Anaheim Ducks Draft Day Memories- Manson, Perry, Getzlaf, Fowler, and Montour

Kyle Sohara and Adam Brady, writers of articles for the Anaheim Ducks put together these articles of a recap of Josh Manson, Ryan Getzlaf, Correy Perry, Cam Fowler, and Brandon Montour had to say when asked about what they recall about being drafted by the Anaheim Ducks.
These articles are from the Anaheim Ducks writers. They have said it in a way that I couldn’t have said it better myself.

Draft Day Memories: Josh Manson

Photo by Anaheim Ducks
With the 2018 NHL Draft taking place this Friday and Saturday in Dallas, we asked a handful of Ducks to recall their experiences of the draft and the days leading up to it. Their recollections are part of a feature series titled Draft Day Memories.

For any player drafted into the NHL, the chances are strong he remembers exactly where he was the moment it happened. For many, that momentous achievement takes place inside the arena in which the draft is taking place. But for others – those who don’t attend – their stories are uniquely special.

Josh Manson has become a stalwart on defense for the Ducks since he made his NHL debut on Oct. 31, 2014. Alongside his usual partner Hampus Lindholm, the two have evolved into a dynamic shutdown pairing that logs heavy minutes against the opposition’s best lines.

Manson’s draft story is distinctive for several reasons. First, he wasn’t there for the 2011 edition at Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, Minnesota. Because the odds were stacked against him, he felt he was better off not attending. Furthermore, he didn’t even know the second (and final day) of the draft was well underway when his name was called.

“I was on the fence of whether I was going to get drafted or not,” says Manson, who ended up getting selected in the sixth round (160th overall). “It just didn’t make sense for me to go. It all happened for me pretty late on, too.”

He had just finished his second season with the Salmon Arm Silverbacks of the British Columbia Hockey League (BCHL). He put up solid numbers – 12 goals, 35 assists and 47 points in 57 games – and did so as a first-time defenseman. Manson was a forward up until then, labeling himself as an “everyday fourth-line winger.” But when a slew of injuries hit the team hard, his coach had little choice but to throw the young Manson on defense. It was a season of transition, but also one of opportunity.

“[Anaheim] was the first team I talked to. Glen Cochrane [an amateur scout with the Ducks] is the one who scouted me out of the BCHL. He was first person I spoke to that said good things. Other than that, there were maybe two or three other teams.”

“It was at the end of the season – that summer – when all of a sudden I started talking to a couple of NHL teams,” Manson recalls. “I wasn’t on the radar at all. Just after the year when I switched to defense is when I started talking to a couple of NHL teams. That’s when I got an agent and things started to pick up a little bit like I might be drafted. Nothing was ever set in stone. I was like ‘I’m not going [to the draft]. There’s no point.'”

He recalls only a handful of teams he spoke with at that time, and the Ducks were among them.

“[Anaheim] was the first team I talked to,” Manson says. “Glen Cochrane [an amateur scout with the Ducks] is the one who scouted me out of the BCHL. He was first person I spoke to that said good things. Other than that, there were maybe two or three other teams. I think Boston called me. I heard Toronto called my teams during the season. That’s all I can remember.”

When the draft came around, Manson knew the odds were stacked against him. He didn’t want to get his hopes up in any way. “In my mind, somebody is going to have to take a chance on me,” he remembers thinking at the time. “It’s a small chance if I get drafted. There really wasn’t a need to mentally prepare for anything compared to guys expected to go in the first or second round, or someone who drops in the draft.”

As per tradition, Manson says he watched the first round of the draft because he enjoys seeing where the top picks end up. That year, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins was selected first overall by the Edmonton Oilers. Then it was Gabriel Landeskog to the Colorado Avalanche. Jonathan Huberdeau (Florida) was third, Adam Larsson (New Jersey) was fourth and Ryan Strome (New York Islanders) was fifth.

Knowing there was a slim chance he could be drafted in the later rounds, Manson had intentions of following along. Unfortunately, he got the times mixed up.

