Los Angeles Hockey: Marcus Johansson

Ducks: Forwards of the future?

September, 27, 2011
9/27/11
5:26
PM PT
ANAHEIM -- Heading into training camp, it was no secret the Ducks needed a fourth-line center and possibly another rugged wing. Now that management has trimmed the roster to 16 forwards, there remains a strong possibility a rookie will earn at least one of those opportunities, while a couple others are just a phone call away at the team’s American Hockey League affiliate in Syracuse.

Here’s a closer look at the remaining rookie forwards on the roster:

Name: Maxime Macenauer

Pos.: Center

Age: 22

Drafted: Third round (63rd overall) by the Ducks in '08

Background: Macenauer nearly made the team out of training camp last season, but his development tapered off in the final week and he spent the season in Syracuse, scoring 13 goals and 32 points in 79 games. Macenauer came into this camp in even better shape, sat out a few days because of a strained groin but has steadily impressed with each passing day. Coach Randy Carlyle likes Macenauer’s physical play and his potential as a penalty killer.

Carlyle quote: “We’ve put him in some real tough situations. We knew that, with his strengths, he would be a guy challenging [for a roster spot]. It’s just that he has to maintain that for more than one week, two weeks, three weeks … he has to continue to show us he can do it."

Name: Devante Smith-Pelly

Pos.: Right wing

Age: 19

Drafted: Second round (42nd overall) by the Ducks in ’10

Background: Smith-Pelly is still eligible to be returned to juniors, but if he keeps doing all the little things, he could stick around for the season opener in Finland next month. He’s a big-bodied forward who likes to throw his weight around and smart enough to get away with it. Carlyle had a chance to watch Smith-Pelly play for the Canadian major junior title last May at the Memorial Cup and has been even more impressed during training camp.

Carlyle quote: "Did he do some things in junior that I didn’t like? Yea, there were some things, but I contend who’s prepared themselves to try and make the NHL? That’s a big step for a young guy to take that responsibility and it’s showing, not only in his conditioning level but his commitment day in and day out to come to work.”

Name: Andrew Gordon

Pos.: Right wing

Age: 25

Drafted: Seventh round (197th overall) by the Washington Capitals in ‘04

Background: Though technically still a rookie, Gordon already made a few highlight reels with his first NHL goal last season. It wasn't so much the effort that drew the attention, but rather the kiss on the cheek of linemate Marcus Johansson following the goal. Gordon is another player, like Macenauer and Smith-Pelly, who seems cut out for a third or fourth-line role in the NHL. It hasn’t hurt Gordon’s chances that he also has a team-high three goals in the preseason, including the final tally in a 3-1 victory Sunday night against the Kings.

Carlyle Quote: “I wouldn’t say you’d expect Gordon to be a 30-goal scorer, but I think you can expect he’ll show that workmanlike attitude. He’s going to play hard, he’s going to go in and block shots, he’s going to do whatever it takes to survive.”

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