2017-18 Anaheim Ducks Top Ten Prospects
The Ducks have been a competitive team or better for several years now, and in the salary cap era that can be a difficult task to accomplish. The keys are savvy cap management in avoiding burdening long term contracts for older players who have their best days behind them, and a steady pipeline of young talent.
Focusing on the prospects side of that equation, Anaheim has done a great job of scouting, drafting, and developing young talent. Their AHL affiliate the Gulls is also a competitive team with several players competing for the opportunity to be the next call up to the Ducks.
Players eligible for these rankings include prospects under 25 years of age with less than 50 career NHL games played.
1. Sam Steel, C – Regina (WHL)
Drafted 30th overall in the first round of the 2016 draft by Anaheim
The undersized forward hade a monster draft +1 season for the powerhouse Regina Pats in the WHL. Steel lead the league in scoring with 50 goals and 131 points. The 19-year-old dynamic offensive forward will return to the WHL for his final year of eligibility with Memorial Cup host Regina Pats and is a lock for the Team Canada World Junior Team. Steel has a high hockey IQ with excellent vision. For him to make an impact in a top six role in the NHL, he needs to bulk up his 178-pound frame and then look out!
2. Brandon Montour, D – San Diego (AHL)
Drafted: 55th overall in the second round of the 2014 draft by Anaheim
Montour is a gifted offensive defenseman who has been dominating the AHL offensively for years. Fantasy owners have been patiently waiting for his defensive game to catch up and for the log jam of excellent defensemen on the Ducks blueline to open up. Montour played in 27 games with the Ducks last year and posted only six points. He raised his game in the playoffs though recording seven assists in 17 games. Montour should be a regular in the NHL playing in a third pairing role while getting an increased opportunity on the power play.
3. Jacob Larsson, D – Frolunda (SHL)
Drafted: 27th overall in the first round of the 2015 draft by Anaheim
Larsson is NHL ready now. He broke training camp in the NHL last year, playing in four NHL games and then four AHL games before being loaned back to the SHL. He got in 29 SHL regular season games scoring only five points. Larsson posted three points in seven playoff games however and also suited up for Sweden in the WJC. Larsson has NHL ready size and skating ability, but he needs to develop his offensive and transition game to suit today’s NHL. He is a capable defender and should play out the majority of the coming season in the AHL with the Gulls.
4. Troy Terry, C – Denver (NCAA)
Drafted: 148th overall in the 5th round of the 2015 draft by Anaheim
The legend of Troy Terry was born during the 2017 WJC as his shootout heroics will go down in history the way Jonathan Toews has for Canada. His seven point WJC performance was just the start, as he carried that momentum back to Denver. He finished the year with 45 points in 35 games and lead Denver to a NCAA Championship. It was a dream season for Terry and vaulted his status up the depth chart among Ducks prospects. Terry is expected to return for his junior year with Denver but likely makes a move to pro at the conclusion of the academic season.
5. Max Jones, LW – London (OHL)
Drafted: 24th overall in the first round of the 2016 draft by Anaheim
The super pest and power forward was limited to just 33 games with the Knights due to injury and suspensions. No stranger to the sin bin and supplementary discipline, Jones plays with reckless abandon, dishing out hits and playing dirty. Staying injury free while playing this style and learning to walk the line and not cross it are his primary development concerns. Jones is a defensively conscious player, has a high compete level, is a good offensive player with a quick and hard shot. The most underrated component to his game may be his skating. His acceleration gives him separation ability, and he is a dangerous shorthanded threat. After the Knights were eliminated from the OHL playoffs, Jones was recalled to the AHL where he played in nine post season games with the Gulls, scoring his first career goal and assist. Jones will return to the OHL for his final season with the always dangerous London Knights.
6. Maxime Comtois, LW – Victoriaville (QMJHL)
Drafted: 50th overall in the second round of the 2017 draft by Anaheim
In early draft projections, Comtois was a first round prospect and even top ten on some lists after a hot start with Canada at the Ivan Hlinka where he scored five points in four games. After that, he had a slow start to the season in the “Q” but still finished with 22 goals and 51 points in 64 games. His offensive production in his draft year regressed from the previous season; a trend scouts tend to shy away from which resulted in his draft stock falling to late in the second round. Comtois will be back in the Q where he will be tasked to develop his offensive game.
7. Kevin Roy, LW – San Diego (AHL)
Drafted: 97th overall in the 4th round of the 2012 draft by Anaheim.
After playing out four years in the NCAA with Northeastern, Roy played his first full pro season in the AHL and performed well recording 46 points in 67 games with the Gulls. Roy is undersized at 5-9 and 174 pounds, but the NHL is more forgiving than ever when it comes to size for players with skill and speed. Roy will need to establish both offensive consistencies in the AHL, as well as improve his play away from the puck to move up the ranks. At 24-years-old it needs to happen sooner than later.
8. Antoine Morand, C – Acadie-Bathurst (QMJHL)
Drafted: 60th overall in the 2nd round of the 2017 draft by Anaheim
The former second overall pick in the QMJHL draft selected after Joe Veleno – who was granted exceptional status. Morand posted over a point per game in his rookie season and improved to 74 points in 67 games in his draft year. Despite being undersized, Morand should play in the NHL due to his high skill level, speed and acceleration and high compete level. He will be given time to play out his junior eligibility before taking the step to pro.
9. Kyle Olson, RW – Tri-City (WHL)
Drafted: 122nd overall in the fourth round of the 2017 draft by Anaheim
Small players need to score, and Olson’s 57 points in 72 games doesn’t jump out, but only eight of those 57 points were scored with the man advantage. His five-on-five production changes the perspective on his ability to create offense. Defensively he is responsible, bringing speed and skill and a lot of energy. The Ducks have plenty of speedy skilled undersized forwards, so he has to compete hard to stay in the loop. Olson will return to the Americans who look to be a stacked team where he should be able to develop his offensive game.
10. Andy Welinski, D – San Diego (AHL)
Drafted: 83rd overall in the 3rd round of the 2011 draft by Anaheim
After playing out his collegiate career with the University of Minnesota-Duluth, Welinski played his first full pro season in the AHL with the Gulls and was impressive posting 29 points in 63 games. That was good for second on the team among defensemen. At 24-years-old his game is already mature; he has good size, is a good skater and sees the ice well. In another organization, he could already have NHL games under his belt and be competing for a roster spot in training camp. Given the Ducks strength on defense, he seems destined for another year in the AHL.