My number five top prospect for the Anaheim Ducks was Sami Vatanen. Now, my number four Anaheim Ducks prospect is winger Rickard Rakell. The Swede made his way over to North America two years ago after going through the Swedish junior leagues. He is in his third season with the Plymouth Whalers of the Ontario Hockey League (OHL).
Rakell is now 19 years and his hometown is Stockholm, Sweden. He was born on May 5, 1993. The Ducks drafted him in the 1st round of the 2011 NHL Entry Draft (30th overall). He shoots right-handed and is listed at 6′ 0″-199 lbs.
Rakell is the prototypical two-way forward. He will be the hardest working guy on the ice every shift. He can play any forward position along with playing any specific role his team needs. All this because of his high hockey IQ and understanding of the game. His offensive skills may be forgotten sometimes because of his all-around overall talent. He does have pretty decent hands. He can dangle if given the chance. However, his shot is nothing special. That’s not to say it isn’t good. His shot has helped him develop into a better than a point-per-game player against some of the best players of his age.
He has grown physically since coming over from Sweden, however, he may not be physically built up enough for a top-six forward. He needs to put on a little more muscle to be an elite two-way player. He also is not physical in his style of play. He won’t make any large hits. Also, he has been known to be a guy who is easily knocked off the puck. So, almost all of the criticism he has received is due to his body size and strength.
Rakell is just one of the good looking forward prospects in the Ducks system. Many of them are on the verge of being constants on the NHL club. He has the talent to be one of the better two-way forwards in the game. His offensive skill and upside can help him develop into a very good second line forward. With some of the more aging forwards on the team such as Teemu Selanne and Saku Koivu, who have been on the second line the last few years, entering the twilight of their careers, this team is ready for a guy like Rakell to fill into one of the second line wingers. He is attending this training camp with the Ducks, but it is fairly certain that he will be returning to the Whalers in the OHL. However, next season, Rakell could finally make his NHL debut and once he arrives, the highest forward prospects for the Ducks will all be NHL regulars.
My #3 prospect update will be posted later this week. Be ready and go ahead and take a guess on who you think will be my #3 prospect for the Anaheim Ducks.