Still soaring from their Stanley Cup victory, Brian Burke and company sought to round out the Ducks’ organizational depth in the 2007 NHL Entry Draft. Their selections were concentrated in the middle of the draft as they owned four fourth-round selections in addition to their first, second, third and fifth-round picks. Despite having young forwards like Ryan Getzlaf, Corey Perry, Bobby Ryan, and Dustin Penner at the time, the Ducks went with four straight forwards to open the draft. They would select a fifth forward as well as two goaltenders and a defenseman.
Now five years on, the draft had little impact on the current group of Ducks. Second-round pick Eric Tangradi indirectly resulted in the acquisition of top defenseman Lubomir Visnovsky while third-rounder Maxime Macenauer saw some duty for the Ducks early in the season as well. Apart from them, there seems to be little if any foreseeable impact from the Ducks 2007 picks for any team, least of all the Ducks, who are left with just one of their eight selections in their system.
Never a monstrous scorer at the junior level, MacMillan was definitely taken on his potential as a physical, two-way player. Fast forward five years into the future, MacMillan has not only failed to establish himself as an NHL player, he has not yet cemented his status as an AHL regular. His only full AHL season was 2010-11, in which he recorded an underwhelming 11 points in 56 games. Even in the ECHL, the most he has accomplished has been courting a half point per game, all while making limited contributions in other areas.
The Ducks dumped him in a trade to Calgary for Jason Jaffray, who has since moved onto the Winnipeg Jets organization. MacMillan’s rights remain Calgary property, but he has spent much of this season toiling in the ECHL with the Utah Grizzlies. Even at that level, his performance has been average at best, scoring 10 points in 22 games and skating into the red with a minus-11 rating. While his hockey career is not over, his NHL future seems extremely tenuous.
Eric Tangradi, LW, Belleville Bulls (OHL) – 2nd Round, 42nd Overall
Status: Prospect (PIT)
NHL Games Played: 28
Tangradi was traded along with Chris Kunitz to Pittsburgh for defenseman Ryan Whitney, who was later dealt for Lubomir Visnovsky. In that sense, Tangradi had a hand in bringing a valuable player to the Ducks, as Visnovsky was one of the finest rearguards in the league last season, although that could be considered a reach since it was a once-removed deal and Kunitz was the larger piece in Anaheim’s end of the package.
For his own part, Tangradi has shown a steeper development curve than most other power forwards. The hulking Philadelphian has only recently ramped up the physical element to his game, going to the net more often and winning some tough puck battles. Prior to that, he was often guilty of trying to make his offensive play too fine, resisting efforts to simplify his game. While he has been a success at the AHL level, he has yet to establish himself as a full-time NHLer. Whether or not he realizes his potential, Tangradi is among the seven 2007 selections who are no longer with the Ducks organization.
Macenauer has made the deepest impact any 2007 selection, but that may be more of an indictment of the Ducks’ picks than a compliment to the speedy, competitive pivot. Macenauer is the sole survivor in the Anaheim organization from the 2007 draft. He has also risen within its ranks recently. After impressing in training camp this season, former Head Coach Randy Carlyle praised Macenauer’s speed, relentlessness and commitment to defense. He rewarded him with a roster spot, regular bottom-six duty and plenty of penalty-kill responsibility.
When Carlyle was fired and Bruce Boudreau took over as head coach, Boudreau continued to give Macenauer looks in those situations as well spot power-play duty. He was apparently less impressed with what we saw, as Macenauer has since been assigned to the Ducks’ AHL affiliate, the Syracuse Crunch. Macenauer’s effort was commendable, but the Ducks struggled in some part because they had many young players in what were typically veteran roles, failing frequently on the penalty kill, and also lacking the depth to protect leads.
