Shortly after he was hired as Ducks Coach in June, Randy Carlyle took a trip that almost sounds like a quaint scene from an indie movie.
Following the NHL draft in Buffalo, N.Y., Carlyle made the two-hour drive north to Orangeville, Canada, population 30,729, home of Ducks left wing Nick Ritchie. Carlyle wanted to check in on his new pupil and Ritchie made the trek worthwhile.
“You could tell he had made a commitment,” Carlyle said. “His body and makeup was much different. He had an understanding of what was expected of him.”
Ritchie, 20, got lean physically, dropping from 232 pounds to 227, and renewed mentally. It has...