Ducks have two very important decisions to make at camp this year

By Jamie Randolph
The Mighty Ducks have two very important decisions to make at training camp this fall. Where will their two top prospects play this season?

Stanislav Chistov, the Ducks first pick (fifth overall) in this year’s NHL Entry Draft has four options.

He could make the NHL straight out of camp which is a possibility as he has the skill to do so, but I think another year of development would do him good.

The Ontario Hockey League’s, London Knights drafted Chistov in last years import draft. It’s an option but in my opinion for a player like Chistov it’s not a good move because he already played junior A hockey in Canada and in California. It’s not like he has to learn a new language or grow accustom to North Amrerican culture. If fellow Mighty Duck prospect Maxim Rybin who is 5’9″ can become a sniper in the OHL, when he is not nearly as talented as Chistov, imagine what Chistov could do. Dominating the OHL will not help him with his problem of cutting across the middle of the ice so that is not the best option. Chistov needs to learn how to avoid checks and injury. A higher level would suit him better.

There is the Russian Super League which I think is the worst option. Chistov skills are NHL ready, he just needs to grow accustom to the physical style of the NHL so going back to Russia isn’t a great choice.

Then there’s my favorite. Half a season in the AHL would do wonders for Chistov. He’d could be in a Ducks jersey by mid-season to help his team compete for a playoff spot. The AHL is my choice for Chistov but let’s wait and see what the Ducks think.

Now it’s Alexei Smirnov’s turn. Unlike Chistov, Smirnov does not have a size problem. His fully filled 6’3″ frame will be able to skate through traffic. He is not short on skill either. His problem is his work ethic. I think he just needs to mature, but some scouts say it’s more than that. Smirnov has four options this year.

First off he can make the NHL out of camp. Doubtful, but possible if he hustles his butt. Anything is possible so if he has a sensational camp let him play, but if he has a “so-so” camp, forget it.

Secondly, the AHL is not an option for Smirnov because he’d be better off in the NHL where he’d be more challenged and that’s what a player like him needs.

Then there’s the Russian Super League where Alexei played last season and got little ice time so I don’t suggest going back to Russia.

Last but not least the WHL. Alexei was drafted by the Spokane Chiefs in this years WHL import draft and in my opinion this is his best opportunity because he we’ll grow accustom to our language and culture and also will learn to play at both ends of the ice. Alexei will also figure out that in the WHL you can’t stand around with your head down because you’re going to get nailed, that should help his work ethic.

This is my first article for hockeysfuture and I hope you liked and I would like to hear your opinions on this subject.