Hardly anyone expected Maxime Macenauer to still be in Anaheim. A third-round draft pick in 2007 (an otherwise poor class for the Ducks), Macenauer turned pro last season and spent the entire year in Bakersfield. He missed 26 games early in the season with a “lower-body injury” while playing for the Ducks’ ECHL affiliate and wound up with less than eye-popping statistics.
Yet by surviving two rounds of cuts, Macenauer is getting a longer look than players with NHL experience (Stephane Veilleux, Trevor Smith, MacGregor Sharp, Joe DiPenta) and players drafted higher (Emerson Etem, Devante Smith-Pelly, Mat Clark, Mark Mitera, Brandon McMillan, Kyle Palmieri, Peter Holland).
Maybe the only person who expected Macenauer to be here is the 21-year-old himself.
“I worked really hard,” Macenauer said. “I think I played some good games. I think I
showed them I can play at this level – at PK, on power play, 5-on-5. I
think they see that and that’s why I’m still here.”
Macenauer drew positive reviews after his performance at the Ducks’ rookie tournament in Vancouver. That much was expected from him, competing against players three years his junior. But with such a crowded forward picture in the Ducks’ main training camp, the young Quebec native wasn’t expected to be around this long.
The secret to his survival is good ol’ fashioned hard work.
“Every practice, every game, every time I work on the gym – every time I
have to be aronud the team – I have to work hard. I never know when Bob
Murray’s going to send me down. For me, it’s the last day every time.”
After a five-goal, 16 assist season in Bakersfield, where did Macenauer expect to start the new season?
“For sure I want to start here with the Ducks, but you never know,” he said. “Even
if I get sent down, I will keep my positive attitude. Even if I go down,
I have to work really hard. I think they know I can play at this level.”
So does Randy Carlyle.
“He’s probably been the surprise (of camp) from a coaching standpoint and a management standpoint,” the Ducks’ coach said. “He’s earned his opportunity for an extended look.”
About the only thing the Francophone has felt compelled to apologize for is his English. It’s not that bad, really – Macenauer learned it in grade school, by absorbing a few words in QMJHL locker rooms, and by watching some English-language television shows, at times with French subtitles.