Yesterday, the Anaheim Ducks announced their 2019 Prospect Faceoff lineup, and the prospect pool that dominated last year’s tournament will return to attempt that domination again.
The 2019 Rookie Faceoff is merely a few weeks away. The Anaheim Ducks prospects, along with the prospects of the Colorado Avalanche, Vegas Golden Knights, San Jose Sharks, Arizona Coyotes, and the Los Angeles Kings will showcase their stars and battle it out at the Ducks new facility, Great Park Ice, in Irvine.
This year, the Anaheim Ducks will take on the Los Angeles Kings, San Jose Sharks, and the Vegas Golden Knights in hopes of a repeat from last year. There are several new additions to their roster, as well as a healthy mix of players who have been around the past few seasons, and we’ve finally been given our first glimpse of who will represent the Ducks.
The Ducks are set to showcase 15 forwards, 10 defensemen, and 3 goaltenders over the weekend. For a better idea of what the entire roster will look like, be sure to visit the Anaheim Ducks NHL.com page. Without further ado, let’s take a look at the possible stars in the roster and what they bring to the team.
Maxime Comtois: Max Comtois is arguably a generational talent, one that, with a little more development, could see the majority of the Honda Center crowd dawning his jersey. He’s performed incredibly well in his young NHL career and has some magical numbers in the QMJHL. His stat line for his first ten NHL games is 10GP, 2G, 5A, 7PTS, 7PIM. Already, he has seven points in the NHL, and he even opened up the season by scoring the Ducks’ first goal.
In Comtois’ 205 games played in the QMJHL, he’s racked up a total of 244 points already in four seasons. He has an incredibly high hockey IQ, a fast stick, and a wicked skating ability that makes him a dangerous player on any line. He’s a fantastic scorer, he can get some skilled assists, and he’ll be really strutting his stuff at the Rookie Faceoff this year.
Max Jones: Max Jones is a perfect compliment to Comtois, as he’s another very smart forward with a knack for making himself look big on the ice. He played thirty games for Anaheim last season, and his stat line looked like 30GP, 2G, 3A, 5PTS, 14PIM. Most of his scoring happened with the San Diego Gulls of the AHL, where he had twenty-nine points in forty games.
The OHL is where Max has really shined, managing 112 points in 127 games played. As mentioned before, Jones is smart and possesses a lot of hockey IQ, but he also has the ability to skate at a very high level and can use his smarts to sneak the puck past the opposing goalie. Comtois and Jones will be amazing prospects to watch throughout the tournament.
Isac Lundestrom: Isac Lundestrom was the 1st round pick of the Anaheim Ducks back in 2018, and he started for the team the very next season. His time in Anaheim was mostly forgettable, only having two points in fifteen games. However, he’s still young and learning, so with the development, he’s been through in the AHL and the SHL, he’ll look to make a very strong impression in his sophomore year.
Lundestrom has a very strong passing game, and he’s great for setting up close plays in front of the net and is not much of a scorer. His skating ability combined with his passing skills are what make him dangerous though, and he fits right in with a very strong scoring presence in the Ducks prospect pool. Any combination of him and Comtois would be a real gem to watch throughout the tournament.
Sam Steel: Sam Steel made his presence known last year in both Anaheim and San Diego and could be the cherry on top of a very strong center core for the Ducks. In his stint with Anaheim, he had 22GP, 6G, 5A, 11PTS, 8PIM. And once his time in Anaheim finished up, he kept on a strong season with forty-one points in fifty-three games down in the AHL.
Although he didn’t get much time in Anaheim, he recorded only the second hat trick scored by a Ducks rookie, and considering the AHL campaign afterward, he has great potential. He’s a special scorer on a Ducks team with plenty of scorers. He’s great at what he does, being in front of the net for the rebounds that other talented shooters give him. With the other shooters, this roster has, expect him to put them home from the doorstep often.
Troy Terry: Troy Terry has plenty of hype built around him and has shown he can play just as well as the other extremely talented Ducks prospects. Known for his three shootout goal performance in the 2018 World Juniors championship, Terry is another skater with high IQ and a fast stick. His first NHL stat line was 32GP, 4G, 9A, 13PTS, 2PIM. He also had forty-one points in forty-one games with the Gulls, with only four penalty minutes throughout those forty-one games.
