Worth the Wait

Nicolas Deschamps had to wait for the second day of the NHL Entry Draft for someone to take him, and he's thrilled the Ducks called his name

Wednesday, 07.02.2008 / 7:58 PM / Features
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Worth the Wait
By Matt Vevoda

Nicolas Deschamps sat for four hours into the night at Scotiabank Place in Ottawa during the first round of the NHL Entry Draft, listening to 30 different names get called. Not one of them was his.

Deschamps, ranked as the No. 21 skater in North American, hoped he’d be among those selections, but the soft-spoken 18-year-old did not lose much sleep later that night. He came right back the next morning, waiting patiently for someone to take him. And the Ducks didn’t make him wait long, as they made him the fifth pick of the second round (35th overall).

For Deschamps, having to wait until Day 2 “was no big deal. I was a little bit disappointed about it, but it’s not the end of the world. I was happy to finally get picked by the Anaheim Ducks. I didn’t expect that. It’s a great team to play hockey for.”

There was no frantic pacing or tossing and turning for the 6-foot-0, 173-pound forward, especially since he had been in that position before. Deschamps was passed over completely at the 2006 draft for the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League.

Only 15 years old then, Deschamps returned to midget hockey and became one of his league’s leading scorers. When the 2007 QMJHL Draft rolled around, he was snapped up by Chicoutimi (in Saguenay, Quebec) with the 12th overall selection.

Deschamps was the second leading scorer on Chicoutimi and first among QMJHL rookies with 67 points.
As a rookie last season, Deschamps’ game began to rapidly develop around Christmas, and it would continue through the playoffs, attracting the eye of many scouts including the Ducks Director of Amateur Scouting Alain Chainey.

“Right off the bat, we could see that this kid has some talent and a lot of character,” Chainey said. “After Christmas, he was better and better every game that we saw him play. In the playoffs, I saw him play against the Quebec Remparts. It was jam packed with 15,000 people and he was the best player on the ice by far. Many scouts were there the same game that I was. It was a consensus for us that we liked him as a player.”

By the end of the season, Deschamps was the second leading scorer on Chicoutimi and first among league rookies with 67 points. Along with being named to the QMJHL All-Rookie Team, he proved to be a strong two-way player as he was also named the league’s Best Defensive Player. Not bad for a kid that couldn’t even gain entrance one season prior.

“It just happened,” Deschamps said. “I didn’t expect that. I was just going there to play on the third line and maybe 40 points would be good. To play on the first line and first power play was amazing for me to show off my talents for the scouts.”

“There’s no winter here,” Deschamps said. “It’s always hot, so that’s good. It’s amazing to be with these players and the people of the coaching staff.”
Having Deschamps around 20th overall on their draft board, the Ducks initially considered the young forward for selection with their 28th pick at the Entry Draft. After deciding to trade that pick to Phoenix for the 35th and 39th selections, the Ducks crossed their fingers that their guy would still be available the next morning. Fortunately, he was.

“He was a very good player that we would like to have had at the end of the first round,” Chainey said. “We were lucky enough that he was still there in the second round, so we couldn’t wait to grab him.”

In California for the first time of his life for this week’s conditioning camp with the at Anaheim Ice, Deschamps is captivated by the new surroundings on and off the ice.

“There’s no winter here,” Deschamps said. “It’s always hot, so that’s good. It’s amazing to be with these players and the people of the coaching staff.”

After conditioning camps concludes on Thursday, Deschamps (a Lasalle, Quebec native) will return to Toronto through August to workout with Edmonton’s Sam Gagner and Ottawa’s Mike Fisher. He’ll return for his second trip to California during training camp and from there, his future and the chance to once again prove people wrong begins.

“This is something big for me,” Deschamps said. “I didn’t expect this two years ago. I’m trying to enjoy the moment. I will play hard and try to make the team as fast as I can.”




1 z - ANA 82 54 20 8 266 209 116
2 y - COL 82 52 22 8 250 220 112
3 x - STL 82 52 23 7 248 191 111
4 x - SJS 82 51 22 9 249 200 111
5 x - CHI 82 46 21 15 267 220 107
6 x - LAK 82 46 28 8 206 174 100
7 x - MIN 82 43 27 12 207 206 98
8 x - DAL 82 40 31 11 235 228 91
9 PHX 82 37 30 15 216 231 89
10 NSH 82 38 32 12 216 242 88
11 WPG 82 37 35 10 227 237 84
12 VAN 82 36 35 11 196 223 83
13 CGY 82 35 40 7 209 241 77
14 EDM 82 29 44 9 203 270 67


R. Getzlaf 77 31 56 28 87
C. Perry 81 43 39 32 82
N. Bonino 77 22 27 14 49
M. Perreault 69 18 25 13 43
A. Cogliano 82 21 21 13 42
C. Fowler 70 6 30 15 36
K. Palmieri 71 14 17 9 31
D. Winnik 76 6 24 6 30
H. Lindholm 78 6 24 29 30
S. Koivu 65 11 18 3 29
F. Andersen 20 5 0 .923 2.29
J. Hiller 29 13 7 .911 2.48

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