Photo: John Gibson had stellar showings for Team USA at the WJC, and as pictured here, in leading the U.S. to a shootout win over Finland for the bronze medal at the 2013 IIHF World Championship (courtesy of JONATHAN NACKSTRAND/AFP/Getty Images)
The Anaheim Ducks added several key prospects this off-season via drafting and trade. While the Ducks world was shaken by the trade of Bobby Ryan to Ottawa, in return they received two tremendous pieces in Jakob Silfverberg and Stefan Noesen. They also added via draft Shea Theodore, Nick Sorensen, and Keaton Thompson. The addition of these talented players has caused a bit of a shuffle in the rankings, not due to poor play or a downgrade of potential, but simply due to an increase of quality players in the system.
Photo: Anaheim selected Shea Theodore with the 26th pick, marking the third time in four years that the Ducks have used their first pick on a defenseman (courtesy of Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
The Anaheim Ducks went into the 2013 NHL Draft already featuring one of the better systems in the NHL. With top-end talent like Emerson Etem, Hampus Lindholm, and John Gibson headlining the ranks, the Ducks had five selections to fill in the depth behind the burgeoning young stars.
Photo: Wisconsin freshman Nicolas Kerdiles (#17) had a productive freshman season for the Badgers and is a player to watch in the NCAA scoring race heading into the 2013-14 season (courtesy of Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
The Anaheim Ducks had several prospects transition into depth roles at the NHL level in 2012-13, with Emerson Etem standing out in particular in the playoffs. The organization’s prospects also found success at lower levels of play, from John Gibson’s international success to Nicolas Kerdiles making an impact in the NCAA as a freshman. The following prospect awards highlight many of the notable performances among the Anaheim Ducks’ prospect pool in 2012-13.
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: Bruising winger Josh Brittain is one of only four Anaheim draft picks from 2008 that is still part of the Ducks system (courtesy of Jeff Gross/Getty Images)
Drafting is not always an exact science, and scouting is indeed one of the toughest jobs in the world. In 2008, the Anaheim Ducks had a draft you could describe as disappointing. While the franchise hit big with talented blueliners in Jake Gardiner and Justin Schultz, neither would ever don an Anaheim uniform, instead breaking into the NHL with Toronto and Edmonton respectively. The rest of the draft was a mixed bag of busts, project players, and depth acquisitions. While every draft is going to have the aforementioned group, the Ducks had very little to take away from a 2008 NHL Draft class that has produced many NHL players across all rounds.