The Anaheim Ducks have announced that they have cut defenseman Brendan Mikkelson and forward Logan MacMillan. Mikkelson will report to Toronto of the AHL and MacMillan was assigned to Bakersfield of the ECHL.
These final two cuts bring the Ducks down to the NHL maximum 23-man roster required for the regular season. To see the complete roster for the regular season, click here.
The assignment of MacMillan is no surprise at all as Head Coach Randy Carlyle suggested that MacMillan was only with the team to gain exposure to the NHL. The assignment of Mikkelson, however, is a bit of a surprise considering he played extremely well during preseason games and seemed to have developed into a quality young defenseman. Mikkelson’s final preseason game against the Los Angeles Kings might have sealed his fate as he did not have a fantastic game despite making a big hit to get the Ducks’ emotion level up.
The move also saves Andrew Ebbett, whose future was uncertain given the amount of scoring power on the top two lines. Ebbett was not seen as being a third- or fourth-line player because of his skill level so the Ducks could conceivably have traded him instead of assigning him to the minors. It is a moot point now as he will be with the Ducks for the foreseeable future.
Erik Christensen has also been spared as he returns from injury. He played in the final preseason game and did not report any problems with his shoulder and should see some regular season game time when the Ducks will need some added scoring, or to fill-in for injured players on the top two lines.
And let’s not forget about Luca Sbisa. Sbisa had an up and down preseason after playing in a team-high seven of eight preseason games. His high point was scoring the overtime winner in an amazing comeback game against Phoenix, but his low points consisted of “soft” play and sometimes making poor decisions. Defenseman Scott Niedermayer will most likely serve as Sbisa’s mentor, and actually has praised his sound positioning on the ice for a player his age.
Lost in all the roster cuts is Sheldon Brookbank who had a poor preseason but made the team based on reputation more than anything. Brookbank was a dependable player for Carlyle last year and is also able to drop the gloves if the need arises, something the Ducks will miss with the departures of Chris Pronger and Francois Beauchemin.
Players can still be called up and sent down as the season progresses, and I would be very surprised if Mikkelson did not end up with the Ducks at some point during the season.