The public was given a glimpse of the Anaheim Ducks prospects on Saturday during an open practice at this year’s Development Camp. Several prospects stood out, other’s didn’t.
This past weekend, the Anaheim Ducks held their prospects Development Camp. For the recently draft prospects, including the highly coveted Trevor Zegras, it was their first exposure of participating in a professional organization. For some, like Max Comtois and Max Jones, it was a chance to hone their skills and be a leader for upcoming prospects to follow.
Due to a limited number of participants, a 5 vs 5 scrimmage was bypassed. Instead, it was a 20 minute period of 1 on 1, 2 on 2, 3 on 3, and a mixture of the 3, creating some exciting odd man opportunities. At the conclusion of the scrimmage, several of the players participated in a shootout.
It was a fun event and below are some of my observations from the session. Remember, it was only a 20-minute sample, at the end of a busy week and there was no 5 on 5 play to determine how they would look in standard game situations. Meaning, take the observations with a grain of salt as there could be a number of different reasons affecting who did/didn’t stand out and why.
Trevor Zegras: Everyone in attendance was eager to see the Anaheim Ducks 9th overall pick in action. His offensive skills were off the chart and he wowed fans with some elite plays. He scored 3 goals in the session and it shouldn’t be long before he’s suiting up for the Anaheim Ducks. There were times he was outmatched physically and that will be a key focus for during his time at Boston University next season.
Trevor Janicke: Being a 5th round pick, I wasn’t expecting Janicke to stand out. Most in attendance will remember him as the player Zegras executed a silky move against, but that’s not a fair assessment of his performance. Prior to Zegras’ goal, Janicke carried the play for about 20 seconds. He was able to get a shot off despite good gap control by Zegras, retrieved the rebound and showed off some nifty stickhandling/skating skills.
In a later drill, he made a nice short side rush and nearly stole the puck on the forecheck. He looks the part and has a solid build, especially for an 18-year-old. The Anaheim Ducks have done well-selecting gems in the later rounds recently and Janicke appears to be next in line.
Benoit-Olivier Groulx: The Anaheim Ducks second round pick from last year was a standout. He has impressive size, physical maturity, and on-ice ability. He consistently created offense and was one of the best players during drills. He retrieved a puck on the forecheck and sent a pass into the crease that Simon Benoit easily deflected in for a goal. Previously in the sequence, he was too much to handle for Antoine Morand, who nearly fell over trying to keep up with the former second rounder.
Antoine Morand: I was a little underwhelmed by Morand’s performance. He had a nice play that would have put Zegras behind the defense, but it was foiled when Mathew Hill misfired on the outlet pass. Besides that, the playmaking center wasn’t able to keep up defensively with Groulx and didn’t make any high-level plays I expected from one of the older prospects.
Jack Badini: He didn’t really stand out when I saw him on the ice, so I don’t have much to add regarding his potential.
Max Jones: The Anaheim Ducks former first-rounder was the standout of the session. He was too much for the other prospects to handle physically and carried the play every time he was on the ice. The highlight of the scrimmage was his nasty, between the legs, goal he scored on a breakaway. Jones routinely took the puck, kept the puck, and created scoring chances when he was on the ice.
Max Comtois: The second Max was almost as impressive as the first. He scored a similar between the legs goal and was consistently creating scoring chances. Comtois was fluid with the puck and defenders had a difficult time keeping him contained. Both he and Jones were the most physically mature of our prospects.
Jack Kopacka: Kopacka had a solid showing in the drills. He didn’t get credit for a goal, but the puck looked to go in and out of the net so quickly it didn’t register with the coaches. The shot itself was impressive and adding it to his solid defensive play, he’s a player who can find a role at the NHL in the next couple seasons.
Kopacka also displayed some nice hands when he put the puck between his legs on a drive to the net, but the defender broke the play up nicely when Kopacka attempted to center a pass to McLaughlin. Overall, he had a solid showing.
Kiefer Sherwood: Along with the Comtois, Jones, and Groulx, Sherwood’s physical maturity stood out. He had a shot ring off the post and he kept solid positioning throughout the drills. No matter the venue, he maintains poise and is the epitome of hard work.
Blake McLaughlin: He continues to look the part of a promising developmental prospect. McLaughlin definitely needs to continue his physical development and didn’t possess the puck often. He showed some nice stick skills and put himself into good scoring positions, so there’s definitely some positives for him to continue building off of. McLaughlin has an amazing shot, which he displayed on a snipe in last years prospect scrimmage, but he was unable to showcase it during the session.
Jackson Perbix: He had a nice display of skill and creativity when he faked a between the legs shot, then tried to pull it to his backhand. Dostal stopped the shot, but it was a nice move to fool the goalie after three others tried the between the legs shot.
Brent Gates: Gates didn’t really do anything of note or plays that caught my attention.
Brayden Tracey: There was a lot going on and I didn’t notice him during the scrimmage. After reviewing the video’s I had, it looks like he didn’t participate in the drills. I didn’t hear anything reported on him one way or another, so hopefully, we’ll get a look at him when rookie camp starts.
Jackson LaCombe: The second-round pick had a nice showing. He displayed high-end skating ability and was adept at carrying the play. LaCombe had several nice rushes and was comfortable with the puck on his stick. It’s easier for a mobile defenseman to stand out with so much open ice, so I’m looking forward to seeing how he plays defensively during a 5 on 5 session.
Josh Mahura: Mahura didn’t stand out as much as I expected. He had a nice shootout attempt where he appeared to beat the goalie high on the short side, but the shot was a little high. LaCombe was the more impressive of the two in the session, but being that San Diego’s season just ended a few weeks ago, he gets a pass.
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Will Francis: Every bit the 6’5″ he’s listed and is physically imposing. The converted forward showed some nice stick skills and skated well for a big man. Francis wasn’t rated very highly by most services and there weren’t any scouting reports to gauge the skills he possessed, but I was impressed.
Simon Benoit: The late bloomer scored a goal on a nice deflection. Benoit has good size and looked solid at both ends of the ice.
Hunter Drew, Mathew Hill, Steven Ruggiero, and Henry Thrun: No one in the group really stood out, but 1 on 1, 2 on 2 and 3 on 3 are situations better suited for mobile defensemen. Hopefully, I can get a better gauge on these prospects when they run the 5 on 5 scrimmages during the Anaheim Ducks rookie camp. Unfortunately, Thrun, LaCombe, and Francis are heading off to college, so this will be the last we see of them for a while.
Lukas Dostal: He was the best goaltender on the day. He made some very nice saves and has high-end athletic ability. I was excited by his performance and can’t wait to see where he plays next season.
Olle Eriksson-Ek: OEE had a nice showing as well and had a noticeable size advantage on Dostal. He was on the far side of the ice, so it was harder to follow his saves.
Garrett Metcalf & Roman Durny: The goalies switched up during the drills and my focus was on the skaters, so I can’t give a great observation on either of these guys. When there was a save catching my attention, it was either Dostal or Eriksson-Ek and why I am comfortable discussing their abilities.
Which of the Anaheim Ducks prospects are you most excited about? Are there any observations you had at Development Camp you’d like to share with us? Let us know by leaving a comment down below.