Skip to main content
The Official Site of the Anaheim Ducks

Ducks Remember Their Time at the Draft

by Staff Writer / Anaheim Ducks
The 2012 NHL Entry Draft is nearly upon us and a new crop of 200-plus players will soon realize a lifelong dream when their names are called at Consol Energy Center in Pittsburgh. The Ducks currently hold the sixth overall pick, its highest selection in the draft since Bobby Ryan was taken second overall in 2005. Anaheim’s current roster is filled with players who have been in the position currently held by fresh-faced draft prospects. Recently, we asked a couple of these Ducks to reflect on their experiences going through the draft process.

Bobby Ryan
(Selected by Anaheim in the first round (2nd overall) of the 2005 NHL Entry Draft)

On the combine

For lack of a better word, it’s more of a nightmare than anything. You’re in a room for 20 minutes, then you have five minutes to find the next room, switch hallways and levels. You obviously don’t want to be late for any meetings, so you feel like you’re just running around and being pulled in different directions the entire time. It’s tough. They ask you a lot of questions that really don’t seem to matter or do anything. It is cool that you get to meet so many of the guys and develop some bonds. I met some guys who I became friends with at that thing and I still talk to them today.

On having any idea who would draft him

The day before the draft in Ottawa, I had my final meetings. Anaheim, being at 2, and then Columbus being at 6, were at all the meetings I had. I had a chance to really narrow it down to the teams that I thought I interviewed best with. Brian Burke actually pulled me aside with the night before the draft, because ours was different with a 12 p.m. draft, and said I had the best interview he’s had in all his years in professional sports. He said barring anything huge, I should be ready to be taken No. 2 the next day. Getting up was a lot easier for me. I got a good night sleep that night.

On the feeling of being drafted by the Ducks
It’s something that putting into words is so hard to do. You’re almost going up on stage choking back tears. You turn to your mom and dad, you hug them and you get ready to go on stage. Everything from there is just a whirlwind. They keep you busy for the next four hours. You go from place to place, taking pictures, interviews and being on the phone. You really don’t get a chance to take it in until you’re down and go back to your room for a couple of hours. For me, that is when it all became real. I was just able to sit there with my jersey, talk to my parents one-on-one about it and how cool of a day it was. I think your heart rate is up to 180 all day long. It’s a pretty cool day. They treat you well and take care of you. It’s something that I will never, ever forget.

Matt Beleskey
(Selected by Anaheim in the fourth round (112th overall) of the 2006 NHL Entry Draft)

On the combine
It’s an interesting experience. I found the meetings to be the hardest. You sit down in a room full of seven or eight scouts, the GM, the head coach. They all ask you questions and see what your answer is. It’s a little nerve-wrecking. Same with the actual testing, which is very hard. I actually puked on the one test. I think it was the wingate test because they had someone plugging your nose and you had a tube in your mouth to breathe. You have about 200 people sitting there with clipboards watching you do this thing. It’s a bit of whirlwind. You do it all in about a day and a half or two days.

On having any idea who would draft him
Honestly, I didn’t know. I heard some things. Anaheim talked to my centerman, who I played with in junior. They had four or five meetings with him. They ended up picking me and not him. You do some more meetings when you get to the draft. It’s a pretty anxious time. I was polled to go a little higher and then you sit there and hear the picks. I flew out to Vancouver and had my whole family there. It was a lot of fun.

On the feeling of being drafted by the Ducks
It’s a little bit of everything. The first two rounds take so long. You sit through all that. When you finally hear your name, it’s a pretty amazing feeling. It was a dream that came true. I got to go down and meet everyone. It was a really special day for everyone, a day I’ll never forget that is for sure.

Ryan Getzlaf
(Selected by Anaheim in the first round (19th overall) of the 2003 NHL Entry Draft)
It was the worst day and the best day. The draft can be a very nerve-wracking day, but it’s also very exciting. I had my whole family there in Nashville, and I was one of those players who dropped a little in the draft, so it was a little tense and frustrating for the first half.

You don’t realize it at the time, but it really doesn’t matter where you get picked, it’s just a matter of getting picked. I was Anaheim’s first pick that year, so I might as well have been first overall in their eyes. Once your name gets called, it’s a pretty exciting time.

Pears [Corey Perry] got picked a few picks after me [28th overall], but things are so hectic after you get picked -- you're meeting with the team, taking photos, taking to media -- that we didn't even really get to see each other that day.

