Prospects you could see in Anaheim next year

First we ranked the Anaheim Ducks’ prospects after development camp; now, we predict which ones will get called up in 2015-2016.

The Anaheim Ducks have arguably been one of the best drafting teams in the last decade. Because they have found so much talent young players have been breaking into the Ducks line-up at a steady rate and this season should be no different. There are a few openings especially at forward that are up for grabs and it should be fun to see which rise to the occasion and take a spot. Below you will find who Griff and I believe could be sporting the webbed D next season.


Chris’ Prospects

1. Max Friberg

With the departure of Matt Beleskey and the trades of Kyle Palmieri and Emerson Etem there are openings on the Ducks wings. Choice number one to fill a spot could be Max Friberg. Friberg is slightly undersized at 5’11” but is over 200lbs and does not shy away from the physical game. He battles along the boards and has great quickness to win battles in tight and break away from defenders in open space. He has offensive skill but is a great two way player which will calm the coaching staff down as he isn’t a liability in the defensive zone.  He has more than 120 games of AHL experience under his belt and posted 80 points in those games. He has proved its time to take the next step and the 22 year old Swedes time could be now. He’ll most likely be a 3rd or 4th line player as the Ducks top-6 is virtually locked in, (just waiting on some signings). But that should allow for him to enter the NHL with significantly less pressure. But a line that includes Friberg with Rickard Rakell and Andrew Cogliano could be a great third line as each member has a skill set that complements each other and could be an extremely productive line.


2. Chris Wagner

Chris Wagner probably saw the injury of Nate Thompson as his chance to at least get some NHL action until his return. However he’ll be in a fight now as the Ducks have signed veteran Shawn Horcoff to have some center stability. Wagner played in a handful of NHL games last season including a couple playoff games, and although he didn’t register a point he proved he can play at this level. Wagner is a big bodied kid that loves to throw his weight around, perfect for a grinding fourth line the Ducks like to roll. Although Wagner will most likely be in Anaheim at some point the signing of Horcoff throws a wrench in things. Coaching staff may see Horcoff as the safer option as the NHL veteran but doesn’t mean Wagner can’t find a home on the wing. He could learn from Getzlaf and Kesler above him and Horcoff on his same line. This would also give the Ducks a failsafe should they lose a center or even for penalty kill situations. Wagner would also push Horcoff and even Rakell to be at their best game in and game out. If one of them isn’t performing they have a center option waiting to take the spot from them.


3. Josh Manson

Josh Manson played an integral role for the Ducks last season when the blue-line was decimated by injuries. He appeared in 28 games and picked up 3 points but his impact wasn’t shown on the score-sheet. Manson is not an offensive defenseman but should be seen as extremely valuable. Manson is a stay-at home, physical, clear the front of the net defenseman and showed he is ready for the NHL level. He weighs close to 220 pounds and uses all of it to knock opponents off the puck. He makes a great first pass out of the zone, makes smart plays to escape problems and can jump into the rush when needed. He proved he can stand up to NHL players and make plays. He is unfortunately looking at a log jam as the Ducks top 6 seem to be decided and Korbian Holzer was signed making Manson potentially the 8th defenseman. However I think most fans would rather see Manson than Clayton Stoner and if he impresses in camp he may not take the job straight from Day 1 but will be in Anaheim sooner rather than you may think.


4. Nick Ritchie

If Nick Ritchie’s point production translates to the NHL than the Ducks could have a young star in their midst. Ritchie put up great numbers in the OHL including two straight 30+ goal campaigns. He is big, fast, and smart with the puck and based on his numbers he knows what to do when he has the puck on his stick. He needs to work on his consistency and his lack of discipline but with a veteran group he’s coming into that shouldn’t be a problem. Adding Ritchie to a line of Cogliano and Rakell would add some much needed size to an undersized line. But Ritchie has the speed to keep up with them both. But a bold move that could happen if he plays up to his skill level wouldn’t be if he gets some time with Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry. That could be a way to go should Patrick Maroon not work out with “the twins”. Ritchie has the size Maroon does and is faster so it could be a bold but effective strategy.


5. Stefan Noesen

Noesen can’t seem to catch a break. A former first round selection that has suffered two major injuries to start his pro career which has him behind the 8 ball quite a bit. Noesen lit up the OHL when he played for the Plymouth Whalers putting up point totals of 77, 82, and 53 in his last three seasons. But since leaving juniors he has played in just 30 AHL games spanning two seasons. Last year he played in 27 and put up 16 points proving he can be a productive player. Although he has been an offensive star and played in one game for the Ducks last season I’m not sure he’s ready for the NHL yet. He needs to prove he can stay healthy and produce at the AHL level. Should that be the case and I believe he can, Noesen could be an injury call-up or call-up after Christmas.


6. Nic Kerdiles

Kerdiles was a great player in the NCAA level at the University of Wisconsin. He left early to turn pro and had a good year and a half for Norfolk. He registered 30 points in just under 60 combined games. Kerdiles is a good center and can also play the wing. He has great puck possession skills and can make great plays with the puck. He is a responsible three zone player and could eventually be a contributor on the power-play and penalty kill. He got good time this season in Norfolk and put up good numbers for a team that at points last season couldn’t score. 60 games is a small sample size so he could do with some more time at the AHL level. But he has shown growth as a young 21 year old in the AHL, and if he continues that growth the local kid could find himself in Anaheim sooner rather than later.


