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Maxwell Getting His Shot on Third Line

Claimed off waivers early this month, he has recently skated with fellow waiver wire pickup Niklas Hagman and rookie Devante-Smith Pelly

Tuesday, 11.22.2011 / 6:51 PM / News
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Maxwell Getting His Shot on Third Line
By Matt Vevoda
AnaheimDucks.com


An ever-evolving Ducks third line is getting a new wrinkle, as Ben Maxwell will be the latest center to get an opportunity there.

“I played in the NHL parts of the last three or four seasons,” Maxwell said. “I just never really stuck around. I think now, I’m not taking it for granted. I don’t have infinite chances. I have to take advantage of one of these. I’m hoping to do that here.”
Claimed off waivers from Winnipeg on Nov. 10, Maxwell was grouped with fellow waiver pickup Niklas Hagman (from Calgary on Nov. 14) and rookie Devante Smith-Pelly during Anaheim’s return to practice Tuesday at Honda Center. The trio hit the ice for the first time together midway through the first period of last Sunday’s 4-2 loss to Detroit and generated some good chances down the stretch.

“There is some speed and skill on that line,” Maxwell said. “I think we’re clicking pretty well in practice. Hags is a seasoned guy, so he can help us out there. Things change quickly in this sport, so you never know if you’re going to be there for a couple games or a couple of shifts. It’s up in the air.”

This is an opportunity the 23-year-old Maxwell has long waited for. His first chance in the NHL came with Montreal in December 2008, when then-Canadiens captain Saku Koivu was out with a foot injury. He would only play in a total of 20 games with the Habs over the next two years.

He was dealt to Atlanta this past February and scored his first goal on March 27 against Ottawa. He relocated to Winnipeg with the team, but never felt he quite fit into the Jets’ plans. After being plucked off waivers by Anaheim, it took him almost a week to join the team as he awaited his work visa. Now entrenched with the team, Maxwell is looking to capitalize on the current opening at third-line pivot.

“I played in the NHL parts of the last three or four seasons,” Maxwell said. “I just never really stuck around. I think now, I’m not taking it for granted. I don’t have infinite chances. I have to take advantage of one of these. I’m hoping to do that here.”

Maxwell logged 7:15 of ice time in his Anaheim debut, firing two shots on net and winning four out of seven faceoffs he took. Hagman and Ducks head coach Randy Carlyle were impressed with what they saw from him against the Red Wings. “He controls the puck well and is a strong skater,” Hagman said. “He had good poise with the puck and did smart things with it. He has been doing the same things in practice.”

Added Carlyle, “He displayed in a couple of instances his hockey sense and his ability with the puck. We think that we’ll give him a look in the middle right now with Hagman and Smith-Pelly. We’ve experimented and tried other people there. I don’t think we were really comfortable with that. It’s a little too early to put (Maxime) Macenauer in that situation, being in that he is a younger player than Maxwell and less experienced.”

“It was an anxious for me getting down here and getting things going," Maxwell said. "Now that I’m back in the swing of things, I’m feeling good. I am excited to help out, get some wins and contribute wherever I can.”
Along with the 37 NHL games he currently has under his belt, Maxwell has played another 179 down in the AHL since signing his entry-level contract in the 2008. In three seasons with the Hamilton Bulldogs, Montreal’s affiliate, he amassed 49 goals and 142 points. He feels he can bring some of that scoring ability to the Ducks, while also being sound in his own end of the ice.

“I think I can play that two-way game,” Maxwell said. “I know my role. I just have to contribute a little more offensively. Coming down here, I’m in a position to do that with a little more ice time. Hopefully, I can step in, put the puck in a couple of times and keep it out of our net.”

He has joined the Ducks at a time where the team is finding wins hard to come by. The club will battle Pacific Division foe Phoenix tomorrow having gone 2-10-3 in their last 15 games played. Getting a full 60 minutes of play from the team continues to be stressed by the coaching staff. Maxwell and the rest of the Anaheim roster are eager to put it together.

“I jumped into a situation here where they have a couple of losses strung together,” Maxwell said. “It was an anxious for me getting down here and getting things going. Now that I’m back in the swing of things, I’m feeling good. I am excited to help out, get some wins and contribute wherever I can.”

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STANDINGS

WESTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
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

STATS

2013-2014 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
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
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
F. Andersen 20 5 0 .923 2.29
J. Hiller 29 13 7 .911 2.48
 

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