Within a matter of moments yesterday, Rod Pelley
and Mark Fraser saw their day get turned upside down when they were notified they had been traded by New Jersey to the Ducks.
|“It was a lot of time for it to sink in over the plane ride, five hours,” Pelley said. “This definitely is new for me. I’m very excited and I know Mark is too. We’re very happy to be Ducks.” |
The teammates, who were in Tampa Bay at the time with the rest of the Devils, were quickly whisked away to the airport for a flight to Southern California. Pelley, a center, and Fraser, a defenseman, were both on the ice this afternoon for the first practice with their new club.
“It was a lot of time for it to sink in over the plane ride, five hours,” Pelley said. “This definitely is new for me. I’m very excited and I know Mark is too. We’re very happy to be Ducks.”
Said Fraser, “It was definitely a surprise, but exciting nonetheless. I had been in a position where I had been looking for an opportunity to play more. I was definitely thrilled that I was not only going to a new home, but that I was coming with another fellow teammate. Rod and I have been best friends for the past six years of being teammates. It’s been a thrill.”
All the two players have known in their professional careers has been the Devils organization. Fraser was drafted in the third round (84th overall) by New Jersey in 2005 and Pelley was signed by the club as a college free agent one year later. Both made their NHL debuts during the 2006-07 season and have combined for 309 games in the league since.
But this season, both had struggled to find ice time under new Devils head coach Peter DeBoer. Pelley appeared in seven games (average time on ice – 6:12) and Fraser saw action in just four contests (14:20 TOI per game). A change of scenery was thus welcomed and each now hopes to get a stronger chance to showcase their abilities.
“It was just one of those things where I think it was time for me to head somewhere else, get a fresh start and get something else going,” Pelley said. “As far as the transition and everything like that, really all I’m focused on is hockey. All the other things come later. I’m not too worried about that. I’m just excited to get playing and help the Ducks get back on track here.”
|“I’m mainly just a stay-at-home, physical defenseman. I like to take care of my own end. I’ll stick up for myself and a teammate when need be. I’m more of a penalty-killing, physical presence, who is going to be on the defensive end of things." |
Both described their games in similar fashions, seeing themselves as gritty players who can provide energy and penalty killing ability. “I try just to be a hard-working, honest player who fans will enjoy,” Pelly said. “It’s not going to be many surprises. It’s going to be a consistent effort every night."
Added Fraser, “I’m mainly just a stay-at-home, physical defenseman. I like to take care of my own end. I’ll stick up for myself and a teammate when need be. I’m more of a penalty-killing, physical presence, who is going to be on the defensive end of things."
Many new faces greeted them in the locker room, but there were also some familiar ones. Sheldon Brookbank
was a teammate of theirs in New Jersey from 2007-09. Pelley and Nate Guenin
played together in college for four years at Ohio State from 2002-06 and spent time as roommates. Fraser, who played two years of junior hockey with Kitchener of the OHL, remembers doing battle back then with a couple of his new teammates, in particular Bobby Ryan
“We had a pretty good rivalry I guess,” said Fraser with a smile. “Both of my years there, we had playoff series against each other and we were captains against each other. We were in the same conference. It was a lot of respecting battles, no real feuds.”
It is unknown if they will see their first action with Anaheim tomorrow night against the Coyotes at Honda Center. Following Tuesday afternoon’s practice, Ducks head coach Bruce Boudreau said the roster may need some tinkering in the next 24 hours. “I’ll talk with the assistant coaches and Murph (Bob Murray),” Boudreau said. “We’ll figure out what the lineup is. It seems like we’ve got a few players here now. We have to make some decisions. Notes
On the injury front, Boudreau said Lubomir Visnovsky
(broken finger) appeared to be a stronger possibility than Saku Koivu
(lower-body) at getting into the lineup. Ducks captain Ryan Getzlaf
was absent from practice with the stomach flu.