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Anaheim Ducks to Part Ways with Koivu and Hiller

Saku Koivu a center and Jonas Hiller a goalie will no longer be wearing an Anaheim Ducks uniform.

Hiller, Koivu and Daniel Winnik a forward will not be offered new contracts by Anaheim for the upcoming season said Bob Murray the Ducks general manager.

The Ducks won the Pacific division this past season, but are cutting ties to several veterans following the franchise’s best regular season but an early playoff exit in the second round.

Added to the retirement of Teemu Selanne, the departures of Hiller and Koivu give the Ducks room to bring in younger talent that can assume more important roles in the 2014-15 season. Anaheim is also looking to trade for a top center in the league.

Murray said the club has young players who are ready to be inserted into the lineup and it was time to move forward.

Koivu is 39 and become one of the favorites of the fans during his five seasons with Anaheim. The Finnish Olympian on four occasions was the captain for the Montreal Canadians for many seasons.

Murray said Anaheim’s decision to let Koivu go was the toughest out of the three, as he had an excellent career.

Murray did not know what Koivu’s plans were next, but said he would not be surprised to see Koivu return to Finland to play or retire.

The decision by Anaheim to let Hiller go means they will enter next season with a new goalie starting between the pipes for the first time in 5 seasons.

Hiller was an All-Star, won a series in the playoffs and played very well through a number of seasons with horrible defense in front of him. For his seven-year career at Anaheim, Hiller was 162-110-32.

However, the Swiss goalie was pulled from being the starter late in the season and replaced by Frederik Andersen from Denmark.

Hiller did not play much in the postseason this year for the Ducks as he was pushed back to the third goalie behind Andersen and John Gibson the 20-year old who is widely believed to be hockey’s top prospect in goal.

Hiller, who is 32, was hoping to remain in Anaheim, but will now join fellow goalie Ryan Miller as the top two goalies available during free agency.

Hiller was victorious in 14 straight decisions in his last season with Anaheim and was a shutout winner in January at Dodger Stadium versus the Los Angeles Kings.

Winnik played the past two seasons with Anaheim scoring 30 points during 76 games this past season.

The Ducks were 54-20-8 during the regular season winning their second consecutive division title.

In the postseason, the Ducks won their first round series versus Dallas, but blew a lead of 3-2 losing games 6 and 7 to the Los Angeles Kings during the second round.

Anaheim wants a talented veteran center this offseason. The club is rumored to be interested in Ryan Kesler from Vancouver, Joe Thornton from San Jose and Jason Spezza from Ottawa.

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