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Rickard Rakell signs six-year contract with Ducks

Restricted free agent set personal NHL bests with 20 goals, 43 points last season

by Abbey Mastracco / NHL.com Correspondent

Restricted free agent forward Rickard Rakell signed a six-year contract with the Anaheim Ducks on Friday. Financial terms were not disclosed, but TSN reported the average annual value is $3.8 million.

Rakell had abdominal surgery last month to remove scar tissue related to an appendectomy he had in April. The procedure forced his removal from Team Sweden at the World Cup of Hockey 2016.

"[The contract is] something we both agreed was common ground for the two of us," Ducks general manager Bob Murray said. "The injury held this up a little bit. Everybody can understand we wanted to be totally comfortable that Ricky was going to be OK going forward."

The Ducks opened their season Thursday without Rakell and restricted free agent defenseman Hampus Lindholm. Anaheim lost 4-2 at the Dallas Stars.

Rakell, 23, has been in Sweden rehabbing from the surgery, and a stomach virus also held up negotiations, Murray said. Murray said he wanted to know that Rakell wasn't suffering from something more serious and to see him for himself, but he was unable to.

Video: Discussing Rickard Rakell's new deal with the Ducks

"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," Murray said. "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."

Murray said he spoke almost daily to Rakell, who is back up to 200 pounds and skating.

"I talked to the doctor, our doctors talked to the Swedish doctor who did the operation," Murray said. "We're pretty comfortable."

Rakell scored an NHL career-best 20 goals and assisted on 23 last season, centering the second or third line and finding the most success with Corey Perry. Rakell had two points in the Stanley Cup Playoffs and said he never felt 100 percent after the appendectomy.

"We tried to get through that thing last year in the playoffs -- and I give him credit for that -- but it didn't really work," Murray said. "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."

The Ducks will not rush Rakell's return to competition and expect him to join the team in next two weeks, pending a visa approval.

Murray said he remains in talks with Lindholm's representation. Lindholm and Rakell are friends, play together on the Sweden national team, and live together in Orange County, California during the season.

"There are lots of different things that can happen with Hampus' deal," Murray said. "It's not as if it's right around the corner. There are different things that can happen here."

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