Sunday, October 6, 2013

One To Watch: Anaheim Ducks

The once 'Mighty' Ducks of Anaheim will be once again if their impressive pool of prospects reach a modicum of their potential. Depth at all positions should help the Ducks return to the top of their division and keep them up there for the long run. 

John Gibson in net. Shea Theodore, Hampus Lindholm and Sami Vatanen for the blue line. The likes of Nic Kerdiles, Devante Smith-Pelly, Antoine Laganiere, Rickard Rackell, Kevin Roy and Peter Holland are all poised to contribute at the top level over the next few years. And so is this year's pick for this series. 

2012 Choice: Nic Kerdiles - What a year it was for the power forward. A ridiculous ruling by the NCAA threatened Kerdiles college career until a season suspension was reduced to about a month. If not for that, we'd be talking about Kerdiles the Kelowna Rocket instead of the Wisconsin Badger who helped turn the program around after he was allowed to start playing. 

My choice as One To Watch for the Anaheim Ducks comes after the jump. 

Stefan Noesen (RW)
Norfolk Admirals
6'1, 205 lbs
Acquired via trade

Photo: Terry Wilson
The power forward from Texas was originally a first round selection by Ottawa in 2011. This past July, Noesen was packaged with a 1st round pick in 2014 and forward Jakob Silfverberg for Bobby Ryan. The acquisition ended lengthy trade rumors about Ryan and added to the prospect depth of the Ducks organization. 

Noesen has spent the last four seasons in the OHL with the Plymouth Whalers. He scored 25 goals in three consecutive campaigns including a high of 38 and 82 points in 2011-12 when Noesen led the Whalers in scoring. 

If not for an OHL suspension, Noesen would have represented the United States at the 2013 World Junior Championship. As a result he missed out on capturing a gold medal with the rest of his countrymen in Sochi, Russia last January. 

Photo: Getty Images
In many ways, 2013-14 is a new beginning for Noesen; a new league, a new parent organization and new opportunities. The 20-year-old will start the year in the American Hockey League with the Norfolk Admirals but with his size and hands, there is a real possibility that he'll see some time in the NHL at some point this year. 

How motivated is he as a player dealt from one organization to another? How does Noesen respond to being traded before ever lacing up a skate to play professionally? It will take time, perhaps years, before Anaheim's side of the Bobby Ryan deal bears all its fruit but Noesen has high potential.

I personally expect Stefan Noesen will be a player sooner as opposed to latter and that's why he's my choice as One To Watch for Anaheim in 2013-14.

Up Next: Nashville Predators 

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