During a nice stretch for the Anaheim Ducks towards the end of the 2018-2019 season, Terry became the first rookie in Ducks history to record back-to-back three-point performances, and he showed off how well he could pass and shoot in just the span of a week. He knows where to stand on the ice for the best possible passes, and he knows where to go when there’s a scoring chance, so he’ll make a nice fit on an already smart Ducks Rookie Faceoff roster.
Brayden Tracey: Brayden Tracey was the Ducks’ 29th overall pick in the 2019 NHL Draft, and he’s yet another prospect with high scoring abilities. He’s great at setting up scoring opportunities, and he really proved it with his best career performance in the 2018-2019 season with the Moose Jaw Warriors of the WHL. 66 GP, 36 G, 45 A, 81 TP, 28 PIM. His other upside is the low penalty minutes, which keeps the team out of trouble.
Tracey will be looking to really impress General Manager Bob Murray, as he only needs to fulfill one more year in the WHL before he can compete for a roster spot in Anaheim. Expect Tracey and Lundestrom to bank plenty of assists with the fantastic scoring prowess on the roster.
Brendan Guhle: Brendan Guhle found his way to the aNAHEIM Ducks after a trade sent Brandon Montour to the Buffalo Sabres, and although he ended the season early off a dirty hit, he’s recovered and finally able to impress to try to get back his roster spot in Anaheim. Before that trade, Guhle had 50GP, 5G, 22A, 27PTS, 34PIM in the AHL with the Rochester Americans. He has decent abilities when it comes to assisting, but is more of a traditional defenseman.
Guhle is a very big skater, coming in at 6’2” and 196 lbs, and he can really hit people where it hurts. His skating keeps him in the game defending to the best of his abilities, and he can lay out the body to gain back control of the puck. His presence on the ice will help increase the scoring chances of a very strong scoring forward pool.
Simon Benoit: Simon Benoit was an unsigned free agent that got picked up by the Gulls and has made a name for himself since then. In his first season with the Gulls, he had 65GP, 2G, 14A, 16PTS, 33PIM. He’s another tough defenseman with relatively low penalty minutes that only takes them when the time is right.
Benoit also has some decent fighting ability and can stay on his feet to finish things off. He’s 6”3’ and 190 lbs, so he can also lay on a big body game. Expect him Guhle and Benoit to destroy some unfortunate skaters during their time on the ice.
Matthew Hill: Matthew Hill was the very last pick the Ducks made in the 2019 NHL Draft, but he still shows a lot of promise for the team. He’s yet another big defenseman, 6’4” and 196 lbs for only being eighteen years of age.
Although he’s still very young and needs more development, he had a great breakout year in the OHL with the Barrie Colts last season, ending off with a stat line of 65GP, 2G, 11A, 13PTS, 46PIM. The most important part is the PIM, and if he can keep it around that area consistently, he’ll be a very welcome addition to the Anaheim Ducks defensive core. He could be a decent surprise during the Rookie Faceoff, so watch for what he does.
Jacob Larsson: Jacob Larsson is already a very solid defenseman for such a young career, and he’ll really look to impress as he’s going to start the season with the Anaheim Ducks. Last season, his scoring stats weren’t impressive, just five assists in forty-nine games from a decent passing ability. However, his sixteen penalty minutes were off the charts. He played smart, he stayed on the ice, and he kept himself out of trouble long enough to help his team as a good defenseman does.
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He’s still young and could benefit from more learning at the NHL level, but he’s set to do a great job defending in the Rookie Faceoff. Expect to see him lay on the body and skate with precision.
Finally, we have three goalies. Lukas Dostal and Olle Eriksson Ek are both fantastic and will see their time on the ice, but there’s only one that is the true headliner.
Roman Durny: The headliner out of the three goalies is likely Roman Durny. In Durny’s last season with the Des Moines Buccaneers, played in fifty games and had a 2.61 GAA and a save percentage of .909. He’s played two fantastic years in the USHL and has really grown as a goaltender.
Coming in at 6’2” and 201 lbs, Durny is a goalie of huge stature, and he fills the net nicely. Although we can’t expect to see him or the other two goalies just yet, due to an incredibly powerful goalie pool, they all show a lot of promise and will compete to keep the game sheet clean on the Anaheim Ducks side.
In closing, the 2019 Rookie Faceoff tournament will be a tough one with the strong prospect pools of the west, but the Ducks still have an incredibly strong roster with some headliners that can’t be missed. From the wealth of scoring forwards, big and tough defenders, and talented goalies, the Anaheim Ducks might just yet pull another strong performance out of this year.