The Ducks have seen both sides of the spectrum when it comes to getting and giving away the future. They dealt picks and defenceman prospect Ladislav Smid to get Chris Pronger from Edmonton, then won a Stanley Cup. They also received picks ‘o’ plenty when the Oilers signed Dustin Penner to an offer sheet. In the last couple of years they’ve also traded away budding power forward Eric Tangradi, and traded for Swiss star Luca Sbisa when they shipped Pronger to Philadelphia. Anaheim has drafted in the top 5 six times, most recently taking Bobby Ryan 2nd overall in 2005. Ryan is starting to hit his stride.
Now here’s a look at the rest of the Ducks future.
Top Forward: Peter Holland
6.02, 195, 42 GP 22-30-52
Holland was considered one of the ‘safe’ picks in the 2009 draft, but looks to have a lot more offensive upside then people thought. He’s the definition of a mid round pick, as Anaheim took him 15th overall after a 28 goal 67 point season with Guelph, his second in the OHL. He’s on pace to surpass the 30 goal mark this year, although his -10 could use some improvement. Holland is a fine skater and has nice size, if he starts using it more he could become a valuable centreman for the Ducks in the future.
Top Defenceman: Luca Sbisa
6.02, 205, 23 GP 3-13-16
When the Ducks shipped out franchise defenceman Chris Pronger to Philadelphia at last June’s draft they received what they hope is a rearguard they can build around for the future. I’m still not sure how Sbisa slipped in the 2008 draft, taken 19th by the Flyers. He skates like the wind, can make a terrific first pass and can play on both the pp and pk. Sbisa will get the chance to represent his country twice this year after suiting up at the World Junior Championship he’ll wear the colors in Vancouver at the Olympics. Maybe a 3rd time if he plays at the World Championship. He’s already played 47 NHL games and should be a mainstay on the pond next year.
Top Goalie: Igor Bobkov
Bobkov has huge potential and is one of the best goaltenders to come out of Russia in years, maybe even better then Semon Varlamov. The 2009 third round pick was named the best goaltender at the 2008 U18 tournament and this year was spectacular at times for his country at the World Junior Championship. His size gives him an obvious advantage, and he uses it well when it comes to angles. Bobkov is playing in the KHL this year, but it’s unknown when/if he’ll come to North America.
Most Underrated: Brandon McMillan
5.11, 190, 41 GP 13-32-45
McMillan isn’t a Giant and has never scored more than 15 goals or 50 points in his WHL career…yet. He’ll surpass those totals this year, and what he lacks in size he makes up for in blazing speed. That was evident during this past World Junior Championship where he blew past defenders on route his 8 points in 6 games with one game winner and a plus 6 rating. McMillan will make a very good shut down forward as a pro, but is smart enough to play in a teams top 6 as well.
Buzz Worthy: Jake Gardiner
6.02, 181, 25 GP 2-3-5
The Ducks took Gardiner a little earlier than some had him ranked in 2008, but he’s regressed with his numbers this year. After a 21 point season in his freshman year with Wisconsin, Gardiner has just 5 this campaign. He did tie for the team lead with a +9 rating for team USA at the World Juniors where he won a gold medal with fellow Duck prospect Kyle Palmieri. Gardiner is a converted forward who is expected to provide offence.
Photos Courtesy: GuelphStorm.com, TheHockeyNews.com, mediascout.com