Welcome to our
Summer Fall 31-in-31 series!
First, I want to say I hope everyone is staying safe and healthy during these unprecedented times. As dates slowly leak out about when different leagues in North America are starting, we at DobberProspects will be pumping out content every day in November and December to end 2020 on a high note.
Going into the 2020 NHL Entry Draft, the Anaheim Ducks had two selections in the first round. With glaring holes on defense and the ability to put the puck in the back of the net, they took the first step in patching that up on Day One. The team selected Jamie Drysdale sixth overall. General Manager Bob Murray stated he wanted a defenseman with the team’s first pick and with Jake Sanderson going at five, Drysdale was an easy choice at six.
With their second first-round selection at Pick 27, the Ducks addressed their goal-scoring needs by picking Jacob Perreault. Pegged as being one of the best goal scorers in this draft class, Murray and co like his ability to score from anywhere on the ice.
Anaheim would end up making another six selections on Day Two, with one pick in Rounds 2-7. They were ecstatic to draft Sam Colangelo at Pick 36. He uses his size to win puck battles and create scoring opportunities. The Chicago Steel product has committed to the University of Northeastern and will need to develop in his own zone before signing his first pro contract.
They would end their draft by taking two defensemen with NHL size that can move well and three serviceable forwards with high IQ. Check out the full draft recap, below.
Round One, 6th Overall – Jamie Drysdale, D
As mentioned earlier, Ducks management wanted a defenseman with this selection. Whether it was Drysdale, Sanderson, or a potential trade that was rumored, Anaheim was going to improve their backend… and boy did they.
Drysdale has the potential to be a top-pairing defenseman and with the amount of young talent in the NHL, he can be the next Quinn Hughes or Miro Heiskanen.
Making the Canadian World Junior team as a draft-eligible defenseman is pretty rare and by the end of the tournament, you could argue he was their best defender. Bob Murray had this to say about Drysdale’s World Junior performance, “He actually finished [the tournament] killing penalties, which tells you his hockey intelligence because he’s mostly an offensive guy. Anybody that’s 17 years old and could play in the World Juniors, they’re really good hockey players.”
He is a modern-day defender; his skating and mobility are elite while he thinks the game on a different level.
For more info on Drysdale, check out his Deep Dive
Round One, 27th Overall – Jacob Perreault, RW
Perreault has what it takes to have a long NHL career; his father played 14 seasons in the show and he can score goals. Possessed with arguably the best shot in this draft class, he can score from anywhere on the ice.
Assistant General Manager Martin Madden was ecstatic Perreault was available so late in the first round. “He’s a powerful kid. Really elusive power and ability to get away from people in the neutral zone. He finds open ice in the offensive zone and can score from anywhere. One-timer, off the rush, rebounds, tips. That’s why he’s exciting at 27.”
Madden forgot to mention his backhand.
For more info on Perreault, check out his Deep Dive
Round Two, 36th Overall – Sam Colangelo, RW
Colangelo is a big-bodied winger who oozes talent. He has a big imagination on the ice and likes to hold onto the puck to make plays. His size, strength, and edges give him the ability to bowl to the middle of the ice for a scoring opportunity.
While he is strong on his edges, his overall skating could use improvement along with his play away from the puck. He has committed to the University of Northeastern where he can develop the other side of his game.
Round Three, 67th Overall – Ian Moore, D
Playing high school hockey last season, Moore scored 12 goals and 46 points in 28 games while wearing an ‘A’ for his team. He displayed great vision and mobility for a bigger defenseman at St. Mark’s. He moves well with the puck and always has his head up, looking to make a play by finding an open teammate or skating it up on his own.
He is going to play in the USHL for the Chicago Steel when the 2020-21 season starts, an organization that has been a powerhouse the past four seasons. After a year in Chicago, Moore has committed to Harvard University in 2021 where he can develop with fellow Ducks prospect, Henry Thrun.
Round Four, 104th Overall – Thimo Nickl, D
Another defenseman with NHL size already, Nickl will be molded into a shutdown defender if he wants to advance his career. He isn’t afraid to step up for a big hit in the neutral zone or pinch at the blueline to punish a forward trying to chip it out of the zone. He also possesses a big shot with the ability to get it through traffic.
He does need to watch more tape with his coaches to learn from his mistakes as he makes some questionable decisions moving the puck, but as long as he continues to develop in his own end, he could have a nice pro career.
Round Five, 129th Overall – Artyom Galimov, C
It is rare to see the Ducks draft a Russian skater as the team has not selected one since 2001 (Stanislav Chistov, 5th overall). In fact, they have not had a Russian player on their roster since 2014-15 (Ilya Bryzgalov).
Galimov has good skill with the ability to produce some offense, but there is nothing special about his game. He is on pace to set career highs in every offensive category, but he is only averaging 0.47 points-per-game.
