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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, 07.2.2008 / 4:58 PM PT / 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 - DAL 82 50 23 9 267 230 109
2 x - STL 82 49 24 9 224 201 107
3 x - CHI 82 47 26 9 235 209 103
4 y - ANA 82 46 25 11 218 192 103
5 x - LAK 82 48 28 6 225 195 102
6 x - SJS 82 46 30 6 241 210 98
7 x - NSH 82 41 27 14 228 215 96
8 x - MIN 82 38 33 11 216 206 87
9 COL 82 39 39 4 216 240 82
10 ARI 82 35 39 8 209 245 78
11 WPG 82 35 39 8 215 239 78
12 CGY 82 35 40 7 231 260 77
13 VAN 82 31 38 13 191 243 75
14 EDM 82 31 43 8 203 245 70


R. Getzlaf 77 13 50 14 63
C. Perry 82 34 28 2 62
R. Kesler 79 21 32 5 53
R. Rakell 72 20 23 -1 43
J. Silfverberg 82 20 19 8 39
S. Vatanen 71 9 29 8 38
A. Cogliano 82 9 23 2 32
H. Lindholm 80 10 18 7 28
C. Fowler 69 5 23 -8 28
C. Stewart 56 8 12 2 20
F. Andersen 22 9 7 .919 2.30
J. Gibson 21 13 4 .920 2.07

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