By Allan Muir
At 18, Antoine Laganiere was on no one's radar. Slow, gawky and plagued by questionable hockey sense, he was completely overlooked in the NHL draft.
Four years later, the late bloomer became an NCAA champion with the Yale Bulldogs and, as of today, the newest member of the Anaheim Ducks. Laganiere signed a two-year deal this afternoon with Anaheim. It's expected that he'll spend a week with the team, and then return to Yale to finish his exams.
Laganiere, a 6-foot-4, 215-lb winger from Quebec, had 15 goals and 29 points in 37 games with the Bulldogs in 2012-13. Scouts see him as a power forward, but there are differing opinions on his upside. "He's big, strong and protects the puck really well," one scout told SI.com. "He knows how to fish where the fish are." Another expressed concerns about his skating and hockey sense, but still thinks he can be a piece of the puzzle for Anaheim. "I can see him stepping in right away and playing on their third line," the scout said. "He's a big body who will chip in with the occasional goal."
The Ducks came in as a dark horse to secure his services. The Canucks, Canadiens and Predators were thought to be the front-runners, with Columbus, Pittsburgh, Winnipeg and Edmonton also in the mix. While Laganiere could suit up for the Ducks immediately, he is ineligible to dress for them in the playoffs.