The Ducks have signed forward Rickard Rakell to a six-year contract extension through the 2021-22 NHL season. Per club policy, financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Rakell, 23 (5/5/93), has collected 29-49=78 points in 165 career NHL games with the Ducks. The 6'2, 201 pound center led the team in game-winning goals (7) and overtime goals (2) while setting career highs in goals (20), assists (23), points (20-23=43) and games played (71) last season. Rakell also ranked tied for third amongst Ducks players in goals (20) and fourth amongst Ducks players in scoring (43).
Selected by Anaheim in the first round (30th overall) of the 2011 NHL Entry Draft, Rakell has added 3-2=5 points in 27 career Stanley Cup Playoff games.
A native of Sundbyberg, Sweden, Rakell represented Sweden at three consecutive World Junior Championships from 2011-13, winning gold in 2012 and silver in 2013. In 17 career World Junior Championship games, Rakell scored 2-12=14 points with 22 penalty minutes (PIM). He ranked fourth among 2013 tournament leaders in assists (0-6=6), while also leading Sweden in assists and co-leading in scoring. Rakell helped Sweden to gold in 2012 with 2-3=5 points in six games after serving as the youngest player on the Swedish roster at the 2011 tournament. Rakell was also selected to represent Sweden at the 2016 World Cup of Hockey but was unable to participate due to injury.
Ducks Executive Vice President and General Manager Bob Murray discussed the contract extension shortly after. Below are his quotes.
Rakell's agent said he felt there were two winners with this contract. Do you share that opinion?
Definitely. It's something we both agreed was common ground for the two of us. The injury held this up a little bit. Everybody can understand we wanted to be totally comfortable that Ricky was going to be okay going forward.
I talked to Ricky a lot in the last 2 ½ to 3 weeks. He's over 200 pounds now. We tried to get a look at him first, but that wasn't going to work with immigration and everything. Let's get it done and get him on the move.
Where do you feel you're at right now in terms of the cap situation in order to get Hampus in?
There are lots of different thigs that can happen with Hampus' deal. We're trying hard to get that accomplished. Both sides are talking. It could be a situation where we don't have to do something. It could be a situation where we do. It's not as if it's right around the corner. There are different things that can happen here.
Have you talked much with Lindholm's camp recently?
We talked today, but I won't say any more than that.
What is your understanding of when Rakell might be available?
That's a tough thing. That's why we wanted to get a look at him. He's skating. He feels fine. He said he was really feeling good at the World Cup and was up to 208 or 209 pounds, but got down under 200. Now he's back over 200. I talked to the doctor, our doctors talked to the Swedish doctor who did the operation. We're pretty comfortable. Where he is in terms of playing … until he gets here, I don't know. He says anywhere between 7-10 days to two weeks. We're not going to put him in harm's way, either.
We tried to get through that things last year in the playoffs - and I give him credit for that - but it didn't really work. He wasn't strong enough. For Ricky to play the way Ricky can play, we're going to make sure he's strong enough going forward.
Will his Visa situation play a factor in his timetable?
He has to file for a P1. Then he has to get it approved and request a meeting at the consulate over there. First part is getting the P1 and the second part is getting to the consulate to get it approved. We're going to try to expedite that. We've expedited some before and sometimes it's successful and sometimes it's not.
You've typically said you don't like long-term deals. What was it about this deal that you liked?
Some of the bridge deals you don't like because it puts you into unrestricted free agency too quickly. We bought a couple of years of unrestricted free agency. It's a good deal for the both of us.
Are you relieved the Rakell contract is done?
I'm glad he's okay. With the injury and not getting any information on what it was, with two operations in a short period of time, I was more concerned on how Ricky was. He's a valuable part of our group and he's a good hockey player. I'm feeling very confident about the discussions with the doctor and my talks with Ricky. We're very comfortable we're going to move forward quickly with getting him back on the ice.