7. Shea Theodore

The uber prospect that Ducks fans can’t wait to arrive in Anaheim. Theodore is an offensive defenseman in every sense of the word and put up unreal numbers for the Seattle Thunderbirds in the WHL.  Last season when Seattle was eliminated from the playoffs Theodore singed his deal and played in 9 games for Norfolk. He put up 11 points in that span and is only 19 years old. Theodore has good size but could add some bulk to his frame to better suit him in the NHL. He will be newly 20 when the 15-16 season begins and almost will certainly start in San Diego. But I don’t believe that production was a fluke and if he can light up the AHL as a 20 year old you can bet he’ll do the same when he gets called up. The Ducks defense core is pretty well set at this point but the season is long and things can happen. All he has to do is produce at the AHL level and it will be hard for the Ducks to not call him up.


 Griff’s Prospects

1. Chris Wagner, Center

Wagner played an important role for the Ducks towards the end of last season when he appeared in 2 playoff games due to Nate Thompsons shoulder injury that forced him to miss the entire first round series. Once again Wagner may be the man to fill in for Nate Thompson however. Thompson will miss the first month or two of the regular season leaving a hole at the 4th line center position. The Ducks did sign veteran Shawn Horcoff to a one year deal, but Wagner’s style of play could allow him to find a spot at center or on the wing in Thompsons absence. Wagner is a strong two way player who throws his weight around and has the ability to kill penalties. He is the most likely prospect to see a big time role with the Ducks this upcoming season.


2. Stefan Noesen, Right Wing

Noesen has gone through a lot to start off his NHL career. 2 major injuries to his knee and Achilles forced him to overcome high adversity but he was finally rewarded towards the end of last season when he made his NHL debut. Noesen is a former first round pick of the Ottawa Senators and the Ducks acquired him through the Bobby Ryan trade. Noesen’s time may finally be here as the Ducks need some help on the wings. Matt Beleskey is gone along with Emerson Etem, this could allow for a young guy like Noesen to crack Boudreau’s lineup. Noesen is a hard working forward who plays with high energy and has a determined type of game, similar to Corey Perry’s gritty style of play. His style of play makes him an ideal fit to be a cheap young replacement for Beleskey and Etem.


3. Josh Manson, Defense

Manson played a big role with the Ducks this past season due to a number of injuries to Ducks blue-liners. Manson stepped up and showed promising signs that he can help this Ducks team win in the future. He’s an all-around solid defenseman who presents good physicality. The Ducks have what appears to be a solidified top 6 on defense right now with Korbinian Holzer looking to be that 7th man for the time being. Manson will likely compete with Holzer during training camp to earn that 7th defensemen spot. Even if he starts the year in San Diego, injuries and other moves could have Manson playing a big role with the Ducks at some point.


4. Nick Ritchie, Left Wing

After an incredible OHL playoffs, Nick Ritchie looks to be starting next year in either Anaheim or San Diego. Ritchie was the Ducks first round pick in 2014 and his big frame along with his NHL ready skill set could earn him a spot with the Ducks to start next season. Like Noesen, Ritchie could be a cheap replacement for Beleskey and Etem. The knock on Ritchie has been his lack of discipline and maturity on the ice but his size and skill makes him a perfect fit for the Ducks style of play. Don’t be surprised if Ritchie gets a shot to crack the Ducks lineup in October.


5. Michael Sgarbossa, Center

Sgarbossa was acquired at the trade deadline this past season after William Karlsson was traded to Columbus. Bob Murray nicely filled the void and now Sgarbossa could be an early season call up due to the Nate Thompson injury. Chris Wagner is likely to be ahead of Sgarbossa in terms of being called upon to play a big role with the Ducks, but an injury to any Ducks center will likely have Sgarbossa heading up to Anaheim to fill in. He has some experience in the NHL from his days with Colorado. He is a gifted offensive player but his size hurts him a bit as he is not as gritty and hard working as he may need to be. He also needs a new deal as a restricted free agent.


6. Max Friberg, Left Wing

Another winger who could make the jump to the NHL next season. He appeared in a couple of games this past season and he could also be a guy likely to get called up due to injury. Friberg is another small winger with a high compete level that the Ducks love. It may not be right out of training camp, but Friberg could see some playing time throughout the season.


7. Nic Kerdiles, Left Wing/Center

Kerdiles had a nice first AHL season with Norfolk after ending a good college career in Madison playing for the Wisconsin Badgers. He was one of the Admirals best players but missed some time with concussions. There is no need to rush Nic as the Ducks have some other wingers who could make the jump to the NHL or fill in when an injury occurs. Kerdiles will without a doubt get his opportunities to impress during training camp just as he did last year, but he may be a player that ends up playing in San Diego for one more full season. The ’16-’17 season seems more likely for the debut of Kerdiles.


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