plymouth Whalers.
After putting up 37 points in 46 regular season AHL games for the Norfolk Admirals during the 2013-14 campaign, Rakell skated in just two AHL games the following year before getting moved full time to Anaheim’s roster. He put up nine goals and 31 points in 71 regular season games that year, then hit the 20-goal mark the following season with no minor league appearances.
Having the Swedish-born forward under contract should help out the Ducks, but the Pacific Division club still has work to do in order to complete their roster. Defenseman Hampus Lindholm still remains unsigned heading into the year – and with cap restrictions, the Ducks may have their hands tied there.