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A Look at the Future in Anaheim

(Photo Credit: Kirby Lee/USA TODAY Sports)

After winning the Pacific Division in 2017 for the fifth time in a row, Ducks fans could not predict where they are now.  Anaheim ended the 2022-23 season last in the league and finished third last this season and have a ways to go before becoming a pacific division threat once again. 

That being said, the future is bright in Anaheim. After drafting players such as Trevor Zegras, Olen Zellweger, Mason McTavish and most recently Leo Carlsson, there are a lot of good things to take away from this team in both their young players, prospects and veterans.

Zegras was drafted ninth overall in 2019. He didn’t play with the Ducks right away as he was committed to Boston University where he played 33 games. He finished with 11 goals and 25 assists. After winning the 2021 International Ice Hockey Federation World Juniors in January, Zegras made his NHL debut on Feb. 5, 2021. Since then, the 23 year old has played 211 games for the Ducks, recording 55 goals and 99 assists. He signed a 3-year contract at the beginning of the 2023-24 season, but so did defenseman Jamie Drysdale and he was traded to Philadelphia. There is speculation that Zegras does get traded during the offseason due to a number of factors. Ducks fans will just have to wait and see. 

(Photo Credit: Gene J. Puskar)

McTavish did finish this season with an injury and had some injury issues during the year but with one year left on his entry level contract, Ducks fans will for sure have him for at least another season. McTavish made his NHL debut on opening day of the 2021-22 season where he scored his first goal. Since then he has played in 153 NHL games, posting 38 goals and 50 assists. 

Ducks defensemen Pavel Mintyukov and Zellweger made their NHL debuts this season. Mintyukov played in 63 games with four goals and 24 assists. Zellweger played in 26 games, scoring two goals and notching seven assists. 

The second overall pick in the 2023 draft, Carlsson played 55 games this season. The 19 year old started on a load management program where he would play every other night before injuries caught up to the team and eventually himself. He had 12 goals (and one hat trick) and 17 assists. 

(Photo Credit: John Quackenbos/Boston College Eagles)

After being drafted fifth overall in 2022 by the Philadelphia Flyers, Cutter Gauthier did not sign with them and was traded to Anaheim in exchange for Drysdale and a draft pick. Gauthier played for Boston College this year where he was a Hobey Baker Award finalist and the top goal scorer in the NCAA. He just signed his entry level contract with the Ducks and made his NHL debut on April 18 where he recorded an assist. 

One of the stories of the year Anaheim was 23 year old goaltender Lukáš Dostál. He was drafted in 2018, and has played 67 games for the Ducks, 44 of which were played this season. Despite only winning 14 of those games, he has shown a lot of potential and is already a fan favorite. 

The prospect pool for the Ducks is deep and fans have a lot to look forward to in the next few years. A top-10 pick this year and some exciting young players to work around, combined with solid veterans in Frank Vatrano, Alex Killorn, Radko Gudas to name a few, and this Ducks team will be back soon enough. 

Editor: Soleil Dam

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