Kyle Palmieri
(Selected by Anaheim in the first round (26th overall) of the 2009 NHL Entry Draft)

On the combine
It’s a different experience for every guy going through it. Being a college guy at the combine, you are only allowed a certain amount of time there. So, I had a lot of interviews packed into just about one day. I met with just about every team while I was there. It was a pretty stressful day and everybody is evaluating. It’s a weekend with all eyes on you. It gives teams a good opportunity to see what you’re made of and I think that is why they do it. It’s an experience you will learn from. You definitely don’t want to go through it again, but it’s pretty awesome to be in the spotlight like that.

On having any idea of would draft him

There were a couple of teams who showed more interest than others. I talked to the Ducks a little bit at the combine. Other than that, I didn’t really hear much from them. There were some other teams that I talked to outside the combine. My agent made it pretty clear that it could be anything. I just waited to see. It was about two and a half hours from the first pick to the 26th. It was a long time to wait, but definitely worth every second.

On the feeling of being drafted by the Ducks
It was an unbelievable feeling. Hearing your name called, you kind of black out a little bit. All the sudden, you are up on stage with the jersey on and getting your picture taken with the Ducks guys. It was a long couple of hours to start the draft. You never know what is going to happen, who is going to call your name or if your name is even going to get called. I had a great time. I had a bunch of family there because the draft was in Montreal. They all enjoyed the weekend and it was a great time for everybody.

Emerson Etem
(Selected by Anaheim in the first round (29th overall) of the 2010 NHL Entry Draft)

On the 2010 NHL Draft
My whole mindset before the draft was just to work hard. Everyone wants to be in the first round. Me being from California and the distractions that it has, just as far as the beach and the life that we live here, it’s so much different from a hockey lifestyle. For me to have mindset of wanting to go first overall, it just pushed me and drove me. Even if I went in the second round or late first, as I did, I knew I gave it my all and tried to push for that No. 1 spot. Everyone who went before me was very deserving as well. I’m fortunate to land where I did, the 29th spot. It was longer than I expected, but I wanted change it for anything. The Ducks, since I have been here in this organization, it has been a great experience and nothing but high class.

On his emotions at the draft
I was really nervous, but at the same time I was really excited because I knew pick after pick, especially 15 on, it could have been any one of them. Obviously, 25 on, you start getting worried a little bit that you’ll drop to the second round. But at that point, I was just like ‘Hey, it is what it is.’ I’ve worked hard and did everything I could. At that point, it was whoever wanted me the most and the Ducks wanted me the most and picked me. It was a great feeling. I jumped out of my seat and immediately hugged my agent and my whole family. It was just a great experience. I was instantly relieved. I remember everything, just walking up and shaking Gary Bettman’s hand and meeting the Ducks brass. It was just all good.

I was just really relieved in a sense. We planned a post-first round party. Everyone was at Hotel Figueroa. I was just like ‘Oh god if this didn’t happen, then I don’t know what would have went done.’ It all worked out as planned. We did everything that we wanted to do. It was smooth sailing from there.

Luca Sbisa
(Selected by Philadelphia in the first round (19th overall) of the 2008 NHL Entry Draft)
That was one of the greatest days of my life. As a kid, you watch it and kind of hope it happens to you someday. All of a sudden you’re sitting there in this big arena with your family (who came in from Switzerland) and your agent, who is a good friend of mine, and all you can do is sit and wait and hope. I remember running to the bathroom every five minutes to make sure my fly was up and all that stuff, just in case I got picked. I was so nervous, and every minute seemed like 10 minutes. Obviously you want get picked high, and it’s frustrating when you drop a bit, but at the end of the day, I just wanted to get picked and play in the NHL. Finally when you hear your name, you kind of go, “Wow” and black out a bit. Then you look over and see your parents and your mom crying and all that. It’s pretty crazy.

You walk on that stage and you know you’re going to be part of that organization. For me, the NHL was so big and so special when I was a kid playing in Switzerland in juniors. You always wear hats of NHL teams you like, but then when you’re putting on that hat and the jersey of a team you’re actually part of, it’s really special. Even though I kept checking before I want on stage, I saw the video later and saw that my shirt was untucked. That was pretty funny. But it was a special day, and it’s something I’ll always look back on and smile.
View More