The Anaheim Ducks saw many of its most prominent prospects moving up a level over the offseason. The AHL’s San Diego Gulls are going to be loaded, with potential stars like Brandon Montour, Shea Theodore and Nick Ritchie joining the club for its inaugural season in San Diego. We are also looking at several make or break years at the collegiate level from players like Keaton Thompson, Kevin Roy, and Grant Besse. This makes for some rather interesting storylines heading into the year. While we will not get to all of them in our preview, here are a few of the prospects to look at heading into a huge 2015-16 for the Ducks pipeline and the organization at large.
The learning curve can come in various cycles throughout a player’s career. While some players are at a low, others are at a high. For the Ducks, they have a full range of NCAA and European prospects experiencing different points of the curve currently. Some are struggling while others are excelling. Changing teams, changing roles, and the pressure to perform all have an effect. How the player copes with this and grows from it is an important step in any young player’s career. Let us take a look at how each of the Ducks prospects of the NCAA and Europe have performed this season.
As a new face emerges as the number one overall prospect with the Ducks, it is hard not to notice the strong group of defensemen and wingers Anaheim currently boasts. A staggering 17 of the 20 listed players on the spring list play either wing or defense. If the goal is to build from the back out, the Ducks have a blossoming mixture of talented defensemen and one of the best young goaltenders in the world to achieve that goal. Up front they also have a nice blend of size, skill, and speed to complement their NHL center depth. While the logjam may end up hurting some of these players’ chances, it currently is a big boost to the organization in terms of depth and quality.
Despite the amount of success the Anaheim Ducks have had in recent years, they have still put together a deep pool of talent with a great deal of variety. Their mid-round drafting has been superb and they have rarely failed with high round picks, such as Nick Ritchie. The team is currently seeing an influx of role players and depth players to help support the already high-end talent the NHL team has. It is this sort of cohesiveness to the pipeline that puts the Ducks near the top of the league in overall prospect talent.
For the 2014-15 season, Big Ten hockey features 44 NHL prospects. All six member teams have at least two prospects on their rosters. Minnesota leads both the Big Ten and the nation with 15 NHL prospects. Read more»