“I wasn’t even watching it on the internet or TV,” he admits. “I had plans to go golfing with my buddies because I wanted to take my mind off the draft. That morning, I was brushing my teeth. It was like 10 a.m. and my agent called me and said I got drafted. I was like shocked. ‘It happened already?’ I didn’t even know it was supposed to happen yet.”

Manson was caught totally off guard.

“We got two holes in and then I quit,” Manson says with a laugh. “I couldn’t do it because I was on the phone too much.”

If there was ever a team that would take a chance on him in the draft, Manson says it was Anaheim. “The Ducks were the frontrunners in my mind because that was the only team I really spoke with in person. They were the ones I thought were the strongest or most inclined to pick me. At the same time, who knows what could’ve happened.”

What if he ended up going undrafted? The possibility was real. At the time, Manson says he was “just kind of winging it.”

“I don’t even think I knew the point of going to Junior ‘A’ was to get a scholarship,” he says. “My whole first year, I didn’t talk to a team. I was just playing hockey and hoping for the best. If I didn’t get drafted, I think I would’ve just kept playing. I still had another year of Junior ‘A’ left. I would’ve went back to it. I would’ve kept going for a scholarship and tried to make it to college and then try to be a free agent pick up.”

Instead, Manson was among a Ducks draft class that all went on to appear in at least one NHL game. Anaheim’s first selection that year came at the very end of the first round when it picked Rickard Rakell with the 30th overall choice. From there, the Ducks selected John Gibson (39th overall) and William Karlsson (53rd overall) in the second round, Joseph Cramarossa (65th overall) and Andy Welinski (83rd overall) in the third round and Max Friberg in the fifth round (143rd overall).

Photo by Anaheim Ducks 

“I just try to prove Anaheim made a good pick by taking a chance on me in the sixth round. I want to show Anaheim they made a great choice in 2011 and that I’ve tried to be nothing but a positive for this organization since they selected me. Prove that it doesn’t matter if you’re picked in the first round or second round. You make things work.”

Manson went on to have a successful collegiate career at Northeastern, playing three seasons with the Huskies from 2011-14. In 99 career games with the Huskies, Manson compiled 21 points (6g/15a) with a +12 rating and 158 penalty minutes. He concluded his collegiate career by being named a Hockey East Second Team All Star and the Best Defensive Defenseman after captaining Northeastern to a 19-14-4 record in 2013-14.

From there, he made his pro debut with the Norfolk Admirals at the tail end of the 2013-14 season. He split the 2014-15 season with Anaheim and Norfolk before becoming a full-timer in the NHL during the 2015-16 season.

Manson feels grateful the Ducks gave him an opportunity, and he’s doing everything he can to return the favor.

“I just try to prove Anaheim made a good pick by taking a chance on me in the sixth round,” he says. “I want to show Anaheim they made a great choice in 2011 and that I’ve tried to be nothing but a positive for this organization since they selected me. Prove that it doesn’t matter if you’re picked in the first round or second round. You make things work.”

Manson’s journey to the NHL can serve as inspiration for anyone drafted in the later rounds, or perhaps even those that have gone undrafted.

“The road isn’t done if you don’t get drafted,” he says. “It’s not the end of the world. There are still channels to the NHL and professional hockey. Nothing ends because you don’t get drafted, and nothing ends if you don’t get drafted early on. There are still chances to continue working and making your way up the ladder.

“When I got drafted, that was the first realization I had that there is a chance I could play pro hockey,” he says. “I could turn my passion into an actual career. Just because you don’t get drafted doesn’t mean it should be the end of your dream.”

The 2003 Draft: One for the Ages

Fifteen years ago, the Ducks selected franchise icons Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry in what is now considered the best NHL Draft in history

by Adam Brady @AdamJBrady / AnaheimDucks.com

  Photo by Anaheim Ducks

June 2003 would turn out to be a seminal month for the Anaheim Ducks, a major crossroads in the growth of a franchise that would ultimately emerge into a perennial championship contender and ultimately a Stanley Cup champion.

In just their 10th year of existence, the then Mighty Ducks made an inspiring postseason run all the way to the Stanley Cup Final, where they lost in Game 7 to the New Jersey Devils. J.S. Giguere, the goalie who practically carried those Mighty Ducks on his back throughout the playoffs, was awarded the Conn Smythe Trophy as postseason MVP, becoming just the fifth player in NHL history to win the award while playing for the losing team.

