Photo: Anaheim Ducks prospect Andy Welinski survived the first cut in his bid to earn a berth on the 2013 USA WJC squad (courtesy of Bruce Bennett/Getty Images Sport)
Defenseman Andy Welinski returned to the USHL's Green Bay Gamblers for the 2011-12 season. As it turned out, it was a season to remember for the Anaheim Ducks prospect.
Photo: Defenseman Andy Welinski possesses one of the hardest shots of any Anaheim prospect. Welinski will play for the University of Minnesota-Duluth for 2012-13. (Brace Hemmelgarn/Icon SMI)
The Anaheim Ducks have a prospect mix that is high on talent and beginning to find some balance across the board. This past season was defined largely by the addition of three Swedes, William Karlsson, Rikard Rakell, and Max Friberg, who captured a pair of awards here. The campaign was also marked by steady improvements and fluid adjustments by players who moved advanced stages in their development whether by role, level, or both. It was also defined in part by a significant loss, that of defenseman Justin Schultz who spurned the Ducks for free agency.
Photo: The Anaheim Ducks pulled one of the early surprises at the 2012 NHL Draft with the selection of Swedish defender, Hampus Lindholm (courtesy of Ken McKenna/HF)
The Anaheim Ducks entered the 2012 NHL Draft in the enviable position of having an excellent second-half record, offensive talent at each level of their organization and an outstanding draft position, selecting sixth in each of the first two rounds.
Photo: The Ducks added more hometown flavor to their team with the selection of forward Nicolas Kerdiles from the USNTDP program (courtesy of Ken McKenna/HF)
While the Anaheim Ducks scoured Sweden to draft Hampus Lindholm, they only needed to meander fifteen minutes down I-5 to discover second-rounder and Irvine product Nicolas Kerdiles.
Photo: Selected 39th overall in 2011, John Gibson quickly established himself as a top goaltender in the OHL. (Aaron Bell/OHL Images).
The Anaheim Ducks dug a deep hole in the first three months of their 2011-12 campaign. They were one of the league's most dangerous teams in the second half, displaying the form that allowed them to host a playoff series just a season earlier. Now, a roster highlighted by stars and a franchise with tremendous prospect depth, Anaheim finds itself picking No. 6 and No. 36 overall. The Ducks dealt away their middle-round picks but were fortunate enough to keep their first two selections, which are much higher than the talent level in their organization might suggest.