10. (17) Andy Welinski, D, 7.0C
Drafted 3rd round, 83rd overall, in 2011
Solid is one way you could describe Welinski’s senior season with Minnesota-Duluth. He has again been a consistent contributor in all three zones for his squad, and he has also taken on the captain’s armband this year. His intelligence gives him an edge moving forward into the pro game in the coming season.
9. (12) Marcus Pettersson, D, 7.0C
Drafted 2nd round, 38th overall, in 2014
The lanky Swede had a wonderful world junior tournament, where he should just how much playing at the top level of Sweden has helped his game. His reach and hockey sense are plus assets, and a continued focus on foot speed and strength will help also. He has managed to stay in the lineup of Skellefteå, the top team in the Swedish table. He is only playing third-pair minutes, but it is still impressive that he has locked down that spot at age 19 and on a deep squad.
8. (6) Stefan Noesen, RW, 7.0C
Acquired via trade with Ottawa, July 2013
Noesen is at a pivotal point in his development path. After various setbacks, he is now age 23 and competing in what is only his rookie season. The transition has had its rough patches, but he has also looked quite capable at times. He has been given plenty of top-six minutes and power play time in San Diego this year, but will have to start producing more regularly if he wants to make the jump any time soon. His defensive play can also be a bit scattered at times. Nevertheless, there is still time and promise with the former first rounder.
7. (5) Nic Kerdiles, LW, 7.0C
Drafted 2nd round, 36th overall, in 2012
Kerdiles has unfortunately missed a good chunk of the second half of the season with injury. Prior to that he was playing some pretty tough minutes in San Diego, which has made his numbers look altogether disappointing. However, game to game Kerdiles has proven to be a pretty intriguing player, who could be a nice defensively oriented top-nine center. He kills penalties, plays difficult minutes, and gets loaded with defensive zone starts. He has really been given little opportunity to thrive offensively this season, and that remains an untapped, unseen element to his game.
6. (10) Julius Nättinen, C/W 7.0C
Drafted 2nd round, 59th overall, 2015
A big rough and tumble customer who is currently killing it in the OHL with the Barrie Colts. The 19-year old does a lot of things well, be it passing, defensive work, skating, or moving the puck in transition. He had a very strong World Junior Championship, and helped get Team Finland a coveted gold medal. He is rising fast in the Ducks system, and is looking more and more like a steal as a late second round pick. There is size, skill, and poise in this kid.
5. (8) Chris Wagner, C, 6.5B
Drafted 5th round, 122nd overall, 2010
After being lost on waivers, claimed by the Colorado Avalanche, waived again and then reclaimed by the Ducks, it appears Wagner will graduate from prospect status as a Duck after all. A depth center who does have some offensive ability, Wagner is capable of playing important minutes in relief of Ryan Kesler and Ryan Getzlaf. He has the necessary faceoff ability to help fill in for the suspended Shawn Horcoff as well. In all, the Ducks were fortunate to reacquire Wagner, who has proven to be the kind of inexpensive, competent player teams need in today’s NHL.
4. (7) Jacob Larsson, D, 7.5C
Drafted 1st round, 27th overall in 2015
Larsson is the prototypical, smooth skating, smooth operating Swedish defenseman. He is skilled, can skate incredibly well, and has a brain to think the game as quick as he plays it. Despite a somewhat quiet World Junior Championship in Helsinki, he has been having a great year with Frölunda in the SHL. He has been getting an average of 16:15 a night, and has dressed almost every game for his squad. He is an all-around talent and plays a game that translates very well to the modern NHL.
3. (4) Brandon Montour, D, 7.5C
Drafted 2nd round, 55th overall, 2014
Montour is explosive, fun to watch, and a little bit risky from time to time. He currently leads the Gulls in scoring. If you thought that was impressive coming from a defenseman, realize that it is his rookie season as well. He has slowed production in the second half of his AHL season, but still remains an explosive and dangerous talent on the Gulls backend. His defensive game may hinder him, but if he continues to be as commanding and confident offensively, you will take the risks defensively.
2. (3) Nick Ritchie, LW, 8.0C
Drafted 1st round, 10th overall, in 2014
Nick Ritchie is still waiting for his first NHL goal, and it will come in due time. He is big, strong, bullish, and altogether nasty. If there was ever a prototypical Ducks power forward, Nick Ritchie is it. He gets to the dirty areas in the low slot, and is willing to give out and deal with plenty of punishment to score goals. He leads the Gulls in scoring with 15 goals in 33 games despite bouncing back and forth between the AHL and the NHL. He can be a tad bit undisciplined at times, but that comes with the territory of being an intimidating power forward. Pencil him into the future Ducks top-six.
1. (1) Shea Theodore, D, 8.0B
Drafted 1st round, 26th overall, in 2013
There is no change up top for the Ducks in the mid season top 20. The guy is still Shea Theodore, and for good reason. While Brandon Montour is often the more noticeable rearguard on the Gulls, Theodore is commanding of the puck and the ice in a different way. He quarterbacks the play in the O-zone and in transition. The game is fluid with this 20-year old, and he makes difficult plays look easy. He may have one of the best shots from the point on the Ducks blueline right now as well. There is a presence with the former Seattle Thunderbird that has translated from his junior days, to the AHL, and now to the NHL. In his limited looks at the NHL level he has already started to draw some league wide attention.