Player Name/position: Toni Lydman, D
Overall Grade: A-
A solid defender throughout the season. Gotta love that backhander to clear the zone.
Contract Status: UFA, $3M salary and cap hit in 2013
2013 Stats: 0 goals, 6 assists, 6 points (All on the road. Weird.), minus-1 rating, 12 PIM, 19:23 TOI in 35 games.
Playoff Stats: 0 points, +1 rating, 0 PIM, 15:08 TOI in 3 games (TOI is skewed because he left Game 3 early due to an injury).
Offense: I guess six assists pretty much meets his offensive expectations. You know what, no, no it doesn't. He should have scored one goal. If he would have scored a single goal, he would have met expectations. I'm saying this out of respect for the guy, because I'm sure he would have wanted to score a goal this season. Don't you think he wished he did? And wasn't this the guy who scored goals in each of his first two games with the Ducks back in 2010?
Defense: Next to Francois Beauchemin, Lydman was easily the Ducks' best defenseman when the other team had the puck. He was stronger and smarter than most of the players he was up against, partly because Beauchemin and Souray drew the toughest assignments, and he spent much of the season paired with Luca Sbisa. Anyone who plays with Sbisa and still has a minus-1 has my respect.
Highlight of the Season: Lydman's game doesn't really make for highlights. Really, his job is to prevent them from happening. Unfortunately, he will be most remembered this year as the guy on the receiving end of Justin Abdelkader's dirty hit in the playoffs. I guess his real highlight should be his assist that most resembles a goal. Remember this one?
Expectations for Next Year: Right now, Toni Lydman is a 35 year-old concussed defenseman. By the time the puck drops in October, he will be a 36 year-old formerly and maybe still concussed defenseman. It isn't clear what the Ducks' blue line will look like next year, and if Lydman is healthy the Ducks may resign him because he is still a very serviceable second or third pairing blue liner. However, if Bob Murray resigns Ben Lovejoy and finds another defenseman, then Lydman may have already played his last game in an Anaheim uniform.
If Lydman is resigned, he should play a very similar role to that which he played this past season: bottom four defenseman, penalty killer, and mentor for the younger D-men on the team.