ANAHEIM, California — When Bob Murray realized Tuesday that he probably couldn't re-sign defenseman Francois Beauchemin, the Anaheim Ducks' general manager moved swiftly to land a veteran replacement.
The Ducks acquired defenseman Kevin Bieksa from the Vancouver Canucks for a second-round pick in the 2016 draft, continuing their roster restocking while avoiding the hefty price tags of free agency.
Bieksa has spent his entire 10-year NHL career in Vancouver, compiling 56 goals and 185 assists in 597 games while developing a reputation as a tough-nosed, physical defenseman. After struggling with injuries last season, he has one year left on his contract with a $4.6 million cap hit.
Bieksa knew he was likely on the move this summer, and he was linked to San Jose last week before Anaheim swooped in. He waived his no-trade clause to accept the deal, which reunites him with longtime Canucks teammate Ryan Kesler.
"It's obviously been a difficult process the last few weeks, with my family going through this, trying to decide where we're going to be heading," Bieksa said in a phone interview. "Obviously, San Jose was one of my choices, but Anaheim was always at the top of my list and one of my main choices. Anaheim was the best fit for us. Who wouldn't want to play for that team? They were very close to winning the Stanley Cup, and they have the right team for that."
Beauchemin is an unrestricted free agent after spending 8 1/2 of the last 10 seasons with Anaheim, but Murray was unwilling to meet his contract demands. Beauchemin scored 23 points and teamed up with Hampus Lindholm in the top defensive pairing last season for Anaheim, which missed the Stanley Cup Final by one game.
Murray said Beauchemin wants a three-year deal worth roughly $5 million per season, and the Ducks were only willing to offer a two-year deal.
"I got told they were going to the market early this morning," Murray said. "We had discussed a few things. Wasn't going to work. He told me what he was going to get in free agency, and I didn't go anywhere near that. We had kind of prepared for that circumstance and moved quickly on Kevin."
While the meager free-agent market should work in favor of the few valuable players hitting the street Wednesday, the Ducks are resigned to losing Beauchemin and forward Matt Beleskey because of their high value after playing key roles for Anaheim, the three-time defending Pacific Division champion.
Bieksa and Kesler were teammates in Vancouver for nine seasons — and one season before that with the AHL's Manitoba Moose back in 2004. Kesler was traded to Anaheim last summer, scoring 47 points last season as the Ducks' second-line center and a defensive standout.
"Looking forward to playing with Kes again," Bieksa said. "It's funny, when he left last year, I still felt like we had a couple of years left. Felt like we'd cross paths again at some point. I've been talking to him throughout the process. He's given me nothing but great reviews about the team, the players, the city, the fans, and we've been talking throughout the whole season. He's very happy. His family is very happy there."
Anaheim also confirmed the hiring of former Ottawa Senators coach Paul MacLean as an assistant to Bruce Boudreau.
MacLean beat out Boudreau to win the Jack Adams Award as the NHL's top coach in 2013, but was fired by Ottawa in December 2014. He replaces Brad Lauer, who was fired June 10 largely because of the Ducks' ineffective power play.