By Kyle Shohara
True to his word, Ducks head coach Bruce Boudreau confirmed Carl Hagelin will make his Ducks preseason debut tonight against the Colorado Avalanche. Hagelin will skate alongside Ryan Getzlaf and Chris Stewart.
“I’m just excited to go out there and play,” said Hagelin. “It’s been a long a time. Any time you can get out there with the guys for the first time, it’s a special feeling. It’s important to give it your all right away. I know I’m going to make mistakes, but it’s a process just like with everyone else.”
Hagelin says he’s enjoyed his time playing alongside Getzlaf and Stewart thus far through training camp.
“We find each other well,” he said. “Those are two really big guys. Stew is more a shooter and Getzy is a great passer. I’m trying to use my speed to create offense and make sure I’m good on the backcheck.”
With two preseason games remaining, Hagelin hopes to use them as an opportunity to nail down the systems with the regular season opener nine days away.
“It’s one thing to see it on TV, and it’s another thing to actually be out there and apply it on the ice,” Hagelin said. “That’s my main goal.”
First off the ice this morning was John Gibson, who went the distance in Anaheim’s preseason opener on Sept. 22 at Colorado.
Clayton Stoner will also make his preseason debut tonight alongside Sami Vatanen, as confirmed by Boudreau. Stoner had been dealing with an upper-body injury during the early stages of training camp, but has been skating with the club recently.
Not playing tonight, however, is defenseman Simon Despres, who Boudreau says is “a little banged up, but nothing worth talking about.” In his place will be Josh Manson, who is one of nine defensemen still remaining on Anaheim’s training camp roster. Manson will skate alongside Cam Fowler tonight and Kevin Bieksa will be paired with Hampus Lindholm.
Ducks fans might also see a familiar face on the ice tonight, as Francois Beauchemin returns to Anaheim as a member of the Avalanche. Beauchemin, who won a Stanley Cup with the Ducks in 2007, finished second on the Ducks in plus/minus rating (+17) and blocked shots (107), and set a career high in goals (11) last season. The 35-year-old signed a three-year contract with the Avalanche in the offseason.
“He’s a great leader,” Avalanche head coach Patrick Roy said, in a recent interview on the team’s official website. “He’s played some good hockey for us. He communicates a lot on the ice, and I think that’s going to help EJ [Erik Johnson] become an even better defenseman.”