The Anaheim Ducks had two draft picks going into the 2019 NHL Entry Draft. With their second pick, 29th overall, they selected an offensively gifted rookie left wing out of the WHL, Brayden Tracey.
Having to draft in the second half of the first round of the NHL Draft over the past few seasons, Bob Murray and his scouting team have become incredibly gifted at spotting and drafting amazing talent. Rickard Rakell, Sam Steel, and Max Jones are among the diamonds in the rough drafted by the Anaheim Ducks. Now, Brayden Tracey joins this list as the Anaheim Ducks 29th overall selection in the first round of the 2019 NHL Entry Draft.
Who is Brayden Tracey?
When Bob Murray stepped up to the microphone at Rogers Arena to announce the Anaheim Ducks 29th overall selection in the 2019 NHL Entry Draft, disappointingly not in a sweater vest, many of us had the same reaction when the name Brayden Tracey came out of his mouth. “Who in the world is Brayden Tracey?”
Hailing from Calgary, Alberta, Canada, the 18-year-old left wing had an impressive 2018-19 season with the Moose Jaw Warriors of the WHL. With an incredible 81 point season (36g, 45a), Tracey had an even better year than the Chicago Blackhawks 3rd overall selection, Kirby Dach. What is even more impressive is that this was his first full season in the WHL, and as one of the best rookies on the ice, it is no surprise that he won the nomination as the WHL’s Rookie of the Year.
However, many have credited his success to playing alongside veteran linemates Tristan Langan and Justin Almeida. Together, the three of them tallied a combined 305 points during their 2018-19 campaign. While analysts may be correct in their deductive reasoning, there is absolutely no problem with Tracey utilizing his time with his veteran linemates to learn from them and soak up everything they’re teaching him like a sponge. In fact, it is encouraged.
Many mock drafts had Brayden being selected anywhere from 36th overall to 55th overall. It isn’t too much of a stretch to say that this selection was a little off the board. However, it seems as though Bob Murray and the Anaheim Ducks expressed an early interest in Tracey and have had their eyes set on him for a while.
So, while this selection may have been a little off the board, Tracey seems like an absolute steal for the Anaheim Ducks; another late first round draft pick well spent. When asked about being drafted by the Anaheim Ducks, Brayden was quoted as saying:
"“I kind of had a gut feeling. I’m very honored to be picked by such a great organization. They were the first meeting I had. They kind of said, if you’re avaliable at 29, what would it be like? I kind of had a feeling from there. Being picked by them is something special.”"
There are definitely area’s of his game that he needs to work on. His defensive game has holes that need to be addressed and he really needs to work on being confident when he does not have the puck on his stick. He could also benefit from adding a little bulk to his frame and working on his core strength. Nevertheless, that’s nothing a few more seasons in the WHL and/or AHL can’t fix.
4 Reason’s Brayden Tracey is a Steal at 29th Overall
He plays with a big heart: Something the Anaheim Ducks lacked last season was passion. Although a lot of that was due to the coaching situation, a team can never have too many players that are fueled and driven by their passion for the game.
He puts his entire heart and soul into his game, and it shows not only in his offensive production but also his attitude and the way he carries himself on the ice. With an attitude like that, he could very well be the type of player who reignites the spark when the Ducks lose their fire, much like our Energizer Bunny, Ondrej Kase.
He is willing to learn: Brayden Tracey is certainly not a player that could jump into an NHL line up tomorrow. There are several areas of his game that he needs to work on, especially defensively, and it’s going to be a few years before he is fully ready to take the plunge. However, as stated earlier, his success this season was credited to his veteran linemates.
This means that Tracey is willing to learn and grow from his teammates. The Ducks currently have a few players on their roster that are set in their ways and are unwilling to learn from their teammates or from their mistakes. Having a player who is willing to be molded to fit the vision Bob Murray and the Ducks have going forward is extremely important, especially as they begin their process of starting a retool.
The fact that he is also willing to learn and can play at the same pace as his fellow linemates is a major bonus. Imagine what a player like Tracey could do alongside someone like Trevor Zegras, Sam Steel, Antoine Morand, or Isac Lundestrom.
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He is a natural goal scorer: Aside from 2016-17, Brayden Tracey hasn’t had a season with less than 20 goals scored, and although the NHL is a different beast altogether, it will likely translate well as he makes the transition to the big club. He may not be putting up Connor McDavid stats, but the Ducks are seriously lacking when it comes to having natural goal scorers on their roster.
His incredible puck skills and great hand-eye coordination allow him to have soft hands and a quick shot. Plus, he is often praised for his patience, which helps him to see the ice better and not make rash decisions. This also opens up more opportunities for him to find his teammates when making a pass.
Bob Murray made a point of addressing the fact that the Ducks need more goal scorers. After drafting Brayden Tracey, he said his intentions in drafting the young left wing had a lot to do with his nose for the net.
He has the makings and potential to be a potent passer: The Anaheim Ducks don’t necessarily have a player on their current roster who stands out as both a natural goal scorer and a potent passer. You definitely have players who are great at both, but they lean more towards one skill set than the other. While Tracey’s 36 goals on the season are incredibly impressive for a rookie in the WHL, his 45 assists cannot be ignored.
When he has the puck, he has incredible vision. He has a nose for the net and will get the puck into the offensive zone at all costs, even if that means making a pass and setting up his teammates. Again, his admirable patience allows him to create opportunities for his linemates almost out of thin air. It will be a valuable asset to have a player who can fulfill either role. It will make him a versatile player for the Anaheim Ducks in the future.
We’re really excited to welcome Brayden Tracey into the fold, and we believe he’s going to great things for the Anaheim Ducks moving forward. What are your thoughts on the young left wing? Let us know by leaving a comment down below!