The Mighty Ducks of Anaheim have had a wonderful off sesaon. They have made some new acquistions, watched prospects mature and for once, they had a relatively quiet off season unlike the past which was full of contract squabbles, ego trips, coaching changes and the occassional front office swap. The only problems this year stem from the possible sale of the Ducks by Disney to the billionaires Henry, other wise known as Henry Nicholas and Henry Samueli. The Ducks dont seem to care about what happens up top, instead they are focusing on the future and getting ready for the season.
The Ducks’ training camp motto is “Take the Next Step”. Apparently the fans are ready. A capacity crowd showed up at Disney ICE when camp opened bringing plenty of energy to camp. Heres a look at those trying to take the next step and make the big club and those who are on the verge of being there this time around. And a note for those wondering the “borderline” monikers, etc, it is only meant as their chances of making the team out of camp this year, not in the future or their future as an NHLer.
Niclas Havelid, D
This season, the Ducks have the 15th overall pick in the 1st round, followed by the 45th overall pick in the second round. The Ducks this year should obviously be looking to not only become a better team, but to have their top selection in the lineup as early as next season.
For Anaheim, their main problem is offensive help for the trio of Kariya, Selanne, and Rucchin. This year’s draft offers plenty of gifted offensive players, however, most of the pure scoring talent will likely be gone by the time the 15th pick rolls around. The Ducks, besides needing offensive help, also need a good backup goaltender to help Guy Hebert out, and also, a more pressing need, more help on the back line.
With the 15th overall pick, I believe the Ducks will try to pick up Taylor Pyatt, the left-winger from the Sudbury Wolves. Not only does Pyatt have great size (6’4″, 215lbs.) but he is not only physical, but he can score, too. Other forwards the Ducks are eyeing include Oleg Saprykine and Brett Lysak. As far as the blue line goes, defenseman Branislav Mezei and his huge 6’5″, 221lbs., frame seem to fit the mold of what the Ducks are looking for.
Although the Ducks need a backup goalie, I doubt they will pick one up until later in the draft. So, there you have it, my take on what the Ducks will do in the 1999 Entry Draft. I might be right, I might be wrong. We’ll all just have to wait till draft day to see…
The Ducks may not have a high quantity of prospects but they certainly have the quality in Vitali Vishnevsky. The 6-foot-1, 190-pound defenseman is very mobile for a big man. Vishnevsky who was picked by the Ducks fifth overall in the 1998 entry draft, has been called “a loose cannon” by some scouts, playing with the likes of Darius Kasparaitis, though he isn’t as physically imposing as Kasparaitis. Even though he’s not that big his still tough and can move the puck well. He has also been compared to New Jersey’s Scott Stevens, but with better skating. He impressed many of the scouts with his play in the 1999 World Junior Championship, being named the best defenseman. If the Ducks can sign him they would like to see him in camp next year.