Welcome to our annual 31-in-31 Summer Series here at DobberProspects! Every day in July we will be bringing you a complete breakdown of a team’s draft, notes from their development camp, and insights into their off-season moves so far. Following this up, the August 31-in-31 Series will dive into every team’s prospect depth charts with fantasy insights and implications for the upcoming seasons. Check in often, because we plan on filling your hockey withdrawal needs all summer long!
The Anaheim Ducks did not make the playoffs in 2019 and wound up with the 9th-overall selection in this year’s draft. This marks the first time the Ducks have selected in the single digits since the organization took Hampus Lindholm 6th-overall in 2012. The team also had a second first-round pick, 29th overall, acquired from the Buffalo Sabres in the Brandon Montour trade. With his selections, Bob Murray and his staff refilled the cupboard on defense, drafting four defenders while adding two centers and one left winger.
Murray was as shocked as everyone else when he saw Trevor Zegras sitting there at nine. Considered one of the best playmakers in the draft, Zegras fills a big need for the Ducks. The team does not have a player with his skill set, so having a center who can drive offense and create chances was at a premium for Anaheim.
Anaheim’s top centers are getting a little long in the tooth, with Ryan Getzlaf and Adam Henrique in their 30s and Ryan Kesler possibly not able to play hockey again. With this draft being a center heavy one, this was the perfect opportunity for them to build up the middle and take a future number one. Zegras’ vision is elite and his skating is very good, he just needs to add some muscle. A player that oozes talent, he will head to Boston University this fall and is very likely to be a one and done player for them. If he were playing junior, he would get a look at the start of the season; that is how much skill he has. Don’t let him fall in your fantasy drafts.
As has been the case for the last few seasons, around pick 20 is when you see players going off the board that you didn’t think would go there. And with their second first rounder, the Ducks selected Brayden Tracey. Projected to go in the second round, Anaheim’s group thought he was the best player available because of his skill and patience. He burst onto the WHL scene this season, scoring 36 goals and 81 points in 66 games for Moose Jaw. He was also the winner of the Jim Piggott Trophy, the WHL’s Rookie of the Year award.
Tracey is a player you want to get the puck to. He possesses tremendous hockey sense and isn’t afraid to try something new. His goals came in a variety of fashion last season, something you love to see in a young player. Anaheim has some depth on the left side so they can let Tracey marinate in the dub for two more seasons and let him mature physically while playing in all situations.
Round 2, 39th Overall – Jackson LaCombe, D
After picking up two forwards in the first round, Anaheim focuses on their back end with their second round selection and picks up Jackson LaCombe out of Shattuck St. Mary’s. He is your prototypical NHL defenseman for today’s game. He can move the puck, either by rifling a tape-to-tape pass or skating it out of trouble. His high hockey IQ helps him make smart decisions when he is under pressure. A forward turned defenseman, his skating is his best attribute and loves to jump into the play. He does get caught out of position occasionally, something he’ll need to work on as he gains more experience on the back end. LaCombe has committed to the University of Minnesota for this season and will likely play there