Montour Prepares for Possible NHL Debut Thursday
In late December of 2013, defenseman Brandon Montour was in the early stages of an 18-game point streak for the Waterloo Black Hawks. Three years later, he is preparing to possibly make his National Hockey League debut on Thursday night after receiving a call-up from the Anaheim Ducks.
Montour’s exponential success flew to new heights with the Hawks in 2013/14, after which Anaheim selected him during the second round of the 2014 NHL Draft. Splitting the following season between Waterloo, the University of Massachusetts, and the Norfolk Admirals of the American Hockey League, the now-22-year-old has been with the AHL’s San Diego Gulls since the beginning of 2015/16.
“He’s earned the opportunity,” Ducks Coach Randy Carlyle told AnaheimDucks.com on Wednesday. “He was a player we thought would be challenging for a spot out of training camp. It didn’t materialize, but he went down and worked hard. All the reports are he’s been their best player.”
The Ducks visit the Calgary Flames on Thursday evening.
Montour came to Waterloo as the unheralded steal of the 2013 USHL Draft. Selected during the 18th round, he appeared in all 60 games as the Hawks won the Anderson Cup for the league’s best regular season record. With 62 points (14 goals, 48 assists), Montour led all USHL defensemen in scoring and finished among the league’s top ten overall point producers. Following up during a dozen playoff games, he helped the Black Hawks to the 2014 Clark Cup Championship Series by recording another 16 points. Montour was recognized as the league’s Player and Defenseman of the Year, then selected with the 55th overall pick by Anaheim.
His AHL career with the Admirals and Gulls has included 20 goals and 68 assists over 107 appearances. Last winter, Montour was named to the AHL First All-Star Team, as well as the league’s All-Rookie Team.
Should Montour make his first NHL appearance Thursday – or at any time during his call-up – he would become the sixth former Black Hawk to appear in a National Hockey League game this season. That number would equal Waterloo’s best representation on the circuit after six Hawks alumni also skated in hockey’s most renowned league during 2013/14.
Earlier this season, Zach Sanford – Montour’s Waterloo teammate – debuted for the Washington Capitals. The 2016/17 campaign has also included Vince Hinostroza’s first NHL goal during his appearances for the Chicago Blackhawks. Veterans Joe Pavelski (San Jose Sharks), Craig Smith (Nashville Predators), and J.T. Brown (Tampa Bay Lightning) are mainstays for their respective teams after each first spent multiple seasons in Waterloo.