The Anaheim Ducks signed defenseman Andreas Lilja to a contract worth $600,000 that could pay him $150,000 in bonuses, reports MLive.com's Ansar Khan.
It's kind of a weird turn of events for both the Ducks and Lilja. Lilja reportedly rejected a contract offer from the Red Wings, the Red Wings then signed Ruslan Salei to fill the vacancy left by Lilja. In the season opening game against the Ducks, Anaheim defenseman Andy Sutton fractured his thumb in a fight with Salei, and Lilja was signed to be the replacement. Salei took Lilja's job but Salei also inadvertently helped to open up a position for Lilja.
Unfortunately, Lilja's time in Detroit was overshadowed by the post-concussion issues following a fight with Shea Weber that kept him out of the line-up for a year. Lilja will also probably have the turnover in Game 5 of the Western Conference Final of 2007 that lead to the game winning goal in overtime by Teemu Selanne. Lilja had his fair share of good moments in Detroit and was one of the few guys that the Wings had that would drop the gloves to stand up for teammates...well, up until the concussion.
As far as Lilja's future role with the Ducks, he'll definitely get playing time until Sutton's injury heals but who knows how it will pan out after that. The Anaheim defense is pretty thin with reliable talent and Lilja might be able to start over there and maybe a change of styles of play will help him out. Considering that the Ducks play a physical game, he'll probably be asked to throw his 6'3", 228 lb body around.
A lot of speculation has risen surrounding Lilja's agent, Todd Diamond, and how he essentially talked the defenseman out of two separate contracts. Lilja reportedly rejected a $1,000,000 contract with the Red Wings (at the advice of Diamond) and then was released from a tryout contract with the San Jose Sharks. Now, Lilja is sitting at $400,000 less than the original deal offered and Diamond is wiping the sweat from his brow that he didn't completely screw his client over. It's kind of odd that Diamond would advise Lilja like this and it sucks for Lilja that he followed this guy but it's good to see that he landed on his feet.