Just 12 days after that Game 7 defeat, the focus turned on building for the future at the 2003 NHL Entry Draft at what was then known as Gaylord Entertainment Center in Nashville, Tennessee. It was a draft that would later become renowned as arguably the best and most talent-laden in NHL history. For the Ducks it was especially fruitful, as they selected two eventual franchise cornerstones – Ryan Getzlaf with the 19th overall pick and Corey Perry with the 28th.

 Photo by Anaheim Ducks

Click here for an interactive photo of Getzlaf and the 2003 Draft Prospects
“For whatever reason, it was just one of those years. Every now and then you get a draft year that’s just off the charts, and that was one of them,” says David McNab, the Ducks Senior Vice President of Hockey Operations who has been with the organization since its birth in 1993. “Even before the draft, everyone recognized there was a good chance you could get a good player, even late in the first round or beyond. The number of guys who have been significantly important players to franchises is incredible.”

Fifteen years later, almost half of the players selected in the first round of that draft are still active in the NHL and have made major impacts on the teams that took them. Every pick played at least a game in the NHL and 22 of the 30 have played at least 500. All but nine selected in the second round also reached the NHL. Including Getzlaf and Perry, a staggering 28 players were named an NHL All-Star at least once in their careers (17 from the first round alone).

All the picks and stats from the 2003 DraftIt starts at the top with Marc-Andre Fleury, selected by the Pittsburgh Penguins as one of the few goalies to go No. 1 overall. Fleury backstopped the Penguins to three Stanley Cup titles and just carried the Vegas Golden Knights to the Final in the expansion franchise’s first year of existence.

Center Eric Staal, the second overall pick by the Hurricanes, became an icon of that franchise and helped the Canes to a Stanley Cup title in 2006. Staal (now with Minnesota) remains the top scorer from that draft with 922 points, but Getzlaf (875) and Perry (766) are second and third, respectively. Perry’s 366 goals trails only Staal’s 395, remarkable considering Perry lasted until the 28th pick (more on that later).

Other standouts from that first round include forwards Thomas Vanek (fifth), Jeff Carter (11th), Dustin Brown (13th), Zach Parise (17th) Brian Boyle (26th) and two players who ended up becoming Anaheim Ducks – Ryan Kesler (23rd) and Patrick Eaves (29th). The defensemen include Braydon Coburn (eighth), Dion Phaneuf (ninth), Brent Seabrook (14th), Brent Burns (20th) and Mark Stuart (21st).

 Photo by Anaheim Ducks

“It was bittersweet because I was ranked to go a little bit higher than I did, so you’re sitting there in your seat, kind of sweating what’s going on,” Getzlaf says.”There are doubts going through your mind and all that stuff. All of a sudden your name gets called and it all goes away. It’s an exciting time.”

But the talent didn’t end with the first round. Forwards Loui Eriksson (33rd), Patrice Bergeron (45th) and David Backes (62nd) and defenseman Shea Weber (49th) and goaltender Corey Crawford (52nd) were picked in the second round. Kyle Quincey (132nd) was a fourth-round pick. Lee Stempniak (148th) was a fifth-rounder. Marc Methot (168th) and Drew Miller (186th) were picked in the sixth, with Joe Pavelski (205th) and Kyle Brodziak (214th) going in the seventh.

These days there is no eighth round in the NHL Draft, but back then Toby Enstrom (239th) and Dustin Byfuglien (245th) were steals in the eighth and Matt Moulson (263rd), Tanner Glass (265th), Jaroslav Halak (271st), Chris Porter (282nd), David Jones (288th) and Brian Elliott (291st) were each plucked in the ninth – Elliott with the second-to-last-pick of the entire draft.

The stories behind the Ducks getting Getzlaf and Perry are intriguing as well. “It’s very weird to think it’s been 15 years and how the time has gone by so fast,” said Getzlaf recently while reflecting on that day. “It was obviously a nervous day with family involved and getting everything organized. Things are a little hectic.”

