The Ducks gave Mark Mitera five years. Even that wasn’t enough time to save his status as a first-round bust.
Mitera’s time in the organization ended Friday, when he was shipped to the Montreal Canadiens for defenseman Mathieu Carle.
Carle has played in three NHL games in four pro seasons, all in the Canadiens organization. Coincidentally, the 23-year-old was taken in the same 2006 draft class (second round, 53rd overall) as Mitera (first round, 19th overall).
Carle spent all of last season with the Hamilton Bulldogs, the Canadiens’ AHL affiliate, leading all Bulldogs blueliners with 11 goals. By comparison, Nathan Paetsch led an underperforming group of Syracuse Crunch defensemen with eight goals in just 34 games after arriving in a midseason trade.
Mitera, 23, was part of that young Syracuse blue line, playing 71 games and leading the group with 22 points. In his first full season at the AHL level, he also scored six goals and collected 50 penalty minutes.
Yet even after working his way up from the ECHL, Mitera never lived up to expectations. For that Brian Burke deserves just as much credit for reaching to draft the former University of Michigan defenseman ahead of Claude Giroux, Milan Lucic, Chris Stewart, Brad Marchand and Cal Clutterback, to name just a few.
A total of 12 players were cut from the Ducks’ training camp roster today: Nick Bonino, Rob Bordson, Mat Clark, Nicolas Deschamps, Joe DiPenta, Brandon McMillan, Mark Mitera and Kyle Palmieri were assigned to American Hockey League affiliate Syracuse. Emerson Etem (Medicine Hat/WHL), Peter Holland (Guelph/OHL), Devante Smith-Pelly (Mississauga/OHL) and Scott Valentine (Oshawa/OHL) were assigned to their respective junior teams.
None of the assignments were unexpected. DiPenta, who had already signed an AHL contract, was in camp on a pro tryout but not expected to make the NHL team.
Ducks head coach Randy Carlyle said he was impressed with the Long Beach native Etem, a first-round draft pick in June and Smith-Pelly, a second-round pick.
Playing their second game in less than 24 hours, fatigue seemed to catch up to the Ducks’ rookies in an 8-4 loss to the Calgary Flames at the Young Stars Tournament in Penticton, British Columbia.
Tied at 3 midway through the second period, the Flames rallied for five straight goals against Anaheim goalie Marco Cousineau, who allowed all eight in his first appearance of the tournament. Forward Jon Rheault, who split last season between the AHL and ECHL, had three goals and an assist for Calgary.
John Kurtz, Jake Newton, Devante Smith-Pelly and Jake Carrick scored for the Ducks, who were outshot 41-22. Calgary had four power-play goals to the Ducks’ two. Cam Fowler and Peter Holland had assists on the goals by Kurtz and Newton, respectively.
“Penalty kill is a hard thing. You have to have special people that are
committed to doing it – guys that are committed to blocking shots all
the time,” Mark Holick, coach of the rookie Ducks, told the team’s website. “We didn’t
jump on loose pucks and we didn’t put enough pressure on their power
play. Your goalie is your best penalty killer and I thought maybe a
couple of those he would like back too.”
Consider this a belated, Ducks-related, American Hockey League playoff update.
Since the Ducks do not have an AHL affiliate this year, tracking their prospects’ postseason progress is a more haphazard endeavor than usual. Three (Dan Sexton, Brian Salcido and Mat Clark) are with the Manitoba Moose, who tonight lost Game 1 of their seven-game series against the Hamilton Bulldogs. Needless to say, each was held scoreless.
On Wednesday, defenseman Nathan Oystrick had two assists in the Chicago Wolves’ 6-5 win over the Milwaukee Admirals in Game 1 of their series. Shawn Weller, playing for the Abbotsford Heat, contributed the second of three goals in a 3-2 win over the Rochester Americans. Heat defenseman Mark Mitera was held scoreless.
The Ducks’ ECHL affiliate, the Bakersfield Condors, begin play in the second round of the Kelly Cup playoffs tomorrow against the Stockton Thunder. Kyle Calder, MacGregor Sharp, Ryan Donally, Maxime Macenauer, Matt McCue, Eric Regan, Stu Bickel, Timo Pielmeier and J-P Levasseur are all competing in the series for Bakersfield.
Nick Boynton has been assigned to the American Hockey League’s Manitoba Moose, and Matt Beleskey has been recalled from ECHL Bakersfield. Boynton cleared waivers on Tuesday.
Presumably, this leaves the Ducks with six defensemen and 15 forwards for tonight’s game against the Detroit Red Wings at Honda Center.
Also, minor-leaguers Shawn Weller and and Mark Mitera have been reassigned from Bakersfield to Abbotsford (B.C.) of the AHL. Weller, a forward, was leading the Condors with 18 goals and 46 points and was the team captain. Mitera, a defenseman selected in the first round by the Ducks (19th overall) in 2006, had three goals and 13 points in 36 games.