Lupul fills Ducks' bill

DEREK VAN DIEST -- Edmonton Sun

, Last Updated: 8:56 AM ET

To Joffrey Lupul, it's all about putting the puck in the net.

A prolific scorer in junior hockey, Lupul was drafted by the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim in the hopes his talent would translate at the NHL level.

So far it has.

This season, only Teemu Selanne has more goals for the Ducks than Lupul.

Entering yesterday's contest against the Edmonton Oilers, the 22-year-old Edmonton native had 18 goals and 19 assists in 52 games with Anaheim. Selanne has 26 goals.

"Lups has been a guy that's been able to show a lot more (on the) offensive side than he has in the past," said Ducks head coach Randy Carlyle. "He's still a young player and he has his peaks and valleys also, but I think the one thing you can say about Lups is that he's a scorer. He's a true, pure shooter."

He always has been.

In three years of junior hockey with the WHL's Medicine Hat Tigers, Lupul scored 127 goals.

Last year during the NHL lockout he led the AHL's Cincinnati Mighty Ducks in scoring with 30 goals in 65 games.

"He's a tremendous player, he's got a great shot, he's got great speed," said linemate Todd Marchant. "He also works hard every night, which is just an unbelievable asset to have."

The Ducks had high hopes for Lupul when they made him their first pick (seventh overall) in the 2002 NHL Entry Draft. And though Carlyle admits he's still a work in progress, Lupul is making the most of the extra minutes he's getting this season.

"Playing 18 or 19 minutes a game instead of 11 or 12 minutes a game, it makes a huge difference. You can feel yourself improving," Lupul said. "I think that's a pretty big thing for me is my confidence. I play well when I have a lot of confidence and get a lot of ice time; I kind of feed off that."


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