A New Life
It didn’t take long for Todd Marchant to make himself comfortable as a Mighty Duck.
Marchant, a former Columbus Blue Jacket who was claimed by the Ducks on waivers on Nov. 21, joined the team in Phoenix the following day. He was in the lineup that night, seeing almost 17 minutes of ice time and assisting on a goal by former Columbus teammate Tyler Wright, also a Ducks newcomer.
“I was just playing on adrenaline,” Marchant said. “I just went out and played.”
Most importantly, he helped the Ducks to a 2-1 victory that was the first of a streak of five victories in six games.
“To be able to contribute to the success of the team certainly helped,” Marchant said. “That’s icing on the cake. We just want to keep things rolling in the right direction. Everything is better when you win.”
The 32-year-old Marchant’s early performance was made all the more impressive considering he had been sitting “in limbo” for eight days while he went on waivers twice before the Ducks picked him up.
“It certainly wasn’t very pleasant,” Marchant says. “I was just glad to put it all behind me and come to a situation like Anaheim where the mindset and the focus is different. It’s certainly great to be part of a situation like that.”
And the Ducks feel the same way about the 5-10, 180-pound Marchant, a center who fits right into head coach Randy Carlyle’s system.
“He’s a veteran guy,” Carlyle said. “He’s got speed, he’s a skater and we feel that he fits right in with some of the things that we’re trying to do as far as provide an up-tempo type of hockey.”
Marchant’s adjustment to the new style and teammates came naturally for a guy who has spent 10 1/2 years in the NHL.
Most of that time was with Edmonton, for which he played 43 postseason games and scored a dramatic overtime goal against Dallas in Game 7 of the 1997 Stanley Cup playoffs. This season had been his first with Columbus, where he played with current Ducks Wright and Francois Beauchemin. Wright and Marchant also played together during the early parts of their careers in Edmonton.
“He’s a veteran now and through experience you figure things out faster,” Wright says. “He’s seen a lot of systems, so the adjustment for him has been really quick. He’s a very good skater and a very good penalty killer. But he also has the offensive skills and ability that are sort of underrated. He has the chance to go on a hot streak offensively at any time and he’s put up some good numbers before.”
Marchant was able to lean on teammates like Wright to adjust to life in Orange County, after spending the last several months in Columbus.
“My teammates have been awesome and very helpful in helping me make the adjustment,” Marchant says. “It’s not different than any other team I’ve been on. When I was on other teams and guys would come in, you’d help them out as much as you can, give them some insight on places to live and things to do.
“The first week was just trying to find out who does what and all of those kinds of things,” Marchant says. “After that it’s pretty much business as usual. You just concentrate on going about your business and playing your game.”
Like Wright, Marchant left his family - wife Caroline, daughters Lillian and Ashley and son Timothy - back in Ohio. Marchant will likely reunite with them full-time when the girls are done with the school year, and he has coordinated with Wright on making visits during the breaks in the Ducks’ schedule.
“I think it’s easier when they can be at home and be with their activities and their friends, than to have them here not knowing anybody and having to adjust to this situation,” Marchant says.
Wright and Marchant also occasionally get together on the golf course, where Wright says, “We’ve had some pretty good battles. For a little guy, he hits the ball pretty good.”
Marchant plans to enjoy the outdoors in the mild climate of Southern California, after spending time in locales like Columbus and Edmonton as well as Buffalo, where he grew up and still has a home.
“Obviously the weather is extremely nice,” he says with a smile. “The traffic is something to get used to, but I can adjust pretty easily. It’s all about focusing on what happens at the rink.”
Although Marchant scored four points during the Ducks streak immediately after his arrival, he knows he offers the team more than what shows up in the box score.
“I’m just a guy who works hard every night and gives it everything he has,” Marchant says. “I think that’s all anybody can ask of you. I’m excited about doing that here.”