Getzlaf, the big center from the Calgary Hitmen of the WHL, was ranked in the top 5 among North American Skaters in the final Central Scouting Rankings but remained unpicked until the Ducks picked 19th.

“It was bittersweet because I was ranked to go a little bit higher than I did, so you’re sitting there in your seat, kind of sweating what’s going on,” says the now 33-year-old Ducks captain. “There are doubts going through your mind and all that stuff. All of a sudden your name gets called and it all goes away. It’s an exciting time.”

Getzlaf had anticipated going to the Rangers at No. 12. “They had told me if I was there they were going to take me,” he recalls. “So that was really the only disappointing pick that went by where I was like, ‘Wait, what happened?’ After that we were just waiting.”

Ironically, the Rangers instead took Hugh Jessiman, a right winger from Dartmouth who ended up being one of the few first-rounders not to make an impact in the league. He never appeared in a game with the Rangers, and played his only two career NHL games in 2011 with Florida.

Six more picks went by without Getzlaf’s name being called until the Ducks were thrilled to see him on the board when they were on the clock with the 19th.

 Photo by Anaheim Ducks

“At the time it was a little bit weird because I had met with every team except Anaheim and one other team,” Getzlaf says. “But it was exciting when they took me.”

“The standard line when you see any draft is, ‘I was surprised he was still there,'” McNab says. “But yes, after the fact, people were surprised Getzlaf lasted that long, but they weren’t stunned that he was available. When you look at the list, there were an awful lot of really good players to choose from. Even the guys who haven’t done that well in the NHL had spectacular years going into the draft. It’s one of those things, where probably six or seven teams could have easily taken him but they chose another player. That’s the way the draft goes.”

The Ducks brass hadn’t even met with Getzlaf before the draft, assuming he would be gone by the time they picked. “At the time it was a little bit weird because I had met with every team except Anaheim and one other team,” Getzlaf says. “But it was exciting when they took me.”

Getzlaf, who had never been to California before, admits he didn’t know much about the organization other than its playoff run just a few weeks prior. “The one thing I knew about the Ducks was that [Joffrey] Lupul was in the organization, and I had played against him in junior all the time. And he was a good player in junior, so that was an exciting thing.”

While Getzlaf didn’t know Perry all that well prior to the draft, the two would become intertwined not long after the right winger was taken by the Ducks 28th later that day. “I knew Perry a little bit from World Junior camp and some other camps, but we didn’t really know each other very well. I knew he was a right winger, and the Ducks obviously had something in mind when they put us together.”

But getting Perry was almost not meant to be for Anaheim, which didn’t even have another first round pick until they did some late maneuvering to acquire the 28th overall selection from Dallas. Perry had shown scoring prowess and grit with the London Knights of the OHL, but questions about his skating kept teams away from him for most of the first round.

The Ducks made a trade with Dallas to acquire the 28th pick they used on Perry.  Photo by Anaheim Ducks

The Ducks made a trade with Dallas to acquire the 28th pick they used on Perry. “It was a situation where he was the guy our guys wanted the most when it came close to that point in the draft,” McNab says.

“When someone gets a quote-unquote reputation about something as critical as that – whether it’s fair or unfair – it can really affect things,” McNab says. “The Getzlaf pick was easy for our scouts to make. But with the Perry pick, it was a situation where he was the guy our guys wanted the most when it came close to that point in the draft.”

Not long after the Getzlaf selection, Ducks GM Bryan Murray started approaching teams on the draft floor offering Anaheim’s two second round picks for a first. “Our guys wanted to get Corey. If he had been picked, we would have kept our two seconds. He’s the guy our scouts wanted the most in that situation. Bryan had to go to the next team picking and make an offer. We’d listen to see who the choice was, and when it wasn’t Corey, he’d go to the next team and make the same offer.”

Ultimately it was Dallas who accepted, giving Anaheim the 28th in exchange for the 36th and 54th. The Stars used those picks on Vojtech Polak (5 career NHL games) and B. J. Crombeen (26 goals in 445 games before retiring in 2015).

