Sep 18, 2013; Denver, CO, USA; Anaheim Ducks goalie John Gibson (36) defends his net in the second period of a preseason game against the Colorado Avalanche at Pepsi Center. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports's Spring Anaheim Ducks Prospect Rankings

Twice a year, releases prospect rankings for each team and overall prospect rankings. Just about last week they released their spring Anaheim Ducks prospect rankings. Their top 20 goes as follows:

  1. G – John Gibson (2) – Drafted 2nd round, 39th overall, 2011 – Norfolk Admirals (AHL)
  2. D – Sami Vatanen (7) – Drafted 4th round, 106th overall, 2009 – Anaheim Ducks (NHL)
  3. C – Rickard Rakell (6) – Drafted 1st round, 20th overall, 2011 – Anaheim Ducks (NHL)
  4. G – Frederik Andersen (17) – Drafted 3rd round, 87th overall, 2012 – Anaheim Ducks (NHL)
  5. D – Shea Theodore (8) – Drafted 1st round, 26th overall, 2013 – Seattle Thunderbirds (WHL)
  6. C – Nic Kerdiles (10) – Drafted 2nd round, 36th overall, 2012 – University of Wisconsin (NCAA)
  7. C – William Karlsson (11) – Drafted 2nd round, 53rd overall, 2011 – HV71 (SEL)
  8. RW – Stefan Noesen (9) – Acquired via trade with Ottawa in july, 2013 – Norfolk Admirals (AHL)
  9. RW – Nick Sorensen (14) – Drafted 2nd round, 45th overall, 2013 – Quebec Ramparts (QMJHL)
  10. C – Kevin Roy (15) – Drafted 4th round, 97th overall, 2012 – Northeastern University (NCAA)
  11. LW – Max Friberg (16) – Drafted 5th round, 143rd overall, 2011 – Norfolk Admirals (AHL)
  12. C – Antoine Laganiere (13) – Signed as a free agent in April, 2013 – Norfolk Admirals (AHL)
  13. C – Steven Whitney (19) – Signed as a free agent in April, 2013 – Norfolk Admirals (AHL)
  14. D – Andy Welinski (18) – Drafted 3rd round, 83rd overall, 2011 – University of Minnesota-Duluth (NCAA)
  15. F – Chris Wagner (NR) – Drafted 5th round, 122nd overall, 2010 – Norfolk Admirals (AHL)
  16. D – Jesse Blacker (NR) – Acquired via trade with Toronto in November, 2013 – Norfolk Admirals (AHL)
  17. G – Igor Bobkov (NR) – Drafted 3rd round, 76th overall, 2009 – Utah Grizzlies (ECHL)
  18. D – Kenton Helgesen (NR) – Drafted 7th round, 187th overall, 2012 – Calgary Hitmen (WHL)
  19. D – Keaton Thompson (20) – Drafted 3rd round, 87th overall, 2013 – University of North Dakota (NCAA)
  20. D – Jaycob Megna (NR) – Drafted 7th round, 210th overall, 2012 – University of Nebraska-Omaha (NCAA)

First off, in the parentheses after the players’ name is their ranking among the Ducks’ fall prospect rankings by Hockey’s Future. That is followed by how the Ducks acquired the player and finally, where that player is currently playing.

All in all, I love our prospect system. It’s one of the tops in the league for a reason. The Ducks already have some of their best young players playing at the NHL level that aren’t even listed as prospects anymore, such as Hampus Lindholm, Kyle Palmieri and Emerson Etem who has appeared a number of times for the Ducks. It’s a no brainer that John Gibson was listed as #1 as he is considered one of the top prospects in the world and arguably the best goalie that has not reached the NHL yet. Also, not too far below Gibson is Freddie Andersen who is making a case as the best backup in the NHL. The Ducks cleared a bit of room in between the pipes when they shipped off Viktor Fasth, but what will they do with both Gibson and Andersen?

The overall depth of the system is awesome. Vatanen and Rakell have also seen plenty of ice time in the NHL. However, there are guys near the top of this list who appear to be inching closer to NHL-ready, such as Nic Kerdiles, who is establishing himself as one of the best in the college ranks, and Stefan Noesen, who was a key piece in the Bobby Ryan trade. Noesen, unfortunately got hurt on opening night this year and is just now started to skate, so we’ll have to see how he finishes the season to gauge his progress. Shea Theodore is the team’s latest first rounder and has shown some very good offensive instincts in juniors and is improving his play in his own zone this season.

There are a couple of solid, two-way kind of forwards in Friberg and Karlsson who garner interest because of their two-way style. There are some interesting projects lower in the list, like Roy, who was near legendary when it came to scoring in the USHL and is continuing to put up numbers in college. Some college free agent signings like Laganiere and Whitney add some nice forward depth. Near the bottom of the list is Bobkov, who seems to be getting lost in the fold in the minors. Also near the bottom are some defenseman who are long projects, such as Helgesen, Welinski and Thompson. Helgesen is the most intriguing to me because he’s big, nasty, physical and is learning to be a very solid shutdown defenseman.

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