The Ducks announced on Monday that Luca Sbisa has been reassigned to the Lethbridge Hurricanes of the Western Hockey League for the duration of the season.
The 19-year-old defenseman is not eligible to return to the Ducks this season because he is under 20 and cannot be sent to the minors and subsequently recalled.
Sbisa, acquired by the Ducks with Joffrey Lupul in an offseason trade that involved sending Chris Pronger to Philadelphia, had played every game this season for Anaheim before being scratched for last night's 6-4 loss to Columbus. He had no points in those eight games while averaging just over 12 minutes of ice time.
Ducks coach Randy Carlyle commented on the decision to reassign Sbisa following practice Sunday afternoon:
"A lot of it has to do with the way we’re playing right now. We think that he’s come in and played fairly well, but in the situation we’re in right now, we think it could be a detriment to have him in the pressure situation that we’re in. I know it’s a difficult decision for a player to take -- he’s going from the NHL to possibly having to play back in junior hockey -- but we want him to play in the league for 15 years, not for 5 years. If we can do anything to alleviate the pressure of this year, have him play in major junior hockey and continue his development, I think the next step will be a lot easier. He has some assets that are highly sought after, but he’s still only 19 years old.
We’ve discussed it for the better part of two weeks. We felt if we couldn’t continually keep him with 10 to 12 minutes of ice time a night, it wouldn’t be beneficial. And the way our team is playing, we felt he wouldn’t garner those minutes in the next while. We made a decision based upon what’s best for the player in the long term."