Ducks fall 2007 junior prospects update

By Kevin Forbes

With eight prospects playing this season in the CHL, the Ducks have a very forward-heavy contingent in junior hockey, equally distributed between the OHL and the QMJHL. Five of the prospects are ranked amongst Anaheim’s top 20 prospects and the entire group ranges from a first-round pick to a fifth-round selection. The club currently has no prospects in the USHL.

QMJHL

Logan MacMillan, C, Halifax Mooseheads
Drafted: 1st round, 19th overall in 2007

After being the second QMJHL star picked in the 2007 NHL draft, Logan MacMillan has had a difficult 2007-08 season. Suffering a concussion during QMJHL pre-season action, his recovery left him unable to play or work out for a month to start the season, including not being able to take part in any on-ice drills for his first NHL training camp. The missed time led to a slow start for the two-way forward as he struggled with timing and conditioning upon his return. In a November interview with Halifax Coach Cam Russell, he admitted that MacMillan was also playing through a number of small injuries. Shortly thereafter, MacMillan participated in the ADT Canada/Russia Challenge and when he returned to the Mooseheads, he was soon out of the lineup with what the team calls "extreme exhaustion". Returning to his home in PEI to rest, MacMillan is still out of the lineup recuperating from the fatigue. In 20 games with the Mooseheads, MacMillan has 9 goals and 23 points, placing him seventh on the team in scoring.

Despite being drafted as a center, MacMillan has played primarily on the left wing with Halifax this year, alongside Columbus star prospect Jakub Voracek and 2007 eligible prospect Tomas Knotek. The Mooseheads, as expected, have been one of the top teams in the QMJHL with a record of 21-9-0-4.

Bryce Swan, RW, Halifax Mooseheads
Drafted:
2nd round, 38th overall in 2006

A teammate of MacMillan’s, Bryce Swan returned to the powerhouse Mooseheads as a 20-year-old over-ager. Counted on to provide physical play, leadership and secondary scoring for Halifax, Swan had a slow start to the year. Like MacMillan, Swan was injured in prior to the Ducks training camp and missed time during the QMJHL preseason. Sent home early from Anaheim, Coach Russell described Swan as "a little discouraged, a little disappointed" but noted that due to his prior injury, it was a tough start for him. Swan is fifth on the Mooseheads in scoring with 13 goals and 25 points in 33 games, but despite being on track to come close to equaling last year’s efforts, he hasn’t progressed as much as anticipated yet. A physical force on the ice, Swan needs to improve his skating and cut down on a propensity to take poorly timed penalties.

Brett Morrison, C, PEI Rocket

Drafted: 5th round, 151st overall in 2007

Drafted as a 19-year-old veteran, this Nova Scotia native is playing his final major junior season with the PEI Rocket. Although he has a slight frame, Morrison is an offensive weapon on the ice, coming off a season where he was among the league leaders in points. His scoring prowess is by no means diminished this season, with his 46 points in 30 games placing him eighth in the league in scoring. Unfortunately for Morrison, his PEI Rocket are not following in his footsteps as a league leader. The Rocket have underachieved to start the year, with a record of 14-15-1, placing them second last in the Eastern Division. The failure to live up to their ability has already cost the Rocket’s head coach his job, with Yanick John being replaced by Guy Chouinard. More changes could be coming, as the coaching change has appeared to not spur the team. A veteran player with proven scoring abilities, Morrison could even find himself on the trading block if the Rocket decides to build for next year.

Maxime Macenauer, C, Rouyn-Noranda Huskies
Drafted: 3rd round, 63rd overall in 2007

When Maxime Macenauer was drafted, the common question asked was "who?" A player who missed all but 14 games in his draft year due to injury, it was hard to see what prompted the Ducks to make the Laval native their third selection in the 2007 NHL Entry Draft. Macenauer has gone out of his way to prove the doubters wrong this season. Despite continuing to miss a bit of time due to further recuperation from his injuries last season, Macenauer has played in 32 games for the Huskies, scoring 10 goals and 30 points, tied for second on the team. His play on both ends of the ice is a big reason why Rouyn-Noranda is second in the TELUS (Western) Division with a record of 22-10-2-1.

