Anaheim Ducks Fall 2013 Prospect Preview

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Anaheim Ducks Fall 2013 Prospect Preview

2012-13 Regular Season Record: 30-12-6
Place: 2nd, Western Conference
AHL Affiliate: Norfolk Admirals
2013-14 Preseason Games:
9/18 @ Colorado
9/20 @ San Jose
9/24 @ Los Angeles
Season Opener: 10/2 Colorado
2004-2008 Draft Success (more than 25 NHL games; minus current NHL prospects): 35.3% (12/34)
2013 Draft: First round, # 26–Shea Theodore, D
Second round, # 15–Nick Sorensen, RW
Third round, # 26–Keaton Thompson, D
Fifth round, # 26–Grant Besse, RW
Sixth round, # 26–Miro Aaltonen, C
Potential 2014 Draft Picks: First round (2–Anaheim and Ottawa), Second round (1), Third round
(1), Fourth round (1), Fifth round (0–traded to Pittsburgh), Sixth round (1),
Seventh round (0–traded to Toronto)

Team Overview:

Not only do the Ducks have an excellent team at the NHL level, the organization has a number of very strong prospects at every position. Although the Ducks’ personnel plans may depend in part on the soon to be made decisions by Teemu Selanne, no matter what Selanne’s course of action in Anaheim is expected to compete once again for the Western Conference and Pacific Division titles.

One has to be impressed with the use the team has made of its first round picks over the last few years, with many of those top prospects either already NHL regulars or about to be. When you look at the NHL roster and add the rest of the excellent prospect pool coming up behind the current players, there are no glaring holes, and it is easy to see why we think that Anaheim is well positioned for both the 2013-14 season and the years ahead.

Prospect Evaluation:

Goaltending–The goaltending situation in Anaheim is an embarrassment of riches. Jonas and Hiller and Viktor Fasth, each in their early thirties, are both number one NHL netminders. In addition, the Ducks have top prospect John Gibson in the system. The 20-year-old American netminder was the U20 World Junior Championships MVP last year, leading the U.S. team to the gold medal. He then went on to the men’s World Championships in May, and as the third youngest member of the team, accumulated a record of 3-1, with one shutout, a GAA of 1.56 and a 95.1% save percentage. He will begin his professional career in Norfolk this coming season, and is projected to be Anaheim’s number one between the pipes in the future. If those goaltenders are insufficient, 23 year-old Frederik Andersen is also in the stable. The number one goaltender in Norfolk last season, Andersen posted a 24-18-1 record, including 4 shutouts during the regular season (2.19 GAA and a save percentage of 92.9%). Anderson is about to begin the last year of his ELC and will get a look in Anaheim training camp, but, absent a trade of Jonas Hiller, Viktor Fasth (both of whom are 31 years old) or Andersen himself, he is not likely to see much action in the NHL this season.

Other Goaltending Prospects: Igor Bobkov

Defense: Three of Anaheim’s blueliners are in their 30s, including Sheldon Souray, who is injured and will not start the season. Although the Ducks just signed Mark Fistric to a one year contract as insurance, the team may have room to give their young defensive prospects a long look this fall. Last year’s first round selection, two-way defender Hampus Lindholm (Norfolk, AHL, 44GP, 11pts, 16PIM, +5), will get a look in training camp, while exciting blueliner Sami Vatenan (Norfolk, AHL, 62GP, 45pts, 44PIM, +0) should be a full-time member of the Ducks this season. Looking to the future, in this year’s draft, the team selected Shea Theodore (Seattle, 71GP, 50pts, 32PIM, -24), an excellent offensive defenseman, who will continue to develop this next year in the WHL. In the college ranks, players of promise are Kevin Lind (Notre Dame, 40GP, 5pts, 33PIM, +21), who will return for his final season in the NCAA, Andy Welinski (Minnesota-Duluth, 38GP, 18pts, 24 PIM), and a blueliner that might surprise, Jaycob Megna (Nebraska-Omaha, 38GP, 7pts, 14PIM, +21). Anaheim also has several big tough defenders who are expected to get a look over the next few years, including Andrew O’Brien (Rouyn Noranda, QMJHL, 67GP, 18pts, 113PIM, +19) and Kenton Helgesen (Calgary, WHL, 70GP, 20pts, 116PIM, +22).

Other Defensive Prospects: Mat Clark, Brian Cooper, Kevin Gagne, Josh Manson, Keaton Thompson, Stefan Warg

Forwards: Will he or won’t he come back? The Ducks are waiting on Selanne’s answer, which will affect at least one of the Ducks forward prospects’ 2013-14 season. Emerson Etem (Norfolk, AHL, 45GP, 16pts, 12 PIM, -1), Peter Holland (Norfolk, AHL, 45GP, 39pts, 68PIM, -13), and Devante Smith-Pelley (Norfolk, AHL, 65GP, 32pts, 65PIM, -20) all spent time with the NHL club last season, but none are guaranteed a roster spot in Anaheim this fall. All three will get another look this season however, with at least one expected to stick with the squad for the long-term. Jacob Silfverberg (Ottawa, NHL, 48GP, 19pts, 12 PIM, +9), who came over from Ottawa with Stefan Noesen (Plymouth, OHL, 51GP, 53pts, 43 PIM, +7) in the Bobby Ryan trade, should get a good look at a top six role with the Ducks to start the season. Other forwards with excellent potential are Noesen and Rickard Rakell (Plymouth, OHL, 40GP, 44pts, 12PIM, +19), both of whom are entering their rookie pro seasons and are expected to need some time to adjust to playing against men prior to being ready for the NHL. Another prospect starting his rookie season in North America this fall is Max Friberg (Timra, SEL, 55GP, 16pts, 12PIM, -10), the dynamic young Swede, who has tremendous offensive instincts. Expected to start the season in the AHL, Friberg could have a quick impact on the Ducks if he breaks out quickly and becomes the game changer that he is capable of. Other forwards to watch in the organization this coming season are 20-year-old center William Karlsson (HV71, SEL, 50GP, 28pts, 12PIM, +17) who will continue his development in Europe; winger Nicholas Kerdiles (Wisconsin, NCAA, 32gp, 33pts, 37PIM), who had a debacle with the powers that be at the NCAA last season, but stayed at Wisconsin and showed outstanding skill; the diminutive center Kevin Roy (Northeastern, NCAA, 29GP, 34pts, 24PIM), who was a freshman phenom in the Hockey East last season; and second-round selection in 2013, winger Nick Sorenson (Quebec, QMJHL, 46GP, 47pts, 18PIM, +10) .

Other Forward Prospects: Miro Aaltonen, Grant Besse, Joseph Cramarossa, Radoslav Illo, John Kurtz, Antoine Laganiere, Charles Sarault, Chris Wagner