Mighty Ducks consider 2002 draftees

By Kevin Forbes

In less then two weeks, on June 1, NHL teams face a deadline for signing
CHL
players drafted in the 2002 NHL Entry Draft. Last season, the Mighty
Ducks
left it to the final two weeks before the deadline to sign prospects
such as
Pierre-Alexandre Parenteau, Igor Pohanka and Joel
Stepp
. This season, they find themselves in a similar situation
with
five prospects needing contract offers to retain their rights. Here’s a look at the one forward and
four
defensemen who could either re-enter the draft this year or become
unrestricted free agents if not signed.

Tim Brent, 37th Overall (2nd round) in 2002
The 20-year-old center had a career season this year. A captain in
Toronto for St. Micheal’s Majors, Brent was also an alternate captain
for
Canada’s silver medal winning team at the World Juniors. An OHL
All-Star and
the captain of Team OHL in the RE/MAX Challenge, he has the potential
to be
a second liner in the NHL. Although he is only average in size, Brent
plays
a strong two-way game and is team captain material.
Prediction: Anaheim would be foolish not to do whatever it takes
to
sign him.

Brian Lee, 71st Overall (3rd round) in 2002
Lee is still just 19, turning 20 in June. He found an
offensive
side to his game this year. With 40 points, he completely demolished
his
previous career high of 19. Mainly a defensive defenseman, Lee plays
the
body often and skates well. He has good size and was an alternate
captain
for the Erie Otters.
Prediction: For a team lacking in NHL quality blueliner
prospects,
Lee is a player who could make the grade and play in Anaheim sometime
down
the road.

Luke Fritshaw, 173rd Overall (6th round) in 2002
Fritshaw will be an unrestricted free agent if he isn’t signed by the
deadline, because of his age. A physical, stay at home defender, the
Prince
Albert Raider reached a career high in points this season. He has great
size, but overall, he may lack the skills to make an impact in the
NHL.
Prediction: Fritshaw would be another addition to a collection
of depth defensemen in Cincinnati. It is doubtful that he will be
signed.

Francois Caron, 261st overall (9th round) in 2002
At the draft, Caron was expected to be a one of the top players
selected
from the QMJHL. Instead, he fell to Anaheim in the ninth round. He was
traded
early in his QMJHL career for fellow Ducks prospect Pierre-Alexandre
Parenteau, and in a way, his fate may be similar.
Parenteau
was also a ninth round selection, now looking to be a late round gem,
after a
strong rookie season in the AHL. Caron is a puck-moving defenseman who
skates extremely well and is great handling the puck.
Prediction: Anaheim lacks blueliners who can move the puck.
Caron
could be signed and developed slowly.

Chris Petrow, 267th overall (9th round) in 2002
As has been mentioned before, Petrow’s rights aren’t even confirmed to
belong to Anaheim, right now. Oshawa news has reported that he is an
unrestricted free agent, but according to most major media outlets, his
rights are still in Anaheim’s possession. Petrow has had significant
trouble
with injuries that have limited his ability to play. When he is
healthy, he
plays a tough, two-way game.
Prediction: Doubtful he will be signed; his injuries prevented
him
from making much of an impression.

Other News

Center Tony Martensson has signed a two-year deal with Linkoping
of
the Swedish Elite League. The 23-year-old has led the Cincinnati Mighty
Ducks in the past two seasons in scoring with a total of 103 points in
146
AHL games. An RFA this offseason, he made his NHL debut with Anaheim
this
season, playing in six games and registering a goal and an assist.
Reports
indicate that Martensson may yet stay in North America, depending on
how
negotiations with Anaheim go for a new contract. He is expected to
inform
Linkoping of his decision on July 15th, the deadline for qualifying
restricted free agents.

The Mighty Ducks have signed another undrafted college free agent.
Dustin
Penner
was signed to a three-year deal after a season with Maine.
The
21-year-old Manitoba native is a gritty player with some offensive
skills
and should see time next year in Cincinnati. Penner is the second
college
free agent to be signed this offseason by the Ducks, after Curtis
Glencross
was signed in April.

Corey Perry opened some eyes with a three-game tryout in the AHL
playoffs after his London Knights were eliminated from the OHL playoffs. The
18-year-old right winger saw time in three games and recorded a goal and an
assist. Perry played on the top line for Cincinnati and also played on
their
top powerplay unit.

Discuss the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim on Hockey’s
Future’s
Message Boards.