Photo: After a slow start to his rookie season, Emerson Etem came on strong in the second half, earning a steady role in the Ducks lineup (courtesy of Ric Tapia/Icon SMI)
In a low-scoring season that you might consider a struggle, the Norfolk Admirals and the Anaheim Ducks still have a lot to look forward to with several young and promising players suiting up for the team. Between a few solid goaltenders, some talented forwards, and at least one AHL All-rookie team defenseman, the Ducks can look at their AHL system with a promising eye. Many of the prospects are on the cusp of becoming NHL players, and as the AHL season has come to an end many of them have made noteworthy cases for being considered for a spot with the big club next season.
Photo: Detroit’s signing of Western Michigan defenseman Dan DeKeyser has improved the team’s breakout and transition game (courtesy of Steven King/Icon SMI)
Below is the middle section of the Hockey's Future Spring NHL Team Rankings, the staff's ranking of each NHL team's system based on the strength of the entire prospect pool. For reference, just the top five prospects are listed. To be eligible, a prospect must meet HF's prospect criteria. The ranking is done twice a year, with this edition being an update to the Fall ranking.
Photo: After leading the USHL in scoring in 2011-12, Anaheim Ducks prospect Kevin Roy brought his scoring exploits to Northeastern University and did not disappoint (courtesy of Jim Pierce)
Northeastern’s 2012-13 season officially came to an end a little over a week ago with consecutive losses to Boston University, but the Huskies saw their playoff aspirations dashed the previous weekend after losing to and tying Maine in a two-game set. For freshman sensation Kevin Roy (ANA), the season ended even sooner as an injury sidelined him for Northeastern’s final five games.
Photo: Goaltender Andrey Makarov went 15-0 in the month of February. Makarov was signed by the Buffalo Sabres as a free agent in 2012. (Marissa Baecker/Getty Images)
Saskatoon Blades goaltender Andrey Makarov (BUF) is the Hockey's Future Prospect of the Month for February. The undrafted Russian goaltender rocked the WHL last month, posting a 15-0 record, a 1.72 goals-against average, a .948 save percentage, and two shutouts.
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.