Anaheim could rest easy throughout that second round, instead reveling in their selections of Getzlaf and Perry. “We were very excited to get them both because we really liked them as players,” McNab says. “We had both of them ranked a lot higher than where we ended up getting them.”

The two were born just six days apart (Getzlaf on May 10, 1985 and Perry on May 16) and since that June day they would become so intertwined they’re frequently called “The Twins” despite looking nothing alike. “Coming into that first training camp,” Getzlaf says, “our friendship was already being built.”

 Photo by Anaheim Ducks

“Our guys wanted to get Corey. If he had been picked, we would have kept our two seconds,” McNab says. “He’s the guy our scouts wanted the most in that situation.”

They have spent the majority of the last 15 years playing on the same forward line, developing a chemistry that has rivaled any duo in hockey over that stretch. They haven’t always done it together, but “Getz” and “Pears” have racked up 613 goals and 1,641 points combined in the regular season and another 73 goals and 209 points in 143 playoff games.

And they’ve won. A lot. Along with helping the Ducks capture California’s First Cup in 2007, they each won two gold medals for Team Canada (in 2010 and 2014). Perry, in particular is unique in the game’s history as only the second player (joining former Ducks captain Scott Niedermayer) to win the Stanley Cup, Olympic gold medal, World Championship, World Junior Championship, Memorial Cup and World Cup titles.

Perry scored a career-high 50 goals in 2010-11 to win the Hart Trophy as the league’s MVP. Getzlaf has been top 10 in the Hart voting three times, including a runner-up finish to Sidney Crosby in 2014.

As Assistant General Manager at the time, McNab admits he didn’t have a major hand in the scouting and evaluation of the draft’s prospects. Instead he emphasizes the role played by then general manager Murray and especially scouts Tim Murray and Alain Chaney in seeing the potential in Getzlaf and Perry.

“Fifteen years later, and they’re still here and they’re still important players,” McNab says. “I don’t know if any other team has gotten two cornerstone players from that draft who are still with that franchise. That’s part of the uniqueness of that draft for us. When you get two players who have been really good and been around for a long tie and been very instrumental in everything that has happened with the franchise since then, it’s impressive.”

Draft Day Memories: Cam Fowler

by Kyle Shohara @kyleshohara / AnaheimDucks.com

  Photo by Anaheim Ducks

To be drafted in the NHL is a moment frozen in time, the culmination of years of hard work and determination to achieve a goal so many dream of, but only a select few go on to experience. And while the NHL Draft is a memorable time, the range of emotions these young men go through is real.

As the 2018 edition nears, we asked a handful of Ducks to recall their experiences at the draft and the days leading up to it. Their recollections will be part of a feature series leading up to this year’s draft on June 22-23 in Dallas.

Ducks defenseman Cam Fowler entered the 2010 NHL Draft in LA as the fifth ranked North American skater – the second highest-rated defenseman. In front of him were defenseman Erik Gudbranson (No. 4), right wing (and recent Stanley Cup champion) Brett Connolly (No. 3), left wing Taylor Hall (No. 2) and center Tyler Seguin (No. 1). A product of the U.S. National Team Development Program, Fowler concluded a Memorial Cup-winning season with the Ontario Hockey League’s Windsor Spitfires. He ranked seventh among OHL defensemen in scoring (55 points, 8g/47a) and added 14 points (3g/11a) in 19 playoff games.

As one of the top defensemen available in the draft, Fowler was projected by many to go somewhere in the top five. Because of this, Fowler was mic’d up and had a camera crew chronicling his experience. As he made his way from the hotel to Staples Center, and eventually to his seating location, he was filmed every step of the way. Expectations were high. Fowler was enjoying the moment.

“As I was walking into Staples Center, I was super excited,” Fowler recalls. “A lot of butterflies. Pretty nervous. Basically the whole thing isn’t under your control. You have to sit and wait.”

He was with friends and family. “A lot of great people around me,” he says.

 Photo by Anaheim Ducks

“Going into draft day, I was under the impression I wouldn’t get past No. 5. That’s what I was told. That’s basically the impression I was under.”

