Ducks 2007 draft review

By Kevin Forbes

Fresh off their Stanley Cup victory, the Anaheim Ducks were looking to replenish their organizational pipeline at the 2007 NHL Entry Draft. While originally lacking a first-round pick, thanks to the Chris Pronger trade with Edmonton, Anaheim acquired Tampa Bay’s selection at the trade deadline. Speculation pointed to the Ducks trading that pick at the deadline, but it wasn’t until the draft that a deal materialized, with the Ducks trading the 16th overall selection to Minnesota for their first-round pick (19th overall) and a second rounder (42nd overall).

In total, the Ducks drafted eight players and strayed only slightly from their historical draft tendencies. Three of the players were drafted from the QMJHL, a bit of a change for the team, who have favored OHL and WHL prospects in recent years. Meanwhile, although two Europeans were drafted this season, they were both goaltenders, addressing a specific organizational weakness.

Logan MacMillan, C, Halifax Mooseheads (QMJHL)
1st Round, 19th overall

The son of 11-year NHL veteran, Bob MacMillan and the nephew of seven-year NHL veteran, Bill, Logan MacMillan certainly has the proper bloodlines to start his journey to the NHL, but that isn’t to say he’s not his own player. MacMillan made a name for himself in 2006-07 playing alongside Jakub Voracek, who was drafted seventh overall by Columbus. The duo, who were the first two QMJHL prospects drafted this year, showed excellent chemistry all season long and despite their young age, they were counted on to carry a large portion of the Mooseheads offensive responsibility. A self-described all-around player, MacMillan was just as adept at feeding a breakout pass to Voracek as he was burying a one-timer from his Czech linemate. In 68 games with the Herd, he tallied 20 goals and ended the year with 55 points, placing him fifth on team scoring. He also saw a regular shift on the power play, ending up tied for fourth on the team with nine power-play markers. MacMillan found an extra gear when playoffs rolled around, leading the team with nine goals and finishing second to Voracek with 20 points in 12 games.

But there’s more to MacMillan’s game than just his offensive exploits. As strong as he is in the attacking zone, he also has a solid defensive commitment which is rare for a player his age. He played regularly on the Mooseheads penalty kill, which for most of the season was one of the best in the league on home ice. He also wasn’t one to shy away from the rough play, although as his 6’1, 172-pound frame continues to grow, he should become more effective when he plays the body. In addition to adding size and strength, MacMillan will also need to continue to improve his skating over the next few years. Already a polished prospect, MacMillan was a safe, solid selection that should pay off well for the Ducks in years to come.

Eric Tangradi, C, Belleville Bulls (OHL)
2nd Round, 42nd overall

A teammate of Ducks prospect Matt Beleskey on the Belleville Bulls, Eric Tangradi‘s regular season statistics don’t appear to be worthy of a second-round selection. With just five goals and 20 points in 65 games for the Bulls, some might have wondered what the Ducks saw in the Philadelphia native. That can quickly be answered by looking at his playoff contributions. Taking advantage of some key openings in the lineup, Tangradi capitalized on the opportunity, scoring eight goals and finishing with 17 points in 15 games, including the series-clinching goal to eliminate the Ottawa 67s in the first round of the playoffs.

A rough-and-tumble player, Tangradi plays hard against the boards and doesn’t hesitate to use his 6’3, 207 lbs frame to the best of his ability. As was shown from his playoff performance, Tangradi has some previously unused offensive ability that he’ll be counted on to make use of next season with Belleville. As is often the case with larger players, especially younger prospects, his skating and mobility will need to continue to improve, but the Ducks system has a history of helping prospects overcome that weakness.

Maxime Macenauer, C, Rouyn-Noranda Huskies (QMJHL)
3rd Round, 63rd overall

When the Ducks selected Maxime Macenauer in the third round, the pick was so obscure that initially, the league did not have his name on hand to place on the large draft board. Although Macenauer might not be the most recognizable name picked on the second day of the draft, he is a very intriguing prospect to say the least. It might be easy to compare him with Ducks prospect Bryce Swan as both players are from the QMJHL and both missed significant time with injuries during their draft year. However, such a comparison would be far from the truth. Whereas Swan is a physical sniper, Macenauer lacks the size to play the power game and instead brings a two-way game to the ice.

Missing all but 14 games last season, Macenauer tallied a goal and four points with the Huskies, where he was a teammate of Ducks prospect Jean-Philippe Levasseur. He has the drive and ability to be a solid prospect and this upcoming season will be his first chance to show it. If he can stay healthy, he could end up surprising many of those who may have been confused by the selection initially.

