The Anaheim Ducks have made an intriguing free agency splash by signing defenseman Kodie Curran, the reigning MVP of the Swedish Hockey League. Curran has inked a two-year, one-way contract with the Ducks that carries a $1MM AAV, reports numerous sources including the OC Register.
To say that Curran has had an unconventional path to the NHL would be an understatement. The 30-year-old was never drafted after playing his developmental years with AJHL and USports. He played two seasons in the minors in North America before embarking on a career in Europe in 2016. Over the past four years, he has played in Demark, Norway, and Sweden, dominating in all three countries. He won a championship in each of his single seasons in the top Danish and Norse leagues and was an All-Star and top defenseman each year as well. The highlight of his career came this past season in the SHL, when he recorded 49 points in 48 games for Rogle BK to lead all defensemen in assists and points, to lead all imports in points, and to take home the honors of Defenseman of the Year and MVP.
His greatest challenge will now come in the NHL though and he will face an uphill battle to make the Anaheim roster before he even has a chance at regular action at the top level. The Ducks have six defensemen on one-way contracts already signed for next season, including four making $4MM or more against the cap. This does not include RFA defender Jacob Larsson, who will also be back with the team. They also have young blue liners like Brendan Guhle and Josh Mahura who will push for opportunity. Curran will need to be at his best to make the Opening Night roster and to stick in Anaheim. However, he has shown an impeccable ability to rise to the occasion in recent years and it will be exciting to see if he does so again in his newest venture.