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    Ducks claim Ross Johnston on waivers from Islanders in latest roster move
    • October 10, 2023

    The Ducks have claimed winger Ross Johnston on waivers from the New York Islanders, giving them their second waiver claim of the preseason and representing what was assuredly their final personnel move ahead of Oct. 14’s season opener, when Johnston will be on the roster.

    Johnston, 29, fits with general manager Pat Verbeek’s emphasis on adding toughness to the organization. In 134 NHL contests, he has accumulated 283 penalty minutes and scored 24 points along the way. The 6-foot-5-inch, 235-pound Johnston is under contract for three seasons with a cap hit of $1.1 million.

    He posted career highs in games played (32) and points (7) two years ago, but saw his role diminish on the Island last season. The Ducks had given a long look to another veteran with sandpaper to his game and fighting majors to his name, winger Zack Kassian, but they released him from his professional tryout last week.

    That wasn’t the only intrigue in training camp, where Lukas Dostal beat out veteran free-agent signing Alex Stalock for the backup goalie job behind John Gibson. On defense, eight rearguards will open this campaign with the parent club. Veteran Cam Fowler leads a group that also includes rugged additions Radko Gudas and Ilya Lyubushkin, while the prodigious Jamie Drysdale headlines a younger bunch with Pavel Mintyukov, Jackson LaCombe, Tristan Luneau and Urho Vakkanainen.

    The Ducks’ first waiver claim, defenseman Lassi Thomson, was waived again and claimed anew by his former club, the Ottawa Senators, after an ephemeral stint that included a game in which two of his turnovers led directly to goals.

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    The forward corps has decidedly fewer new faces, with Johnston being the only outright newcomer other than rookie Leo Carlsson (lower-body, day-to-day) and free-agent signing Alex Killorn (finger, one month), both of whom are presently injured. So, too, are Chase De Leo (knee, two months) and Isac Lundeström (Achilles tendon, season).  Along with Carlsson, Trevor Zegras and Mason MacTavish comprise the nucleus in waiting behind seasoned scorers like Adam Henrique, Jakob Silfverberg, Ryan Strome, Frank Vatrano, Brock McGinn and Sam Carrick. Max Jones, Brett Leason and relative newcomer Benoit-Olivier Groulx, a French national who played two games for the Ducks last season, round out the roster.

    ​ Orange County Register