Justin Vaive, LW, US National U-18 Team
4th Round, 92nd overall

Pulling another name from the NHL history books, the Ducks drafted big winger Justin Vaive with their first (of four) fourth-round picks. Like MacMillan, Vaive comes from a family that already has seen the bright lights of the NHL, with his father Rick playing in the league for 13 years. Playing for the Under-18 team as part of the United States National Team Development Program, Vaive scored three goals and had six points in seven games at the 2007 World U18 Championships in Finland. Team USA finished second in the tournament.

Already 6’4 and 210 pounds, Vaive is slated to join the Miami University RedHawks in the fall. While still filling out his frame and learning to use his physical tools, Vaive has the work ethic to put it all together. He may never be the sniper that his father was, but has plenty of potential to go along with his impressive size.

Steven Kampfer, D, University of Michigan (NCAA)
4th Round, 93rd overall

Already finishing his first year at the University of Michigan, Steven Kampfer could be called a "safe" pick. A teammate of the Ducks’ top selection in 2006, Mark Mitera, Kampfer plays a similar solid game, although lacking some of the upside of his fellow Wolverine. Fighting through two separate injuries during the year, Kampfer played in 35 games and ended the year with a goal and four points.

A strong-skating defender, Kampfer is at his best when he’s not drawing attention to himself, instead just reliably shutting down the opposition and moving the puck well in transition. While only average size for a defenseman at 5’11 and 200 pounds, he certainly doesn’t shy away from the rough play, as his two seasons in the USHL, both with just under 100 penalty minutes, can attest to. He’ll continue to develop in Michigan in the fall and will benefit from more ice time and opportunity.

Sebastian Stefaniszin, G, Berlin Polar Bears (DEL)
4th Round, 98th overall

Although he has seen only limited time in the German leagues to date, Sebastian Stefaniszin really shone during the 2007 World Juniors for Team Germany. He kept his team competitive throughout the tournament, going 2-3 with a .909 save percentage and a 2.81 goals against average; however in the end, Germany was relegated. Of particular note was Stefaniszin’s play against Team USA in the tournament’s opening match, where he stopped 38 shots in a 2-1 overtime victory.

Meanwhile, Stefaniszin has seen very little time in the DEL, playing in just two games in the 2006-07 season for the Berlin Polar Bears, with a goals-against average of 4.60 and a save percentage of .769. He spent the majority of the 2006-07 year with the Polar Bears junior team, seeing action in 36 games and producing a GAA of 3.88. Turning 20 years old later this month, Stefaniszin will be looking to build on his play at the World Juniors and see increased time in the DEL. He could be coming to North America in as little as a year’s time.

Mattias Modig, G, Lulea HF (SEL)
4th Round, 121st overall

Another player with hockey bloodlines, Mattias Modig‘s father and uncle both had long careers in their native Sweden. A goaltender, like his father, Modig enjoyed an outstanding rookie season with Lulea HF in the Swedish Elite League. Splitting time with veteran Tero Leinonen, Modig played in 32 games and was one of the top goaltenders in the league with a GAA of 2.53 and a save percentage of .915.

Solid in his position, Modig will need to continue to develop, but has spent considerable time in with Lulea’s junior team. He has also seen time playing for Team Sweden at various levels of international competition. Drafted as a 20-year-old, Modig participated in the Ducks prospect conditioning camp earlier this month.

Brett Morrison, C, Prince Edward Island Rocket (QMJHL)
5th Round, 151st overall

With their final pick in the 2007 NHL Entry Draft, Anaheim selected 19-year-old center Brett Morrison. After playing the first two years of his QMJHL career with the Gatineau Olympiques, Morrison was dealt to the PEI Rocket in the middle of the 2006-07 season. In total, he played in 64 games, scoring 35 goals and finishing with 90 points. He followed that performance with a seven-game appearance in the playoffs, scoring eight goals and finishing with 16 points, as PEI was eliminated by the Acadie-Bathurst Titan in the first round.

Although plenty talented, the main thing that has held Morrison back to date has been his lack of size. Listed at 5’10 and 178 pounds, the Sydney, Nova Scotia native may not have sufficient skill to overcome this knock against him and play on a scoring line in the NHL. A wizard in the faceoff circle, Morrison will need to improve his skating as he continues to develop. He was invited to Edmonton’s training camp last fall and he could be signed and playing in the Ducks minor pro system this fall, although it is just as likely that he will return as an over-ager to the QMJHL.

Copyright 2007 Hockey’s Future.  Do not reprint or otherwise duplicate without permission of the editorial staff.