While the Anaheim Ducks have always had an affinity towards the European style of player, in recent years they have invested heavily in the NCAA via the USHL. No better example of that can be found than the most recent 2015 Draft where the Ducks, with their seven selections, drafted two players from Europe and four players from the USHL.
If the Anaheim Ducks management and scouts have done one thing right in their recent history, it is that they have made the top end picks count. While every team has its missed opportunities, flops, and top picks that do not live up to expectations, the Ducks have had an enviable success rate. The mid-season Top 20 features 13 players from rounds one through three, while the top ten features eight players from the first and second rounds. They are getting wonderful seasons from their best prospects, and that is one of the many reasons why the Ducks pipeline is considered one of the more promising in the NHL. It is a group whose promise goes even deeper than the twenty names here.
The Anaheim Ducks saw many of its most prominent prospects moving up a level over the offseason. The AHL’s San Diego Gulls are going to be loaded, with potential stars like Brandon Montour, Shea Theodore and Nick Ritchie joining the club for its inaugural season in San Diego. We are also looking at several make or break years at the collegiate level from players like Keaton Thompson, Kevin Roy, and Grant Besse. This makes for some rather interesting storylines heading into the year. While we will not get to all of them in our preview, here are a few of the prospects to look at heading into a huge 2015-16 for the Ducks pipeline and the organization at large.
If contenders are built from the goal out, then the league must be a little bit jealous when it comes to the defensive pipeline and the major goaltending prospect the Anaheim Ducks currently hold. It seems like every single year, when everyone would figure the Ducks to go for a forward in the early rounds, they go back to the well and select another highly skilled defenseman.