Six months ago winger Bobby Ryan was close to being a former Duck.
On Wednesday he was named one of three finalists for the Calder Trophy as the rookie of the year for his rookie-leading 31 goals and 57 points in 64 games after being recalled from the American Hockey League.
"I think in the long run a lot of good things came from it. I got to mature as a player a little bit in non-pressure situations," said Ryan, who is vying for the award with Columbus goalie Steve Mason and Chicago left wing Kris Versteeg.
"It was tough at times because of the runaround, all the up and down, but looking back now I don't think I'd change it."
Ryan had an outstanding training camp, but the Ducks had no salary cap space for him.
"I think at the time he was pretty upset," said center Andrew Ebbett, his teammate in both places. "Some guys will get sent down and they won't play very well. They'll just kind of hold it against everybody that they're down there, but he did a great job."
Ryan, 22, led the Ducks with a plus-13 plus/minus rating and set club rookie records for goals and points.
He established himself in December and January, while winger Teemu Selanne was out because of a lacerated thigh and Corey Perry was suspended.
If he had a vote for the Calder, his choice would be easy.
"It's hard not to vote for Mason in Columbus after the year he's put together," Ryan said. "Ten shutouts and led a team to their first postseason, so he's got my vote."
Duck fans might beg to differ.
-- Helene Elliott