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12-12-2007, 08:50 PM
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Kevin Forbes
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HF Article: Ducks fall 2007 junior prospects update

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.

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I'm just posting this as there's a lot of stuff I couldn't fit in the article that I wanted to pass along.

First off, George Burnett, the GM and coach of the Belleville Bulls was absolutely spectacular to talk to and gave me so much information I could have done a feature on Beleskey and Tangradi if I wanted to.
Here's some of the stuff that he said that I didn't have room to fit in:
Quote:
On Beleskey:
A guy that plays in all big situations, the power play, kills penalties, blocks shots, often times sees the other team's best line. Plays with a grit and determination that few have.
...
He's in the fourth year with our organization and I think we learned a little bit about how to win the last couple of years. Our experience of going three rounds in the playoffs last year before our tough loss in the conference final I think motivated all the guys that have been through the three or four years together. He's come back strong, wanted to be our captain, was a natural choice to be our leader and is what our team is in all aspects. Plays a strong two way game, gives his team energy when we need it, go out and have a big hit or a fight. He's certainly an inspirational leader for our team.
...
Matt's at his best when he's running over top of people and making his presence felt on the forecheck and doing the job along the walls, the dirty areas of the ice. Those things are going to give him an opportunity at the next level if he continues to play that style of hockey.
...
I think Matt is someone who works hard on his strength and fitness and is realising, by playing a lot more now, how important it is and what a difference it can make to be strong at the end of a long week or a three games in three days weekend. In order to be effective in that third day. Taking care of your fitness and your workouts, he's a much more committed athlete now then when he first came into the league and that's a natural progression. I think people knock his skating a little bit. Watching the game last night, it was a very high tempo game and he certainly didn't look like he was behind at all. In fact, with the big hits that he had, he anticipated things well and made things happen. He's a guy that needs to initiate and no question that he's going to play the pro game and he's going have to be a physical and hard gritty player.
...

On Tangradi:
He's a guy that brings big size and strength, a real power forward. He's versitaile, plays all three forward positions, very responsible player. I think, because he didn't play in the league as an underage player two years ago, this is his second year in the league and he's finding his way, so to speak. 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. He's starting to be recognized not only by the people above but also by the teams in our league that he's a threat when he's on the ice, not just to score but also pass the puck, he's got great vision. I think he's gained a tremendous amount of respect from all the teams that we play against as well as the people above that are assessing his chances to be a pro.
...
When you come into the league as an underage player, you have all those transitional things that are taken care of over the course of the year when you don't have the focus of being a draft-eligible player. He came in a year later, which wasn't a problem for us, just a decision the family made for him to spend a year at prep school. It probably helped him in a lot of ways. When we drafted him he was 240 pounds, I think he played last year at 205, he's probably at 210 now. A guy that learned how to be an athlete, he's a great athlete, but he learned how to be a pro. He continues to learn that. Just prior to the post season last year, we talked a lot about what was on the line and setting an example and him personally setting an example for our team and taking advantage of a circumstance and opportunity to play for us in a key situation in the post season last year and how it would elevate his situation personally. He took it to heart and scored big goals, played big minutes and played responsibly against the other team's best players and outplayed them most nights. I think a window of a few weeks, six or eight weeks had a lot to do with him being drafted in the second round. A lot of people were unsure if he was the real deal or not. I think he's got a great future ahead of him as he continues to develop as he is and learn and mature and do the things that are asked of him.
...
He's come miles in a short period of time. I think he's a more dynamic skater then Matt would be, he's a 6'3 and a half, big bodied guy that has great vision, has the ability to get to the net, knows where the open ice is, is very responsible. I think that everything will continue to improve as he continues to play against and has the responsibility of playing against the other team's top players. His confidence is a as high now as ever. He's a little hard on himself, I think he gets down on himself and that's something with maturity and experience will improve. I don't think there's any question that he has the tools to be a real top player and as long as his motivation and interest remains as strong as it is at this point in time, then he has a great future ahead of him.

Tangradi and the World Juniors (I talked to Burnett prior to the announcement of Team USA)
I think, without question, because of his personal success not only this year, but maybe next. He's still an 18-year-old and it's still a 19-year-old tournament for the most part. As a 19-year-old, if things continue on the path that they are on, he'd be a real natural choice to represent his country. I know it's something that he aspires to do and we're happy to support him on that.

Tangradi and Beleskey playing together:
Shawn Matthias is our top center and played the game last night, the three of them is a big powerful line when they do play together. Because of Eric's versitailty there is the odd time that we'll move him into the middle or onto the left wing. We do mix it up a little, depending on the matchups and who we're playing, whether we're home or away. But for the most part, they've played a lot of hockey together and lead our team and have been the difference in a very positive way on many nights. I'm hoping I can leave them together for the balance of the season and give them the chance to develop a chemistry that will be tough to play against.