OHL

Eric Tangradi, C, Belleville Bulls
Drafted: 2nd round, 42nd overall in 2007

After a 2006-07 regular season that saw him score just five goals in 65 games and a 2007 playoff run where he tallied another eight goals in just 15 games, the big question entering the 2007-08 season was which Eric Tangradi would appear for the long run. With 39 points and 15 goals in 30 games for Belleville so far this year, Tangradi is proving that his playoff success was no aberration. In just his second season in the OHL, Tangradi is just scratching the surface of his potential.

"He’s still finding out, and we’re trying to convince him every day, just how good he can be," explained Bulls coach George Burnett. "He’s seeing more and more evidence that when he is at the top of his game, he can be an elite player in this league."

Tangradi’s play has helped the Bulls become one of the top teams in the Eastern Conference with a record of 19-8-2-1. While such strong play is good to see, Coach Burnett is quick to note that "I don’t believe we’ve played consistently at a level of teams that are going to challenge deep into the playoffs and challenge for championships," noting that, "It’s part of the process of learning how to win and learning what it takes to take your game, each and every night to a high end."

John deGray, D, Brampton Battalion
Drafted: 3rd round, 83rd overall in 2006

A stay-at-home defender who has played his entire OHL career with Brampton, John deGray is entering his second season as the captain of the Battalion and continues to take care of things in his own end first. Though he has just two goals and nine points in 31 games, it is worth noting that this places him on track for a career high in points in his fourth year in the OHL. Often facing the opposition’s top line, deGray does not back down from any challenge as can be seen by his 86 penalty minutes, placing him amongst the most penalized players in the league. With the Battalion’s 18-10-1-2 record placing them atop of the Central Division, deGray’s influence is a big reason why Brampton has let in the second fewest goals against in the OHL’s Eastern Conference. deGray also participated in the ADT Canada/Russia Challenge, playing in both games for Team OHL.

Matt Beleskey, LW, Belleville Bulls
Drafted: 4th round, 112th overall in 2006

Steadily improving since being drafted by Anaheim in 2006, Matt Beleskey finds himself in what should be his last year in the OHL as captain of the Belleville Bulls. A line mate of fellow Anaheim prospect, Eric Tangradi, Beleskey has 22 goals and 43 points in 30 games, placing him second in team scoring. As Belleville Coach George Burnett explainsed, "He’s our captain and a guy that provides us with tremendous leadership both on the ice and off the ice. He plays with a great deal of emotion and energy and he’s also having a fine year numbers wise." Beleskey also played for Team OHL in the ADT Canada/Russia Challenge. As Burnett described, "Matt played exactly the way Matt needs to play. He ran into everything, gave some big hits, brought a lot of energy, and won a lot of loose puck battles." A threat under any circumstance, Beleskey is among the league leaders with 17 points on the power play and five points while shorthanded.

Jason Bailey, RW, Ottawa 67s
Drafted:
3rd round, 63rd overall in 2005

An over-ager with the Ottawa 67s, Jason Bailey‘s NHL rights have stayed with Anaheim due to his decision to leave the NCAA for junior hockey midway through last season. Although Bailey left the Michigan Wolverines due to his inability to crack a spot on a scoring line, he finds himself in a similar situation with Ottawa. In 13 games, he has three goals and six points along with 15 penalty minutes, placing him well down on the team’s scoring list. Bailey missed nearly two full months of hockey due to a bout with mononucleosis, keeping him out of 17 games during the months of October and November. His 67s have been middle of the pack team so far this season with their record of 14-13-1-2 placing them seventh in the Eastern Conference and third in the East Division. After this season concludes, Anaheim will continue to own his rights for another season, before they need to offer him a contract.