Anaheim Ducks Round Table: Advice for the 2019-20 Roster

ANAHEIM, CA - APRIL 5: The Anaheim Ducks celebrate a second period goal during the game against the Los Angeles Kings on April 5, 2019 at Honda Center in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Debora Robinson/NHLI via Getty Images)
ANAHEIM, CA - APRIL 5: The Anaheim Ducks celebrate a second period goal during the game against the Los Angeles Kings on April 5, 2019 at Honda Center in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Debora Robinson/NHLI via Getty Images) /
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ANAHEIM, CA – OCTOBER 17: Max Comtois #53 of the Anaheim Ducks skates with the puck during the game against the New York Islanders on October 17, 2018 at Honda Center in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Debora Robinson/NHLI via Getty Images) /

Aside from the obvious Troy Terry, Sam Steel, and Brendan Guhle, which rookie do you think deserves a chance with the Anaheim Ducks this season and why?

Jonathan Morris: I believe Maxime Comtois will surprise a lot of people with a strong enough camp to land a top 9 spot from the start of the season. He will jump up and down the lineup settling in at the second line LW.

TJ Watson: Maxime Comtois, because he showed that he can be physical and show restraint without taking boneheaded penalties.

Ed Stein: I think Max Jones has earned his shot. After he came up in 2019, Jones looked like he belonged in the NHL. Bob Murray trusted the 2016 first-round pick enough to play him an average of 13:10 per night. I think he can hang with the top six this season.

Ben Thomasian: It feels weird writing it, but the funny thing about history is that if you don’t learn lessons from it, then it’s bound to be repeated. In a bid to not become the 2020’s version of the 2010-2019 (and counting) Edmonton Oilers, the Ducks will need to be forcibly restrained from making every mistake the Oilers have made.

On top of the names already mentioned, it would seem likely that Max Jones, Jacob Larsson, and Josh Mahura will all be pegged to play games in Anaheim uniforms this coming season. Adding more players to the mix and pushing them to play before they are ready is a very Oilers thing to do. Jesse Puljujarvi may be the latest of the Oilers to be played too early based on hype, but there have been others.

The Ducks themselves have a history of bringing in players before their time. Look at how quickly the shine washed off Nick Ritchie in the fandom’s eyes as an example. Recently, I saw someone use the term “generational talent” to describe Max Comtois. Effectively placing him in the same tier as Connor McDavid and Sidney Crosby. How quickly will the shine wash off if he doesn’t perform to expectation? For that reason, I believe it is best to stick with who they have playing already, without rushing players such as Max Comtois and Trevor Zegras.

Of the three I mentioned, Max Jones is the most interesting one for me. Given that the Ducks have seemingly pigeon-holed him into a bottom 6 role (an idea I actually think is best for the player), his trade value will likely never be higher than it is now. For that reason, he may be the Ducks best trade chip. A trade chip with rapidly diminishing returns, should he not be given top 6 minutes and line-mates. Taking a trade off the table, however, Jones is a player the Ducks don’t have a lot of. A player with size, in an increasingly smaller lineup. A player with speed, in a relatively average to slower-paced team. Perhaps more than that, Jones was able to create chances with bottom 6 line-mates.

With the Ducks moving on from one of the games greatest offensive threats on the penalty kill last season, there would appear to be a place for Jones to make his own. I would love to see him take on a more defensive responsibility in the Andrew Cogliano mold and solidify a defensive forward spot going into the future.

Jordan German: For the Ducks, I think a vital prospect that deserves time is Max Comtois. It’s a cliche to say so at this point, but Comtois is a one of a kind prospect that could be a generational talent. In his first ten games with Anaheim, he already had seven points total and showed that he could already outskate some of the seasoned veterans in the league.

A good example of that is the goal he scored on the Sharks in the opening minutes of the first game of 2018-2019. On top of that, his stickhandling is so nasty, it’s almost a spectacle in and of itself to watch. He just has an all-around brilliant hockey IQ that would see him play well on any line, and his next games in Anaheim could be some really useful development opportunities.

Alternatively, I’d also love to see Isac Lundestrom come back for the season. He had a rough start last year, and amongst the locker room happenings, he didn’t get enough time to really shine. He had two assists in his first fifteen games in Anaheim, and he spent time down in San Diego developing as well.

He managed six assists total in his twelve AHL games, plus all of the extra padding points from the tournaments he competed in for Sweden. He’s had some useful time to himself to improve, and his passing ability will be much needed for a Ducks team heavy with talented shooters. Maybe Comtois and Lundestrom would bring a little magic along with such dynamic abilities working together.

Khalid Hart: Max Comtois. He had a major impact last season so it’s only right that we continue to see what he’s got. Clearly he can play with the big club it’s a matter of where he’s placed and who he plays with.

Jake Robles: I think Max Jones is the player I’m most excited to see get an opportunity with the club. He wasn’t exactly a big scoring threat until later in the season, and even then he only finished with a few points. However, he looked a little more comfortable as the season started to wind down and I think he’ll come into camo motivated to break out. He’s been through a lot injury-wise, so I think a healthy start to the season could be what helps him prove himself this year.

Ciara Durant: I’m going to go against the flow and choose a player that has not been mentioned yet by my staff. Kiefer Sherwood is the player I believe deserves a shot this season. The young forward had a great showing last season to the point where he played more games than any of the other rookies.

Sherwood is not one of those flashy players that have been hyped up like Comtois, Jones, or Terry. However, for the Ducks to be successful, they need to roll out 4 great lines. The focus can’t just be on the Top 6 or 9. Sherwood is a great bottom 6 players who bring energy and positivity to the lineup. Out of all the players going into camp, he will have to work harder to prove that he belongs with the big club. He has already shown us that he’s willing to put in the work and be proactive. Although I wouldn’t be upset if he played with the Gulls this season, I’d love to see one of my favorite underrated prospects worm his way into the lineup once again.