Tuesday, June 1, 2010

29th - Anaheim Ducks Draft Preview

They might not be "Mighty" anymore but since they dropped the Disney moniker the team has won the Stanley Cup so I don't think fans really mind. I was never a fan of the logo that was worn on the chest but oddly enough, I found these old shoulder patches to be sort of appealing. Not a fan of the colour but I like these better than the current "D" logos.

1st pick last year: Peter Holland (15th overall) - The big forward finished 2nd in team scoring with 80 points for the Storm but chalked up 44 of those points in January and February. The rest of the year Holland was inconsistent. In the playoffs he had 8 points, five coming in one game against London.

The Good: Brandon McMillan (85th overall, 2008) – Talk about a value pick, to this point the selection of the versatile (can play forward or defence) and lighting quick (fastest skater in 2008 Top Prospects Game) WHLer looks like great use of a third round pick. McMillan was part of Canada’s silver medal team at the 2010 WJC in Saskatoon and ended the season in Kelowna with a career high 25 goals and 67 points in 55 games.

The Bad: Bryce Swan (38th overall, 2006) – It doesn’t get much worse than this; The Nova Scotian’s stats as a 20-year-old dropped from the previous year and he has now played 2 seasons of Canadian University hockey for St. Francis Xavier. He did lead the X-Men in scoring this year with 31 points in 28 games but somehow, I don’t think the Ducks care.

The Unknown: Mark Mitera (19th overall, 2006) – The big blueliner spent four full years at Michigan before making his professional debut this past season. Anaheim’s lack of an AHL affiliate meant Mitera bounced around a bit; he played a little for San Antonio, then a lot in the ECHL with Bakersfield before finding work with the Abbotsford Heat. Next year should give the Ducks a better idea of what they have in the former Wolverine.

Coming Down the Pipe: Anaheim’s strength in regards to their prospect pool is found mostly on the blueline. Luca Sbisa has NHL and Olympic experience yet still can’t legally buy a drink in most of the United States. Wisconsin Badger Jake Gardiner saw his production drop off but he’s still considered a solid prospect. The forward group includes Holland, McMillan, 2009 1st rounder Kyle Palmieri and QMJHL scoring leader Nicolas Deschamps. Nick Bonino looked good with the Ducks after leaving Boston University. If there is a concern it might be in net where there are a lot of names but Russian Igor Bobkov is at the top of the list – a big, promising but unspectacular netminder taken in the 3rd round in 2009. Brendan Mikkelson should be ready for full time duty next year after appearing in 62 games the last two seasons.

Draft Trends: The Ducks haven’t taken a European in the top two rounds since 2004 when they chose Ladislav Smid 9th overall. On the other hand, in 6 of the last 7 drafts, Anaheim has looked overseas for a later round selection. In five of the last six years the Ducks have drafted a goaltender but never before the third round. Since 2003, the first player taken by Anaheim has alternated between a forward and a defenceman each year – if that trend continues this season, it would mean that it’s time for a rearguard.

2010 Prediction 29th overall:

Dean Millard: Tyler Toffoli (Ottawa) - Toffoli has average size but an above average nose for the net as his 37 goals this year will indicate. The right-handed center has a lightning quick release. Not the greatest skater, but his shot makes up for it. After taking a tough d-man earlier, the Ducks look for a sniper with the pick they got from Philadelphia in the Chris Pronger trade.

Guy Flaming: Tyler Pitlick (Minnesota State/Medicine Hat) – The Minnesota native had 19 points as a freshman at Mankato but is jumping ship to Medicine Hat of the WHL to get more playing time. He’ll get it with the Tigers. Pitlick and Etem will make a formidable duo in the 'Dub next season. (Photo: msumavericks.com)

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