The major storyline heading into the draft was dubbed Taylor vs. Tyler. [The first names of Hall and Seguin, respectively.]. Which one would get taken first? Edmonton held the first overall selection and Boston had the No. 2 pick. Then, it was Florida at No. 3, Columbus at No. 4 and the New York Islanders at No. 5. Tampa Bay, Carolina and Atlanta were next with the sixth, seventh and eighth picks, respectively.

“Going into draft day, I was under the impression I wouldn’t get past No. 5,” says Fowler. “That’s what I was told. That’s basically the impression I was under.”

As Fowler sat in his seat, he heard the names being called. The Oilers picked Hall. The Bruins picked Seguin. Florida took Gudbranson.

“Everything will work out in the end,” Fowler said at the time to the camera that was filming his experience. “A team picks you because it’s the right situation for you. Erik is a great player, and I’m really happy for him. Everything will work out for me. I’ll find the right situation.”

But as the picks kept coming, Fowler’s demeanor began to change. At one point, former NHL executive/scout and current TSN analyst Craig Button made his way to Fowler and reminded him it’s what happens on the ice that really matters; not where in the draft he’s taken.

“You’ll get there,” he said to Fowler. “Keep your head up.”

The Ducks were holding the 12th overall selection, the first of two picks they had in the opening round. Before them, though, were Minnesota at No. 9, the New York Rangers at No. 10 and Dallas at No. 11. Minnesota selected center Mikael Granlund, New York took defenseman Dylan McIlrath and Dallas drafted goaltender Jack Campbell.

As the Ducks brass made its way to the stage, the Fowler family braced themselves. It was after these words, spoken by Anaheim’s Executive Vice President/General Manager Bob Murray, when the wait was finally over.

“Anaheim is proud to select from the Windsor Spitfires, Cam Fowler.”

Hugs and kisses followed. Fowler’s dream had been achieved.

Nearly eight years have passed, but he remembers the feelings well.

“It was a really hard day, quite honestly,” he says. “By no means am I upset. I consider myself extremely thankful I was drafted by Anaheim. Hopefully I’ll spend my entire career here.” [Fowler has since signed an eight-year contract extension that takes him through the 2025-26 season].

“You have those expectations, and people are telling you certain things, and then it doesn’t happen,” Fowler says. “I had cameras in my face the entire time, which didn’t make it any easier. For an 18-year-old kid, for that to happen on national television in front of people, that was super hard. It was a hard day that turned into pure joy once my name was called.”

 Photo by Anaheim Ducks

“I can’t imagine myself being any place different. The way Anaheim has treated me and the life we’re able to have outside of hockey living in a beautiful state. A lot of things worked out. But at the time, it was tough. I’m thankful with how everything worked out.”

Often times when a player is taken in the first couple of rounds, they will be handed a jersey with their name on the back. Teams come prepared with multiple nameplates of guys they think/hope they can get. Fowler’s jersey, though, had no name. After all, he was expected to go much higher in the draft.

“What I was told was Anaheim pretty much had me in the top three,” Fowler says. “I don’t think they thought I was going to be there when they were able to pick.”

Maybe everything really does happen for a reason.

“If there is one thing in my life that has made me realize that, it was that moment,” he says. “I can’t imagine myself being any place different. The way Anaheim has treated me and the life we’re able to have outside of hockey living in a beautiful state. A lot of things worked out. But at the time, it was tough. I’m thankful with how everything worked out.”

Fowler made the team out of training camp and spent his rookie season living at the Niedermayer house. His experience living with the likes of Hall-of-Famer Scott Niedermayer, his wife Lisa, and their four sons was documented in this entertaining two-part video series.

“Being able to do that was such a great tool for me because I was able to focus on hockey,” Fowler says. “I never really lived by myself. As an 18-year-old kid, you have a lot of learning to do on the ice, but just as much, if not more, off the ice. How to treat your body, the things you should be eating, the rest you should be getting. To Scott and his whole family, they made the transition super easy for me. To this day, I’m still very thankful for that.”

Draft Day Memories: Brandon Montour

by Kyle Shohara @kyleshohara / AnaheimDucks.com

  Photo by Anaheim Ducks

The mix of emotions a player goes through during the NHL Draft have been well-documented over the years.

