Ducks Tales: The Fourth-Liner That May Have Been Anaheim’s Best Rental Ever

DALLAS - NOVEMBER 22: Brad May /

Pucks of a Feather unveils our new Saturday Feature, Duck Tales. Stories about important items in Anaheim Ducks history.

Every Ducks fan knows that 2007 was Anaheim’s year. For a team led by Scott Niedermayer, Chris Pronger, and Teemu Selanne, anything less than a championship was a failure. Those expectations were doubled when Anaheim went 12-0-4 in their first 16 games. However, as the season progressed, the Ducks found themselves somewhat stagnant. With the trade deadline looming, Anaheim’s then General Manager Brian Burke had to make some tough calls.

Avoiding Pitfalls

Burke had options. With superstar Peter Forsberg available, if he really wanted to; Burke could have brought in the absolute best. Nevertheless, is the best player on the market the best player for a team making a Cup run? Not always. Furthermore, was giving up two roster players (along with a first and third round pick) for a group that’s already jelling a good idea?

Analyzing This & That

That season the Ducks had three solidified lines. There was the coveted top line led by Teemu Selanne; followed by the emergence of sophomores Dustin Penner, Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry, and lastly, there was the “infamous” checking line of Rob Niedermayer, Samuel Pahlsson, and Travis Moen.

Burke, not wanting to sour locker room cohesion, avoided Forsberg. So the question now was, “What’s the missing ingredient?” From November 2006 until February 2007 it’d been Shawn Thornton, Todd Marchant and George Parros manning Anaheim’s fourth line. While that was quite the trio of grinders, there was no way in hell Burke was going to chance putting Parros on the ice against Nicklas Lidstrom, Pavel Datsyuk, and Henrik Zetterberg. That had to change.

The Call

On February 27th, 2007 the Anaheim Ducks traded prospect Michael Wall for journeyman Brad May of the Colorado Avalanche. May, who gained notoriety for his “May Day” goal, found himself on his fifth NHL team, which just so happened to be Cup favorites. With opportunity knocking, May answered, as his unyielding, competitive nature made him an ideal Duck. As a result, he was in the lineup for 17 of Anaheim’s final 18 games. During that stretch, the Ducks went 11-3-4, as they recaptured their winning ways just in time for the playoffs.


What made May the perfect deadline acquisition was that he knew what was expected of him and delivered. Hard-nosed, defensively responsible forwards that execute the system are a necessity for playoff success. May did that to a T, as he found a way to be an asset on the ice. This commitment to the system led to May having a hallmark moment when his persistent forecheck led to a goal that sparked a game 4 comeback over the Vancouver Canucks in the semifinals. It was contributions like this – at critical times – that brought Anaheim their first Stanley Cup in franchise history.

With this year’s trade deadline only a few days away, Ducks GM Bob Murray is asking himself, “What’s the missing ingredient this year?” If the past shows us anything, the ideal player is a character guy. Someone who has a lot of NHL experience and understands the importance of being an asset on the ice. Because no matter how big or small the role may be, a team wins as a team.

Related Story: Ducks GM Bob Murray Facing Tough Decisions at the Deadline