As someone who cherishes his first-round draft picks, Ducks coach Bob Murray was in a unique place and not all that comfortable with it.
The Ducks didn’t have one to use on the first night of the NHL entry draft at Chicago’s United Center and so they had to do all their heavy lifting Saturday, trying to unearth someone out of the five selections they had that could be a contributor down the line.
Dipping into the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League for their first two selections in the NHL entry draft, the Ducks took forwards – and best friends – Maxime Comtois and Antoine Morand with their second-round picks at the Nos. 50 and 60 positions, respectively.
Comtois, 18, didn’t score as much as was anticipated with 22 goals and 29 assists in 64 games for the Victoriaville Tigres but he is a 6-foot-2, 207-pound feisty left wing that racked up 98 penalty minutes improved his defensive game in his second QMJHL season.
Morand, 18, had an offensive leap as a playmaking center with the Acadie-Bathurst Titan as he was their second-leading scorer with 28 goals and 46 assists. The Titan lost to the Blainville-Boisbriand Armada in the second round of the QMJHL playoffs.
The Ducks have done well in the first round, with Rickard Rakell and Hampus Lindholm having become core pieces, Nick Ritchie starting to tap into his potential and Jacob Larsson, Sam Steel and Max Jones among their top prospects. So without one for the first time in 18 years, they went about digging for potential gems in later rounds.
“Having no first is difficult,” Murray said Saturday. “It’s the first time I’ve never had one. … Talking to our guys last night, they were kind of down. Because they didn’t think the first two guys would still be there when we picked at 50 and 60.
“They were very excited today. They were happy with it. If they’re happy, I usually feel pretty good about it. Considering what we had, I think we did very well.”
The Ducks surrendered their first-round…