Look no further than Ducks prospect Antoine Morand, one of two players the club selected in the second round last year. Tears flowed down his face. The emotion was real. The dream became a reality. His best friend, left wing Max Comtois, had been chosen by Anaheim 10 picks earlier.

On the flip side, Cam Fowler‘s face during the first round of the 2010 NHL Draft said it all. Expected by many to be taken within the top five, Fowler’s demeanor changed when someone else’s name was called with every passing pick. He would fall no lower than 12th, however, when the Ducks snatched him up, and he has gone on to become a cornerstone for this franchise.

As the 2018 edition nears, we asked a handful of Ducks to recall their experiences at the draft and the days leading up to it. Their recollections will be part of a feature series leading up to this year’s draft on June 22-23 in Dallas.

We begin with defenseman Brandon Montour, chosen by Anaheim in the second round (55th overall) of the 2014 NHL Draft at Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia. His path to the draft was unusual and somewhat remarkable. Montour was 20 years old at the time, in his final year of eligibility for the draft. Before he made the jump to the United States Hockey League, Montour was flying under the radar playing Junior B-level hockey in the Greater Ontario Hockey League.

“People came to watch, but there were rarely any scouts,” Montour recalls of his time in the GOHL. “There were zero NHL scouts.”

It appeared the easy-going and humble Brantford, Ontario native was set on furthering his hockey career by playing Tier II somewhere in Alberta when he got a call notifying him he was selected by the Waterloo Black Hawks in the 18th round (267th overall) of the 2013 USHL Draft.

It wasn’t until he began playing for Waterloo when things started to change.

“Once I went to the USHL when I was 19, that’s when it started to pick up,” he says. “That was my last year of eligibility in the USHL. That’s where I kind of took off. People were actually watching me play. That’s where it kind of started.”

 Photo by Anaheim Ducks

“You never know going into the draft what was going to happen, but I talked to the Ducks quite a bit throughout the year. I knew there was some interest. I had some good relationships with the guys that came to watch me at Waterloo.”

Montour took the USHL by storm in his first year. He posted 62 points (14g/48a) with a +35 rating in 60 games with the Black Hawks and was named the USHL’s Player of the Year and Defenseman of the Year after leading all USHL blueliners and ranking ninth overall in scoring. According to the USHL, it was the most points by a defenseman in the USHL Tier 1 era (2002-present), surpassing the 60 points (13g/47a) by Colby Cohen of the Lincoln Stars in 2006-07, and five points shy of the all-time mark of 67 points scored by Mike Ross of the Rochester Mustangs in the 1986-87 season. A First Team All-Star, Montour helped Waterloo to the top record in the regular season and led the league in postseason scoring with 16 points (6g/10a) in 12 Clark Cup Playoff games.

He garnered interest from NHL clubs throughout the season, including Anaheim. “I talked to a number of teams, but there were a handful of teams that talked to me a lot more,” Montour says. “You never know going into the draft what was going to happen, but I talked to the Ducks quite a bit throughout the year. I knew there was some interest. I had some good relationships with the guys that came to watch me at Waterloo.”

As the draft drew closer, the interviews became more frequent. Montour says there might have been five teams he didn’t meet with. “There were a lot of teams I talked to, but there were a lot I only talked to once or twice,” he says. “I think I saw Anaheim six or seven times, so I knew there was interest. I’d have one meeting with a scout one time, and then he’d come back with another guy. I met a number of guys at the NHL Draft Combine. The whole crew was there.”

Since Montour was older than most of the draft-eligible players that year, he figured most of them, at least the ones ranked high, would get taken first. Montour ranked 92nd among North American skaters in Central Scouting’s final rankings. Nevertheless, he said it didn’t really matter what round (or pick) he was chosen with. He just wanted to hear his name called.

“If a team likes you and thinks you’re able to play, if you’re on the board, they take you,” Montour says. “I think I was ranging from the second round to the fourth or fifth round. You never knew, but I knew I was going to get drafted.”