Belleville's season:
I think we're learning that and when we face some adversity, we become a little more individual then I would like. 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. I explained it to our kids, this is our fourth year here. In the first couple of years, when we were facing the elite teams of the league, we had to elevate our game or it would have been a very one-sided affair, because we lacked depth, and talent and scoring and a lot of things. Now that we have some of those things, we try to establish ourselves, like those elite teams have done to us in the pass, so if teams don't elevate their game, we're going to be able to light it up and have a big night. We still wait and see what kind of team we're going to get every night, we still wait and see how they're going to play and we have to go out and initiate and set the tone and set the tempo of the game and try to put down teams early. We haven't been a great team off the start, we've always kind of responded when other teams come out of the gate hard. I think one of the problems is we scored a lot of goals in the first four or five games of the season and I think, still as a developing team, with some veterans, but not a lot of veterans, we maybe thought we were going to score a lot of goals every night. Although we got the best defensive record in the league or one of the best, we still have a lot to improve on with our play without the puck and our goals against and our ability to take care and put teams away when we have a chance to do so.
Obviously plenty to say about two of his top players and once again, he was great to talk to.

Secondly, Bryce Swan has had a bit of a rough year, but based on my viewings, his lack of numbers might have a bit to do with his regular linemates as well. While Swan hasn't been consistently digging in the corners and setting up screens in front of the net, nor has he always been able to convert on those rebounds, he's also found himself lining up alongside Rangers prospect Ryan Hillier. Hillier is currently tied for the QMJHL league lead in shots and his general modus operandi is to carry the puck into the zone and take a shot, regardless of the situation around him. There's not always enough pucks to go around on that line and it often leaves Swan on the short end of the stick. However, with the Mooseheads currently adjusting their lines (they're in a bit of a slump as of late) and the upcoming addition of Boston prospect Brad Marchand to Halifax's attack, Swan could find himself with new linemates when the calendar switches over.

Finally, the latest news on Logan MacMillan is he probably will not be back in the lineup until after Christmas. There's plenty of rumors floating around Halifax that MacMillan is demanding to be traded (which he's not, his father assured me that Logan wants nothing more than to be healthy and back playing for the Mooseheads) or that there's some sort of scandal involved with him going home to PEI (there isn't). He's simply taking some time off to rest and all signs are pointing to him getting better (he's popped by to visit the team in Halifax and went for dinner with them when they were on a road trip to PEI), so hopefully he'll be back in the lineup soon.
Also, MacMillan was apparently strongly considered to be invited to the World Junior camp, and according to a rumor, he may have had to turn down an invitation due to his exhaustion. As an 18-year-old eligible for next season, that's a sign of good things to come.


Last edited by Kevin Forbes: 12-12-2007 at 09:03 PM.
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12-12-2007, 08:54 PM
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Holler!

Good article. Very imformationative.

Tangradi will be great if he works out. He's like Getzlaf size. Is it safe to say he would be drafted much higher if he was in this years draft? Sounds like it.


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12-13-2007, 04:00 AM
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What is MacMillan exhausted from, he's 18 is this going back to the concussion or what?

Beleskey has come a long way though, good to see the guy improving every year.

when will the NCAA prospects update be? Iwill be curious about your views on Mitera because in the games i've watched he's looked really good and always seems like he's on the ice.

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12-13-2007, 06:07 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chone View Post
Tangradi will be great if he works out. He's like Getzlaf size. Is it safe to say he would be drafted much higher if he was in this years draft? Sounds like it.
Coach Burnett is a big fan of him and I have to agree with where he's coming from on Tangradi. The Ducks scouts appear to have done their homework finding this kid. It was his first year in the league and he really needed that time to get acclimatized to the play and so on. Burnett seems to believe that there's much more to come from Tangradi, which is obviously great news. Obviously if he was playing at better then a point-per-game rate during his draft year, one would assume he'd be drafted much higher, but I'm not sure by how much. Keep in mind that there were OHL players scoring at roughly a point-per-game pace being drafted well into the third round. I think this was the case of Anaheim drafting the right asset at the right time to assure that he'd be part of the organization, despite what the stats said.

Quote:
Originally Posted by RallyKiller View Post
What is MacMillan exhausted from, he's 18 is this going back to the concussion or what?
Both the team and the family are being pretty tight-lipped about this and I do want to respect Logan's privacy and not get too in-depth. A player like MacMillan, who has been drafted and is one of the top players in the league, is probably in better shape then you and I, so one has to expect that this exhaustion is much more serious then just being tired due to poor conditioning stemming from missing camp.
Prior to him leaving the team, he just looked...off when he was on the ice. He wasn't skating hard, his timing was off, he didn't seem like he had his head in the game. In the game right after the ADT Canada/Russia series, he came back to the bench in the middle of the second period and just put his head down on the bench and didn't move. He seemed completely bushwhacked. He didn't play again that period and didn't come back out with the team during the third. Shortly after the game, Halifax announced he was going to be taking some time off.
I'm sure it's nothing to be too worried about in terms of his NHL future. His father even mentioned to me that it's better for Logan to take the time needed now then to have things be a bigger problem when the spring rolls around and Halifax begins their (expected to be long) playoff run. He wants to be playing with the team and the team wants him back too, so hopefully he gets better soon.