With the draft taking place in October, Galimov is already 21 years old so we will see real quick if he has NHL potential or not. His contract in the KHL does not expire until 2023 so the Ducks really have some time to decide if the Russian center will be worth an NHL contract.
Round Six, 160th Overall – Albin Sundsvik, C
The Ducks have a good history of developing Swedish players, so taking a flyer on Sundsvik in the sixth round is a great pick. He has played at over a point-per-game pace the past two seasons in Sweden’s top junior league and suited up for 38 games in the SHL in 2019-20 as an 18-year-old. He is full time with the top Skelleftea team now because of his IQ, size, and strength. He is great on the penalty kill because of his face-off ability and he uses his body to protect the puck and strip his opponents of it.
Even though he gets recognized for his checking abilities, he does shoot the puck very well and when playing with his peers he has the ability to show that off. Once he becomes more established in the SHL, he could break out offensively and turn into a reliable third-line NHL center.
Round Seven, 207th Overall – Ethan Bowen, C
Ranked 119th on NHL Central Scouting North American skaters, Ethan Bowen’s name was almost not announced. The BCHL forward had 26 points through 28 games, but suffered a hand injury and was only able to suit up for 13 more games in 2019-20.
The 18-year-old center doesn’t ooze skill or anything fancy, but he does play a reliable game. He has good size (six-foot-two) and is reliable in the face-off circle. Bowen will attend the University of North Dakota after one more year in the BCHL and should develop at the collegiate level for a few seasons.
When the NCAA cancelled the rest of their season due to COVID-19, the Ducks signed their first-round selection from 2019, Trevor Zegras, to his entry-level contract. The agreement starts during the 2020-21 season, so a year was not burnt off his deal. He finished his collegiate career with 36 points in 33 games for Boston University and had a marvellous showing at last year’s World Juniors with nine points (all primary assists) in five games.
He has the tools to make the NHL whenever the season starts, but if he struggles to adjust playing against men, he will see some time in the minors. The Ducks don’t need to rush the young center with the men down the middle they currently have, but he will be a full-time NHLer by his second season, if not as soon as 2021.
Bob Murray is not one to spend big money on free agents and this year was no different. He likes to draft and develop players or make big trades. He’ll pick his spots to sign a piece here and there, and that is what he did this summer.
Incoming: Kodie Curran, Vinni Lettieri, Derek Grant (again), Kevin Shattenkirk, Andy Welinski, Maxim Golod
Outgoing: Kiefer Sherwood, Matt Irwin, Erik Gudbranson
Derek Grant and the Ducks are like peanut butter and jelly, a perfect fit for one another. He signed as a free agent (for the first time) in 2017 and shattered previous career highs in every offensive category during the 2017-18 season. Then he signed in Pittsburgh for the 2018-19 season, only to be traded back mid-way through that campaign. Then he re-upped for another year in 2019 with Anaheim and was traded at the deadline. Now he has earned a three-year contract (the third time signing with the Ducks) with the team he has had most of his success.
The Abbotsford native was one of the best penalty killers in the league last season and registered five short-handed points. Grant will be a staple in Anaheim’s bottom six, but can play up in the lineup should injuries occur. He is great at face-offs, but should only be owned in the deepest of leagues that count those stats.
Kevin Shattenkirk comes to Anaheim as a Stanley Cup champion and almost signed with the club last offseason before choosing the Lightning. The Ducks have had a dismal powerplay the last three seasons and Shattenkirk will look to run the point on the man advantage. He’ll get every opportunity to anchor the top-man unit.
David Backes has spent the longer offseason training. Ducks brass have told the 36-year-old they plan on giving him a spot in the lineup whenever the next season starts. He has been skating multiple times a week at his home in Minnesota.
As long as he stays healthy, he’ll be in the lineup to provide veteran leadership. If the NHL wants to play a full season in 2021, there has the potential to be a number of back-to-backs, which could see the veteran in the press box on those nights to keep him rested. The Ducks fourth line will primarily consist of Backes, Grant, Carter Rowney, and Nicolas Deslauriers.
Bringing Grant back and having Backes play a role next season will take a couple of spots for younger players like Isac Lundestrom and BO Groulx, but Anaheim has not had the best of luck when it comes to injuries so these two will have their cups of coffee with good leaders for learning experiences before taking on full-time roles.
Troy Terry was re-upped after the season concluded. He received a three-year, one-way extension, which guarantees him in the NHL on a full-time basis. He has dominated the AHL the past two seasons, but now he needs to step up and translate that to the big leagues. In his last NHL stint, he showed more poise with the puck and wasn’t being knocked off it as often. It is put up or shut up time for the shootout specialist so look for a breakout season from the young winger or a potential change of scenery with the Seattle expansion looming.