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April 24, 2012 | 10:43am ET
Ducks taking second look at second line
TheFourthPeriod.com

With Anaheim finishing the season 15 points out of a playoff spot, Ducks GM Bob Murray is expected to make some changes to return as a contender next season, the Orange County Register reports.

The Ducks could have possibly made the playoffs if they had a better start to the season or if their top players had performed near their usual standards.

However, Murray is likely to make the necessary changes as he is aware some key elements need to be added moving forward.

"We just need our younger players to mature faster," he told the paper. "And we need a couple of more pieces."

The focus will turn to finding a key piece in a second-line center. Though the team is hoping to re-sign veteran center Saku Koivu, Murray has acknowledged the need for more production on the second line to compete with some of the Western Conference's top teams.

With the Ducks' only other options being Nick Bonino, who's never played there full-time, and Rod Pelley, a defensive-minded free agent who may not be brought back, Murray is in dire need of an upgrade now.

This off-season, the Ducks could investigate the possibility of offering a top-six role to Pittsburgh Penguins' Jordan Staal, a strong two-way center who has proved himself to be more than a third-line player.

Meanwhile, Calgary Flames center Olli Jokinen, who is set to become an unrestricted free agent on July 1, could find an interesting fit on the Ducks' roster among fellow Finnish countrymen Teemu Selanne, Koivu and Toni Lydman. The 33-year-old could be an affordable short-term signing until the Ducks' young players gain that maturity Murray is seeking.

Buffalo Sabres center Derek Roy, who was on the trade block for most of the season, could also be a good option, as he is capable of posting 25 goals and up to 60 points on the second line, which would be a huge improvement for the Ducks. However, his $5.5 million price tag could be too expensive for Murray.

The GM could also have a look at pending restricted free agents Sam Gagner of the Edmonton Oilers and the Colorado Avalanche's Matt Duchene, though their young age could have Murray hesitate.

There is also a possibility to look into pending unrestricted free agent Jarrett Stoll of the Los Angeles Kings, or negotiate potential deals with other teams who might be seeking a trade, either to acquire Tomas Plekanec of the Montreal Canadiens, Derick Brassard of the Columbus Blue Jackets or Paul Stastny of the Avalanche.

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