Quote:
when will the NCAA prospects update be? Iwill be curious about your views on Mitera because in the games i've watched he's looked really good and always seems like he's on the ice.
NCAA updates are scheduled for January. Later this month is an AHL/ECHL update.

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12-13-2007, 06:36 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kevin Forbes View Post
Coach Burnett is a big fan of him and I have to agree with where he's coming from on Tangradi. The Ducks scouts appear to have done their homework finding this kid. It was his first year in the league and he really needed that time to get acclimatized to the play and so on. Burnett seems to believe that there's much more to come from Tangradi, which is obviously great news. Obviously if he was playing at better then a point-per-game rate during his draft year, one would assume he'd be drafted much higher, but I'm not sure by how much. Keep in mind that there were OHL players scoring at roughly a point-per-game pace being drafted well into the third round. I think this was the case of Anaheim drafting the right asset at the right time to assure that he'd be part of the organization, despite what the stats said.



Both the team and the family are being pretty tight-lipped about this and I do want to respect Logan's privacy and not get too in-depth. A player like MacMillan, who has been drafted and is one of the top players in the league, is probably in better shape then you and I, so one has to expect that this exhaustion is much more serious then just being tired due to poor conditioning stemming from missing camp.
Prior to him leaving the team, he just looked...off when he was on the ice. He wasn't skating hard, his timing was off, he didn't seem like he had his head in the game. In the game right after the ADT Canada/Russia series, he came back to the bench in the middle of the second period and just put his head down on the bench and didn't move. He seemed completely bushwhacked. He didn't play again that period and didn't come back out with the team during the third. Shortly after the game, Halifax announced he was going to be taking some time off.
I'm sure it's nothing to be too worried about in terms of his NHL future. His father even mentioned to me that it's better for Logan to take the time needed now then to have things be a bigger problem when the spring rolls around and Halifax begins their (expected to be long) playoff run. He wants to be playing with the team and the team wants him back too, so hopefully he gets better soon.



NCAA updates are scheduled for January. Later this month is an AHL/ECHL update.
Would it be fair to say Logans problem is more emotional than physical? like something off the ice and he's not focused, he's just an 18 year old kid so off ice problems could probably bother him more than a 30 year old 7 year vet.

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12-13-2007, 09:11 PM
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Originally Posted by RallyKiller View Post
Would it be fair to say Logans problem is more emotional than physical? like something off the ice and he's not focused, he's just an 18 year old kid so off ice problems could probably bother him more than a 30 year old 7 year vet.
I couldn't tell ya. I don't want to speculate.

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12-13-2007, 10:47 PM
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Hmm Macenauer seems to be doing alright. "Who?" was my pretty much exact word when I saw that pick. It's great that he's doing well, but you have to wonder if he would have been available later.

I have to say it seems odd that we've got so many guys from the Q. I'm not sure the Ducks have ever developed a solid NHLer out of the Q, although they've hardly ever drafted from there. Although with Levasseur and the 5 guys in there now that should change.

MacMillan sounds like some kind of personal crisis. I'm not going to speculate, I hate rumors. It shouldn't be much of a problem, although you have to hope the time off isn't much in terms of lost development if he stays off for an extended period of time.

From the writeup, I think I'm most excited by the O guys, Tangradi, Beleskey, and deGray ("amongst the most penalized players in the league" certainly sounds like a Duck).

And why does it seem like our 2nd rounders are always injured? Mikkelson, Swan. Farther back Tim Brent and Jordan Smith. Maybe Burke's on to something. I just hope Tangradi isn't affected by the curse.

Thanks for the update.


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12-13-2007, 11:01 PM
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Originally Posted by obobo23 View Post
I have to say it seems odd that we've got so many guys from the Q. I'm not sure the Ducks have ever developed a solid NHLer out of the Q, although they've hardly ever drafted from there. Although with Levasseur and the 5 guys in there now that should change.
I don't think they've ever drafted and developed a player out of the QMJHL to be a regular NHLer. But this QMJHL is quite different from even 5 years ago and I think you're seeing more complementary type players being available from the Q. It used to be the case where if you weren't a top scoring star in that league or a goalie, your NHL future was pretty close to nil, but that appears to be changing.
I don't know how in-depth the Ducks scout the Q (personally, I've only ran into the Ducks scouts once at a Mooseheads game last season and one guy was from BC and the other from Ontario). However I think Chainey might still be based out of Quebec and of course with Portland close to Lewiston and the border, it might be easy for guys like McNab and Murray to check in on a game here and there.

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