The Ducks have confirmed they have signed defenseman Paul Mara to a one-year contract. Per club policy, no financial terms of the deal were disclosed.
Mara, 31 (9/7/79), appeared in 42 games for the Montreal Canadiens last season, collecting 0-8=8 points with 48 penalty minutes (PIM). He suffered a shoulder injury on Jan. 22 at New Jersey and subsequently missed the final 30 games of the regular season. In 2008-09 with the New York Rangers, Mara recorded 5-16=21 points in 76 contests, ranking fourth among club defensemen in points. He appeared in his 600th career NHL contest on Dec. 23, 2008 vs. the Washington Capitals.
A native of Ridgewood, NJ, Mara has earned 63-184=247 points with 688 PIM in 681 career contests with Tampa Bay, Phoenix, Boston, the NY Rangers and Montreal. In addition, Mara has appeared in 32 Stanley Cup Playoff contests, collecting 3-4=7 points. The 6-4, 212-pound blueliner set career highs in both goals and points with 15-32=47 in 78 regular season contests with Phoenix in 2005-06. Mara led Coyotes defensemen in goals, power play goals (8) and shots on goal (157) that season. His 15 goals on the season marked the most by a Winnipeg/Phoenix defenseman since the 1992-93 season (Olausson, 16). Mara set career highs for appearances (81) and assists (36) during the 2003-04 campaign with Phoenix.
Originally selected by the Tampa Bay Lightning seventh overall in the first round of the 1997 NHL Entry Draft, Mara made his NHL debut with the Lightning on Apr. 17, 1999 at Florida, scoring a goal and an assist (1-1=2) in the contest. He was selected to appear in the inaugural Young Stars Game during the 2002 NHL All-Star weekend, collecting three assists in the match. Mara has appeared for Team USA on four occasions, including at the 2004 World Championships and on three World Junior Championship squads (1997, 1998 and 1999). He won a silver medal at the 1997 World Junior Championship and a bronze at the 2004 World Championships in Prague, Czech Republic. Mara was named to the Ontario Hockey League (OHL) All-Rookie Team and was an OHL All-Star during the 1996-97 season. In three OHL seasons, Mara earned 38-108=146 points.Mara spoke to media via conference call Thursday afternoon: On coming to Anaheim
It’s great to aboard. It’s a great team here, with a great GM and great coaches. I’m looking forward to it. My agent and Bob Murray have been talking pretty much all summer. It just came about this past week that they wanted me to fly out here for a physical to check on the health of my shoulder, which I hurt last year. Everything passed with flying colors. Thank god we got a deal done this morning and everything worked out.
I haven’t sat down with the coach or GM yet. I’ll hopefully do that in the next couple of days. I just want to come in and bring a veteran defenseman presence to this team, get to the playoffs and eventually win a Stanley Cup. On his shoulder
We got the shoulder checked out Tuesday afternoon by the Ducks doctors. Everything was 100 percent ready to go.
The diagnosis was a torn labrum. I hurt it at the end of January. We tried to rehab it. Things just didn’t work out. I had surgery in March. I did the rehab throughout Montreal’s playoffs. We were trying to push it that if we made it farther than the Eastern Conference Finals, then I would try to play. But that didn’t work out. I went back home in the summer and everything has progressed extremely well. Everything is ready to go now, nice and strong. I don’t even think about it now on the ice.
It was from a hit. Sometimes during the game, you’re playing and you hurt things. You don’t realize exactly what happened until after the fact when it’s so painful. I can’t remember the exact hit that caused it.
My surgery was in March, I started skating at the end of the Pittsburgh-Montreal series. It was pretty soon after the surgery that I started skating. It was a good thing I wasn’t off the ice too long.On Ducks he has played with before
I played with Aaron Voros, who is a new guy here as well, in New York. I played with Kyle Chipchura in Montreal last year. A lot of the older guys I have played against for so long, Andy Sutton, Saku, Teemu and Todd Marchant. You learn about those guys and meet guys along the way.On offers from other teams
My agent and I talked to a few different teams throughout the summer. It was coming down to crunch time here. We thought about all the possibilities and opportunities. We looked at the Ducks as the best place for me as a person and as a hockey player. It gives us a chance to win. I think it’s the right decision after being out here for a few days and meeting all the guys. It seems like a great fit and a great place to be.