Maxim Balmochnykh – Left Wing; Grade: B (Cincy)
Balmochnykh was off to a good start in the AHL only to see it come to a crashing halt when he was suspended for a slash to Louisville Panther Curtis Doell. The suspension lasted eight games and killed Balmo’s momentum. Once, he came back, he was rusty and just as he started to get going again, he goes down with both hand and shoulder injuries. When he has been on the lineup, he usually plays well but the suspension put everything on hold and now the injury will continue to slow his development. He has five points in ten games with 31 penalty minutes, mainly stemming from the Doell slash.
Ladislav Kohn – Center & Right Wing; Grade: A (Anaheim)
Kohn has turned into a steal for the Ducks, adding much needed energy to a team that too often lacks it. He isnt scoring as much as they had hoped but he is doing the little things. He has played tenaciously and has shown he doesnt mind battling in the corners. He also filled in admirably on the Ducks’ top line, filling in for Teemu Selanne after an injury. The injury bug has now hit Kohn and he missed a couple weeks of action but he has proven his worth early in the season and should have no problem sticking for the whole season.
Gregg Naumenko – Goalie; Grade: A+ (Cincy)
Naumenko was an unknown when the Ducks offered the college goalie a pro contract last year but it is now paying dividends. Naumenko is having a tremendous season and has filled the skates of the departed Tom Askey very well. A potential AHL all star this season, he has made a name of himself as one of the premier goalies in the AHL already. One part of his game that needs improvement would be the controlling of rebounds. Besides that, its been a four star start and he shows no signs of slowing down.
Jay Legault – Left Wing; Grade: B (Cincy)
Its been a slow start for the former London Knight but he is finally adjusting in his first professional season. Legault netted his first hat trick last week and has become a regular on the score sheet since then. It is obvious that Legault still needs quite a bit of tweaking as he has been slow to play physical. As the year goes on, Legault should improve and develop into the power forward he has been projected as.
Mike Crowley – Defense; Grade: A- (Long Beach)
Crowley has defied management and is off to a solid start in Long Beach of the IHL. The defenseman who has decided to control his development is among the top scorers in the IHL but it is his defensive play that needed the most help. Until Crowley improves at that, it may be hard for him to make it back it to Anaheim especially after his contract squabble with management. The hope is that Crowley will pay more attention to defense among the veterans of the IHL.
Dan Trebil – Defense; Grade: A (Cincy/Anaheim)
Trebil may win the comeback player of the year award among players in the Duck system. The much maligned defenseman has shown the offensive flair he had back in his Golden Gopher days. Quarterbacking the CIncy power play, he has eighteen points in twenty one games and is one of the top scorers among AHL defenseman. Paired with Jesse Wallin, they have been Cincy’s most consistent defense pairing and Trebil has even played wing during a stretch of injuries early in the year. He still needs to work on that slow skating but he earned a promotion to Anaheim earlier and will likely go to Rochester as an AHL all star if he keeps playing well.
Peter LeBoutillier – Right Wing; Grade: B- (Cincy)
The tough winger had a strong training camp but its been a rough season since then for LeBoutillier. A knee injury has limited Pete to only nine games this season. In those nine games, he has one assist and 40 penalty minutes. Named an alternate captain for this year, LeBoutillier is out indefinitely.
Bob Wren – Center & Right Wing; Grade: A- (Cincy)
Wren has had another strong start in Cincinnati only to see it go south. A slash from Kentucky’s Shawn Heins left Wren with bruised nerves and has put out of the lineup for over a week. Even with the injuries, he is still Cincy’s leading scorer and set a record for a consecutive point streak as a Duck earlier this season. In 16 games, he has 20 points and may earn a promotion to Anaheim later this year if he stays healthy.
Torrey DiRoberto – Center; Grade: B+ (Cincy/Huntington)
DiRoberto was coming off a good training camp and is continuing that trend with Cincinnati. Since joining the lineup, he has played well and filled in nicely for players like Wren and LeBoutillier after they went down with injuries.
Johan Davidsson – Center; Grade: B (Cincy)
The Swedish center has a terrible training camp, losing his job to Mike Leclerc. Davidsson was also off to a slow start in Cincy, struggling to find his niche, but he has since picked up the pace and is playing more consistent. He has used playmaking skills well and seems to be adapting to his surroundings and may be back in Anaheim before long. Dont believe the rumors of his going back to Europe just yet. The Ducks still like him and have faith that he will rebound to be an NHLer. Marc Chouinard – Center; Grade: B+ (Cincy)
The gritty center is having a good year as he has avoided major injuries for once and is playing a strong grinding style. A pleasant surprise is Chouinard’s seven points, including a shorthanded tally. Chouinard is mainly a role player so any points that he puts up is always welcome to the Cincinnati.
Tony Tuzzolino – Right Wing; Grade: C+ (Cincy/Huntington)
Tuzzolino has spent most of the year in the ECHL and has been among the top scorers there. Recently, he called up to the AHL, he has been largely unimpressive in his three game stint and likely will be sent back to the ECHL once Darryl Laplante comes back and some of the CIncy players come back from injuries.
Mighty Duck prospect Jordan Leopold has been named to the U.S. National Team. He is expected to anchor the defensive corps and help lead the U.S. back to a title. —- The Ducks promoted Jeremy Stevenson to the NHL after Antti Aalto went down with an elbow injury. Stevenson has played in three games with Anaheim this season. — Frank Banham has scored 12 points in his last 16 games in Cincinnati and is finally connecting on his sniper like shots. — Bob Wren was the AHL player of the week November 21st after recording five points in three games. Gregg Naumenko has been nominated as an AHL player of the week twice this season. — Vitaly Vishnevski has missed the last two Cincy games with a hand injury. It is only minor and he should be back in the lineup shortly to continue his development. — In Mike Leclerc’s second game back from injuries, he scored his fifth goal of the year with Anaheim.