Justin Vaive, LW, USNTDP-Under 18 Team (NAHL) – 4th Round, 92nd Overall
NHL Games Played: 0
Vaive had aspirations of following in his father’s footsteps to the NHL. That goal seems distant as he finished a mostly forgettable career at the University of Miami (Ohio) and now finds himself playing for the ECHL’s Cincinnati Cyclones. Aside from growing from 6’4 to 6’6, little can be said in the way of his progress from raw prospect in 2007 to refined pro player today.
While players his size often take time to develop coordination and put their tools together, Vaive’s development has been discouraging. No longer in the Ducks organization, Vaive will now have to climb an even steeper ladder, first improving his play at the ECHL level and then making a slow ascent to the top level. His NHL future is uncertain at best.
Kampfer finished a respectable four-year career at the University of Michigan. After an off-ice altercation cost him time as a freshman due to a concussion and broken orbital bone, Kampfer was a steady performer for the Wolverines. During his senior season, the Ducks dealt him to the Boston Bruins for a conditional fourth-round draft selection in an effort to recover their investment and get their contracts in order.
After 22 games with their AHL affiliate in Providence, Kampfer was called up to Boston as a result of an injury to Mark Stuart. Kampfer played capably enough to become a regular, facilitated by Stuart’s being traded later in the campaign. A knee injury ended Kampfer’s season just three games shy of the minimum required to have his name etched on the Stanley Cup following the Bruins’ victory. Resulting rehabilitation and nagging injuries have limited him to seven NHL contests and five AHL games this season. Despite some setbacks, Kampfer appears to be one of the stronger selections from the Ducks’ 2007 draft. Unfortunately, none of his contributions have come in an Anaheim uniform.
Sebastian Stefaniszin, G, Berlin Polar Bears (DEL) – 4th Round, 98th Overall
NHL Games Played: 0
Stefaniszin showed some promise with the Hamburg Freezers as a teenager but has not really established himself as a top-level German pro, let alone a bona fide NHL prospect. He played in Berlin, Iserlohn, Essen, Landshut, and Nuremberg at both levels of the German pro system. After years of kicking around the German pro ranks, he now finds himself playing in Austria, where he also maintains citizenship.
Having yet to firmly establish himself as a starter in any of his stops or make any sort of gesture toward a move to North America, it seems as though his selection was an out-and-out dead end for the Ducks. While the Ducks successfully mined starting-caliber goalies from Europe in Ilya Bryzgalov and Jonas Hiller, their other efforts have mostly been spectacular failures. Iiro Tarkki and Igor Bobkov are still in their system, however, and have each shown some degree of promise.
Mattias Modig, G, Lulea HF (SEL) – 4th Round, 121st Overall
Status: Bust (PIT)
NHL Games Played: 0
Modig continued his career with his Swedish club Lulea HF until the end of the 2009-10 season, when he was traded to the Pittsburgh Penguins. He signed a two-year, entry-level deal with the Pens. He saw limited duty last season with the ECHL’s Wheeling Nailers before he was shut down for the season with an injury. He has not played this season and his future with the Penguins organization is murky at best.
The Swede does not stand out in any particular area. He has average size and athletic ability, although he diagnoses rush effectively and has good poise between the pipes. His best campaign came in 2008-09 with Lulea, where he set career bests in virtually every major category. It remains to be seen how effectively he can handle the transition to North America. In any event, like most of their 2007 picks, the Ducks have already severed ties with him.
Brett Morrison, C, Prince Edward Island Rocket (QMJHL) – 5th Round, 151st Overall
NHL Games Played: 0
Morrison developed into an excellent offensive player in the QMJHL with the Prince Edward Island Rocket and, previously, the Gatineau Olympiques. Following his junior career, he spent the past three years with St. Francis Xavier University, where he was an able playmaker that averaged just over a point per game.
Despite his success at lower levels, Morrison does not currently appear to be playing any sort of meaningful hockey. The Ducks never offered him a contract and though he drew interest from some other clubs, including a preseason tryout with the Ottawa Senators, nothing concrete has come of his opportunities.