In the summer of 2006, the Ducks are coming off a stinging Western Conference Finals loss to the Edmonton Oilers. Burke was going to make one of the biggest moves of his career in the off-season by trading for All-Star Chris Pronger. Let's see how he did with the kids first.
Notable non-Anaheim draftees: Erik Johnson (#1), Jordan Staal (#2), Jonathan Toews (#3), Nicklas Backstrom (#4), Phil Kessel (#5), Derick Brassard (#6), Kyle Okposo (#7), Jonathan Bernier (#11), Chris Stewart (#18), Claude Giroux (#22), Nick Foligno (#28), Milan Lucic (#50), Jamie McBain (#63), Brad Marchand (#71), James Reimer (#99)
Mark Mitera (D)
||Bryce Swan (RW)
||John De Gray (D)
Matt Beleskey (LW)
Petteri Wirtanen (C)
Where are they now?
#19 Mark Mitera (D)
Player taken before and after: #18 Chris Stewart (RW - COL) and #20 David Fischer (D - MTL)
Stats with Ducks: NONE!
After being drafted, Mitera returned to the University of Michigan before being signed to a standard three-year entry-level deal in March 2009. Once signing the deal, Mitera was sent directly to the Iowa Chops of the AHL. Not too long in to 2009's Training Camp, Mitera was sent to San Antonio of the AHL. The AHL is where Mitera would stay until July 2011 when he was traded for defenseman Mathieu Carle (currently with Syracuse)
#38 Bryce Swan (RW)
Player taken before and after: #37 Yury Alexandrov (D - BOS) and #39 Andreas Nodl (RW - PHI)
Stats with Ducks: NONE!
This guy was hard to find information on, so that should be a good indication of how his career with the Ducks went. Even the Ducks website had nothing on him. From what I could find, it seems that the Ducks sent Swan back to his junior club, the Halifax Mooseheads. He was often injured with broken bones and a majorly messed up ankle. Following his time in Halifax he went to play for the St. Francis Xavier X-Men (coolest mascot ever!). According to "The Q Files", Swan turned down two contract offers with the Ducks in 2008. He went on to tryout for the Red Wings during Training Camp. That was also unsuccessful and he went on to get a chance to play for the Wild in a prospects tournament. That doesn't seem to have worked out as well, and I think he's still an X-Men.
#83 John De Gray (D)
Stats with Ducks: NONE!
In April 2008, John de Gray, Matt Beleskey, and Jason Bailey (yesterday) were given qualifying offers. From there, de Gray bounced between the AHL and ECHL. In the 2010-2011 season, he split his time between Elmira and Syracuse posting unremarkable numbers: 57 GP, 2 G, 12A, 14 Pts, 47 PIMs. At the expiration of his restricted free agent contract in June 2011, the Ducks did not tender an offer and he became an unrestricted free agent. From what I can find, he remains a UFA to this day.
#112 Matt Beleskey (LW)
Player taken before and after: #111 Krobinian Holzer (D - TOR) and #113 Ben Wright (D - CBJ)
Stats with Ducks: 141 GP, 18 G, 21 A, 39 Pts, minus-19, 121 PIM
Oh Matty B. I am a fan of his. I don't know what it is about him, but I just like the way he plays. As mentioned above, Bells was signed to the usual three-year entry level deal in April 2008 after a career year wth the Bellevile Bulls of the OHL. Hold on to your hats and glasses - with the Bulls, Beleskey had 41 goals (!!!), 49 assists (!!!) for 90 points, and it wouldn't be Beleskey without a mountain of penalty minutes at 106. He spent most of his first season ('08-'09) under contract with the Iowa Chops (AHL). He'd see two games with the Ducks where he had blanks across the board. In 2009-2010, he finally got a shot to make a different. In 60 games played, he had 11 goals (that's a lot for him) and 7 assists. Much of that success can be attributed to his placement on the top line with Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry. Matt can thank The Twins for the two year extension he signed following that season. Last season and the beginning of this one, you could see that Carlyle's patience with Beleskey was wearing thin. Matt had off-season shoulder surgery and struggled to find his place in the lineup. That eventually lead to the club's decision to waive Beleskey in November. Beleskey cleared waivers but Randy Carlyle did not. Soon after Beleskey's clearing, Carlyle was out and Bruce Boudreau was in. I can only describe Boudreau's relationship with Beleskey as a "man-crush". Matt is getting significant minutes and even found himself on the second line for a good portion of Monday's game versus Calgary. He's not an offensive powerhouse by any means, but he is a grinder. He fights, he gets in the corners, he clears the ice for the stars. A good utility player that can be used throughout the lineup.
#172 Petteri Wirtanen (C)
Player taken before and after: #171 Brian Day (R - NYI) and #173 Stefan Ridderwall (G - NYI)
Stats with Ducks: 3 GP, 1 G, 0 A, 1 Pts, plus-1, 2 PIM
Anyone else a little confused that this guy played in three games for the Ducks? I am! I don't remember this guy at all. The Ducks didn't wait around for this kid to mature in juniors before signing him to a three-year entry level contract in June 2006. (Interesting side note, then career AHL-er Kent Huskins was signed to a one year extension the same day.) Prior to being drafted in the NHL, Wirtanen played in the Finnish Elite League. In 50 games he had 11 points. He was called up once and made the most of his three game stint with the recently crowned Stanley Cup Champions. October 17, 2007 versus Nashville, Petteri would score his only NHL goal on his first NHL shot - a game winning goal nonetheless. Yet that would be it for young Wirtanen. He went point-less in his next two games and was sent back down to Portland. Here's a funny thing, Wirtanen went back to Finland, even though the Ducks tendered an offer to him in July 2009. So, if he does ever come back to the NHL, he's an RFA with the Ducks holding the contract.