Montour says he attended Day 1 of the draft at the request of his agent. The first day features the first round (top-30 picks at the time), while the second (and final) day encompasses Rounds 2-7. He was training in Boston near UMass Amherst (the college he would go on to attend) at the time, so he made the 5-6 hour drive to Philadelphia and met up with his parents and his agent.

“He wanted me to go because he knew I was going to get drafted,” Montour says.

When Day 2 came around, Montour was ready. “The nerves didn’t really kick in,” he says. “I was just taking it all in.”

 Photo by Anaheim Ducks 

“I forgot who it was, but one of the scouts with Anaheim gave me a thumbs up. He found me in the crowd. I wasn’t too far. He was kind of waving. I glanced over and he was smiling and giving me a thumbs up. So I thought, ‘Let’s wait and see.’ I was kind of shaken a little bit.”

He says it wasn’t until around pick No. 50 when he had a feeling something might happen. He remembers there being five or six teams he thought had interest. “I talked to them a lot,” he recalls. “My agent knew that and said, ‘You never know what could happen here.'”

Around that time, someone on the draft floor caught his attention. The nerves started setting in.

“I forgot who it was, but one of the scouts with Anaheim gave me a thumbs up,” Montour says with a laugh. “He found me in the crowd. I wasn’t too far. He was kind of waving. I glanced over and he was smiling and giving me a thumbs up. So I thought, ‘Let’s wait and see.’ I was kind of shaken a little bit.”

After hearing his name, Montour knew it was real. “The nerves and excitement hit me right then,” he says. “I went down and met everybody, and then did media and pictures. Met up with my parents again and we went up to the suite to meet the owners and a couple other players that were drafted.”

Following the draft, Martin Madden, Anaheim’s director of professional/amateur scouting, had this to say about Montour. “He’s an interesting story. He was playing with his junior team last year, and he played as much forward as he did defense. Then he moved to the USHL and he just blew that league wide open from the defense in terms of his offense. Knowing we didn’t have a third or a fourth [round pick], we felt comfortable swinging hard for that pick and going for that homerun-type of selection with him.”

Since then, Montour quickly climbed the ranks. He earned 20 points (3g/17a) in 21 games with UMass Amherst before stints in Norfolk (Anaheim’s previous AHL affiliate) and San Diego.

Montour recently completed his second season with the Ducks, collecting 32 points (9g/23a) with a +16 rating in 80 games. He co-led NHL defensemen with five game-winning goals, which matched a single-season team record by a blueliner, and finished second among Ducks defensemen in goals and tied for second in points.

Blog post coming up next… Ducks 2018 NHL Drafted players

This season marks the 25th Anniversary of the Anaheim Ducks franchise. It is going to be a season filled with many surprises and who knows maybe one of those many surprises might be going far in the Stanley Cup Playoffs!!!!

LET’S GO DUCKS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Please leave any of your comments on the blog in the comment section. If you have any recommendations or thoughts or changes I could make simply email me at megzduckshockey@outlook.com

IMPORTANT INFORMATION

*Remember to download the NHL app to access everything Ducks. It’s a go to place to see stats on players, you can subscribe in order to listen to the game just like you would in the car, track the team points to see what place they stand in for the playoffs, and my favorites you can shop through the app and read articles of and watch interviews of the games and everything to do with the Anaheim Ducks.*

Most of you are probably on Social Media so here’s another source to get: Follow the Anaheim Ducks on Twitter and Instagram if you don’t already. It is a great way to stay in the loop of what is going to be happening with the Ducks and the Honda Center. Also you can follow each player on Twitter to see what they are up to besides playing the game and practicing for the games.

*Continue to check out the Ducks Team Store because there is always new items and merchandise that the Anaheim Ducks Team Store. So check it out before it’s gone.*

Resources:

Sources: Anaheim Ducks Player News- Ducks Daily and Twitter @AnaheimDucks

Sources are all by The Anaheim Ducks/ anaheimducks.com

Source: Kyle Shohara- “Draft Day Memories: Brandon Montour” “Draft Day Memories: Josh Manson” “Draft Day Memories: Cam Fowler”

Source Adam Brady- “The 2003 Draft: One for the Ages”

Photos by The Anaheim Ducks

 

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