The Anaheim Ducks have signed another depth defenseman, inking Andrej Sustr to a one-year contract. Sustr joins Luke Schenn as options to help replace the outgoing Kevin Bieksa and Francois Beauchemin on the Ducks blue line. Eric Stephens of The Athletic reports that the one-way deal is worth $1.3MM.
Sustr, 27, was limited to just 44 games for the Tampa Bay Lightning last season and essentially pushed off of their depth chart thanks to the acquisitions of Ryan McDonagh, Mikhail Sergachev and Dan Girardi. The Lightning allowed Sustr to reach unrestricted free agency, but he’s entering another crowded situation in Anaheim. The Ducks are losing Bieksa and Beauchemin and have already passed Korbinian Holzer through waivers, but still have plenty of talent on the blue line. Cam Fowler, Josh Manson, Hampus Lindholm and Brandon Montour are the core of the group, but Jacob Larsson, Marcus Pettersson, Andy Welinski and now Schenn will all be competing for roles. Sustr will have to prove his worth quickly, though his cap hit does suggest that he’s in their full-time plans.
The towering 6’7″ defenseman is a useful piece when he’s playing his best, and shouldn’t be asked for more than about 15 minutes a game in Anaheim when everyone is healthy. The fact that he is right-handed only adds to his value, and should provide the Ducks with some excellent depth as they try to contend for a Stanley Cup once again.