Photo: Rookie goaltender John Gibson assumed the starting role in Norfolk with Anaheim relying heavily on Frederik Andersen at the NHL level (courtesy of Fred Kfoury/Icon SMI)
In what could be regarded as a development year with all the incoming young players, the Norfolk Admirals are off to a respectable 20-13-1-5 start. Norfolk stood to lose quite a few valuable players to the Anaheim Ducks this season, and with players like Hampus Lindholm, Sami Vatanen, Emerson Etem, Frederik Andersen, and Patrick Maroon all spending considerable time in the NHL in 2013-14 that fear became a reality.
Photo: The WHL’s leading scorer amongst defensemen, Shea Theodore has nine assists in his first three games in the month of December (courtesy of Marissa Baecker/Getty Images)
The Anaheim Ducks' prospect pool only contains three prospects currently plying their trade at the Canadian Hockey League level, two in the WHL and one in the QMJHL. Their current lack of depth is due in part to large number of prospects moving up to the professional level in 2013-14, and is not an indicator of a weak prospect pool.
Photo: Offseason acquisition Jakob Silfverberg saw action in 11 games with Anaheim, including two against his former team the Senators, before a broken hand forced him out of the lineup (courtesy of Debora Robinson/NHLI via Getty Images)
The Anaheim Ducks' brass has done an excellent job maintaining depth throughout their prospect pool in recent years. They have done incredibly well in the past few drafts, adding players who can score, but also players capable of playing a responsible two-way game.
Photo: Finnish defenseman Sami Vatanen made his North American debut in 2012-13 and ranked in the top five in points among AHL blueliners (courtesy of Bob Frid/Icon SMI)
Normally when you look at a team's top prospect list, the top end of it is a mixture of sleepers and blue chip prospects. There are players who live up to the hype, others who create it out of nowhere. Sometimes organizations struggle with top picks panning out, but that is not the case with the Anaheim Ducks.
Photo: Kitchener Rangers goaltender John Gibson is nearing a return to the ice after being out of the Rangers’ lineup due to injury since mid-January. (courtesy of Aaron Bell/OHL Images)
The Anaheim Ducks have been one of the more active drafting teams over the past three years and have had 23 selections since 2010. Across Europe, the NCAA, and the junior levels, the Ducks have reloaded and restocked their system with a mélange of different style players all with the same goal of reaching the NHL. The Ducks do not currently have any players in the USHL, but they do have five players playing in Canadian major junior leagues of the OHL, WHL, and QMJHL.