Max Comtois was selected in the second round (50th overall) by the Anaheim Ducks in the 2017 NHL Entry Draft. He signed a three-year entry-level contract with the Ducks in March of 2018. At the age of 19, he made the 2018-19 opening-night roster, coming out of his first training camp. That night he scored his first NHL goal on his first shot within the first minute of the match.
Fast forward to 2020-21, and Comtois has been a big part of the Ducks this season, having played 46 games thus far. He has become a leading scorer, with an NHL career-high of 13 goals, a playmaker with 15 assists, a leader, and a fighter for Anaheim. Over the years, he has picked up the nickname “Mad Max” — so how did he get to be where he is now, and where can he take Anaheim in the future?
Before making it to Anaheim, in 2015, he was drafted by the Victoriaville Tigres, a close hometown team for Comtois, who is from Quebec. There he’d shine, becoming a big-time scorer for the Tigres. In his first two seasons, Comtois scored 48 goals, then nearly doubled in his third season with 44 goals. That’s when the Ducks really took an interest in the young prospect.
The start of his NHL career in 2018 looked bright, with two goals and seven points within 10 games, until he suffered a lower-body injury, which put him out temporarily. When he was ready to get back on the ice with the Ducks, they decided to assign him to their AHL team, San Deigo Gulls. Soon after, Comtois was again pushed back to his junior team in Canada, the Drummondville Voltigeurs, of the QMJHL.
Having been on the gold medal-winning team for the 2018 World Hockey Junior Championships, he was quickly promoted with Canada to become the captain of their national junior team for 2019. Being the only player that returned to the team that year for Canada, Comtois had the experience and was proud to represent Canada but also get back on NHL ice. Comtois became a strong leader for team Canada and had the determination to return to Anaheim.
“Just to represent my teammates and the coaching staff and that they believe in me, that I can assume this role and be a leader on this team, it’s a huge honor, we have 11 captains on our team from their club teams so it’s a huge honor to represent them.”
During that tournament, Mad Max put up four goals in the first match against Denmark, making Comtois only the fifth Canadian player to score 4 goals in a World Junior game. He later expressed that he had played the entire tournament with a separated shoulder.
Back in California
In 2019, after that tournament with Canada, Comtois returned to California with the San Diego Gulls. There he continued to stay consistent, picking up assists and scoring goals until the Ducks wanted him on the team for the 2019-20 season. He went on to play 29 games with the Ducks, scoring 5 goals and 6 assists. With 2020 chaos and the Ducks not in the playoffs, this gave the Ducks time to refocus for a new season ahead.
During that summer, I was in Newport Beach, California, walking along the boardwalk, when I had surprisingly walked up on a game of roller hockey. Full teams, nets, and guys on the bench taking in the view and the game. I was so happy to see live hockey; I made my family stay and watch.
With the players zooming past us, it felt like we were right up against the glass, only we were on the sand and there was no barrier. These men ranged from all ages, some clear beginners to some old-timers reliving their glory days, along with mid-range players who stood out. During this scrimmage we pointed out one guy, in particular, that was all over the place making plays, scoring, and laughing. My Dad said, “I think that guy plays for the Ducks”, I didn’t believe that a player at that level would be playing a scrimmage on the beach blacktop.
Well, he was right, and it was Comtois. It was refreshing to see someone from that level of hockey genuinely enjoying themselves and doing what they love most. The NHL and AHL along with divisions lower can be so intense and stressful, players sometimes forget why they love playing hockey. This “Pro Beach Hockey Association” is a perfect way to stay sharp in the offseason while having fun playing hockey at all levels from beginners to NHL.
Ducks Future With Comtois
This season Comtois proves that he deserves a top spot with the Ducks, with his ability to make plays, create offensive attacks, and score goals against the top teams in the West. Comtois is the kind of player who will continue to want to improve his game while helping others shine.
With his leadership history, along with his ability to play a physical game, Comtois will help the Ducks in future seasons to come. With him currently listed as a restricted free agent until 2022, the Ducks have a solid young forward who can make shots to help Anaheim improve their rank in the West.
Maybe Mad Max will continue to prove to the Ducks organization that he has what it takes to be a long-time player and leader for this young team. With his passion, skills, and dedication for the game, this is just the start to hopefully a long career for Comtois.