Scrub to 1:00, and relish the awkward humor that is ECHL TV.
If there was a positive to the debacle that ended the Ducks' affiliation with the Iowa Chops, it's the second chance that it offered to Anaheim prospects Eric Regan and John de Gray. The former OHL defensemen had disappointing rookie outings in Iowa but have spent this year regrouping, finding their confidence and undoubtedly looking forward to an Anaheim camp that will be, barring major moves in the offseason, wide open on the blueline.
John de Gray
6'4" 210 lbs
Acquired in the third-round of the 2006 Draft
RFA in 2011
There was a time when scouts were very high on John de Gray. If he had found an offensive game in his draft year, he might have been a first-rounder. Ultimately, the Ducks took him in the third, banking on his incredible defensive sense and hoping to teach him offense and physicality. To their dismay, a year in Iowa changed very little for the blueline prospect.
This season, de Gray found himself in the ECHL, an early victim of the Ducks' lack of a minor league affiliate. Like Dan Sexton, MacGregor Sharp, Stu Bickel and Shawn Weller, he was going to have to earn his AHL assignment. And that he did. With Bakersfield, he found the confidence to get pucks on net and fill out his game. A steady run with the Condors got him a loan to the Rochester Americans where he's done very well using his body, finding the occasional point and remaining a reliable defensive standout.
As a big shutdown defenseman who's now found his hitting game and his confidence with the puck, de Gray will be looking to make an impression at camp this year, hopefully relegating last season's effort as a hiccup in his development.
6'3" 200 lbs
Acquired as an undrafted free agent camp tryout in 2008
RFA in 2011
|2008-09||Iowa Chops (AHL)||59||1||7||8||36|
|2009-10||San Antonio Rampage (AHL)||5||0||0||0||6|
|2009-10||Bakersfield Condors (ECHL)||59||16||34||50||46|
Eric Regan's rookie numbers in Iowa were not much better than de Gray's, but they were a great deal more surprising. Though undrafted, Regan had two near-50 point campaigns with the Oshawa Generals and was praised not just for his offensive skill but for his abilities as a leader and a defender. For him to follow up an impressive tryout with a year of anemic output seemed unthinkable.
Clearly, Regan has turned things around with the Condors. He's just the third blueliner in team history to hit the 50-point mark, and he was named 1st team All ECHL over the weekend. His defensive sense is on par with de Gray, but his all around abilities give him more potential as an impact player. He's used to proving himself, so look for him to try to parlay another 50 point season at the lower levels into an impressive camp with the Ducks.