Guy Hebert went fishing Thursday near Troy, N.Y., and came back a Mighty Duck.
Glenn Healy was in Ireland. Terry Yake and his wife, Tanya, were waiting to see if they would be calling the nice Mighty Duck season-ticket holders they had met while honeymooning in Hawaii. They will, he says, and that offer of hospitality better have been serious because it is about to be accepted.
Until Thursday, the Mighty Ducks mostly sold T-shirts and season tickets. But at the NHL expansion draft, they finally got some names to put on jerseys, selecting 24 players.
General Manager Jack Ferreira, suffering from a painful skin condition, rallied to direct the team’s selections from a draft table that included Walt Disney Co. Chairman Michael Eisner, wearing a Mighty Duck baseball cap and a Mickey Mouse tie.
After losing a coin toss that allowed the Florida Panthers to take goaltender John Vanbiesbrouck from Vancouver with the No. 1 pick, the Ducks quickly used the Nos. 2 and 3 picks to chose Hebert, 26, a talented St. Louis goalie who would be better known if he weren’t the backup to Curtis Joseph; and Glenn Healy, 30, the former King whose inspired goaltending helped the New York Islanders upset Pittsburgh in the playoffs.
“We’re really pleased,” Ferreira said after drafting a team heavy on youth and surprisingly heavy on heavies. Chicago’s Stu Grimson, Pittsburgh’s Troy Loney and the Kings’ Jim Thomson were among the enforcers taken, indicating the team’s commitment to the Disney image won’t mean no fighting allowed.
“Scoring, it’s going to be tough some nights,” said Ferreira, who picked up a second King in forward Lonnie Loach. “We’re hoping the young guys will develop, like Tim Sweeney and Steve King. . . . We’ll be counting on goaltending and defense.”
It would appear so. The team’s 13 forwards combined for 73 NHL goals last season. Alexander Mogilny and Teemu Selanne each scored more. The leading scorers the Ducks picked were Hartford’s Yake, who had 22 goals and 31 assists, and Anatoli Semenov from Vancouver, who had 12 goals and 37 assists.
Goaltenders were the prime consideration of the draft because of the players available, with the existing 24 teams able to protect only one goalie each. Had the Ducks won the coin flip, they would have taken Vancouver’s Kay Whitmore with the No. 1 pick, but draft guidelines allowed teams to lose only one goaltender, so Vanbiesbrouck’s selection took Whitmore off the board.
After Hebert and Healy, the Ducks’ third goaltender is Edmonton’s Ron Tugnutt, but the team stands a chance of losing one of their choices and three players overall today in Phase II of the expansion draft, when the other recent expansion teams--Tampa Bay, Ottawa and San Jose--have an opportunity to select from the 1993 teams’ unprotected players. The Ducks are likely to protect Hebert and gamble that no one will take Healy, a restricted free agent who could be signed away unless his team matches other offers.
The rest of the draft pool got thinner as the day went on, because teams were allowed to lose only two players, and could not lose both a goalie and a defenseman.
The Ducks let Florida make the first choice among defensemen so they could take the second and third, selecting New Jersey’s Alexei Kasatonov, 33, a Russian who has been in the NHL four years; and Montreal’s Sean Hill, 23, a highly regarded youngster.
The Ducks used their first forward selection to take King, a 24-year-old who had only seven goals in 24 games with the New York Rangers this season but had 68 points in 53 minor league games.
Still, the team that plays at Anaheim Arena might not resemble the group chosen Thursday. The Ducks could lose players in Phase II, make trades or sign free agents, and perhaps only 65% of the team will be from the expansion draft.
Thursday gave them a piece of history, though.
ANAHEIM MIGHTY DUCKS
Robin Bawa (Forward) San Jose; Bob Corkum (F) Buffalo; Bobby Dollas (Defenseman) Detroit; Mark Ferner (D) Ottawa; Stu Grimson (F) Chicago; Trevor Halverson (F) Washington; Glenn Healy (Goaltender) N.Y. Islanders; Guy Hebert (G) St. Louis; Sean Hill (d) Montreal; Bill Houlder (D) Buffalo; Alexei Kasatonov (D) New Jersey; Steven King (F) N.Y. Rangers; Randy Ladouceur (D) Hartford; Lonnie Loach (F) Kings; Troy Loney (F) Pittsburgh; Joe Sacco (F) Toronto; Anatoli Semenov (F) Vancouver; Jarrod Skalde (F) New Jersey; Tim Sweeney (F) Boston; Jim Thomson (F) Kings; Ron Tugnutt (G) Edmonton; Dennis Vial (D) Tampa Bay; David Williams (D) San Jose; Terry Yake (F) Hartford.
Steve Bancroft (D) Winnipeg; Doug Barrault (F) Dallas; Jesse Belanger (F) Montreal; Joe Cirella (D) N.Y. Rangers; Tom Fitzgerald (F) N.Y. Islanders; Mark Fitzpatrick (G) Quebec; Randy Gilhen (F) Tampa Bay; Alexander Godynyuk (D) Calgary; Gord Hynes (D) Philadelphia; Mike Hough (F) Washington; Paul Laus (D) Pittsburgh; Marc Labelle (F) Ottawa; Scott Levins (F) Winnipeg; Bill Lindsay (F) Quebec; Andrei Lomakin (F) Philadelphia; Dave Lowry (F) St. Louis; Scott Mellanby (F) Edmonton; Gord Murphy (D) Dallas; Daren Puppa (G) Toronto; Stefane Richer (D) Boston; Brian Skrudland (F) Calgary; Pete Stauber (F) Detroit; Milan Tichy (D) Chicago; John Vanbiesbrouck (G) Vancouver.