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STANLEY CUP PLAYOFFS / ROUND ONE | NOTES

Ducks Sign Promising Prospect

April 28, 1999|ELLIOTT TEAFORD

There was some bright news for the Ducks on an otherwise dreary Tuesday afternoon. The Ducks announced the signing of defenseman Maxim Balmochnykh, who was their second-round pick in the 1997 draft.

"He's a very talented young player," said Pierre Gauthier, team president and general manager.

"The priority for a kid at that age is development. Any expectations we have would be overridden by the need for his development."

Balmochnykh, 20, intends to participate in training camp in September and hopes to make the team.

If not, he will probably be assigned to the Ducks' minor-league affiliate at Cincinnati.

"He's a pro player from this day on, he's either in the NHL or in the minors," Gauthier said of Balmochnykh, who was at the Arrowhead Pond to watch Game 4 on Tuesday.

Balmochnykh played 21 games for the Quebec Remparts of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League and also led Russia to the gold medal at the World Junior championships in Canada in January.

He was a first-team all-star selection at the World Juniors for the second consecutive season.

He had three goals and five assists in seven games and was Russia's co-leader in scoring in the most recent tournament.

Gauthier scouted Balmochnykh between six and eight times last season and was impressed with his play.

"He's as pure a talent as you'll find for a kid his age," Gauthier said.

"He has a tremendous upside. Now, he's got to become a pro player. He's got the speed and the hands."

*

Defenseman Ruslan Salei, suffering from an injured right shoulder, was scratched for Game 4. He aggravated an earlier injury while attempting to check Detroit's Sergei Fedorov in Game 3 on Sunday.

Dan Trebil, who spent most of the season in the minors, replaced Salei in the lineup.

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