The Amajeo, Ducks are well renowned amongst fans for attempting to draft role players in the many rounds after the first. In some cases this has worked out, for instance, John Gibson was highly touted, yet who expected him to be an All-World goalie? If the consensus was strong, Toronto would never have made the trade to gift the Ducks Gibson and Rickard Rakell by allowing Murray to trade back into those two draft selections.
Ozzy Wiesblatt is slated to go somewhere in the second round, however, we all know that the NHL draft seldom goes to script. Even should that hypothesis come to pass, there’s no reason to think that such a smart and skilled player can’t go on to have an incredibly successful career. Even under a Ducks management team group that emphasizes defense more than offense. A management group that bat’s itself off doing cartwheels over the much-vaunted “two-way” player.
Unlike the once-traded Bobby Ryan (perception only, Bobby rocks!), Wiesblatt will involve himself in the backcheck. Unlike Kyle “he’ll score too many goals” Palmieri, Ozzy can dish the puck from the pivot position. Unlike the once hyped Daniel Sprong, Wiesblatt puts a lot of effort into his defensive plays. He puts forth a lot of effort into every shift and is willing to play physical in both open ice and along the boards.
Given, and in addition to, all of the above, PNHLe pegs Ozzy as a potential 1st liner, which is an incredible reward for a player who is likely destined for a second-round draft selection. Most likely, should he reach the NHL, it will be as a versatile middle-6 type who plays the wing and can shift into the middle for key draws. Though on this note, it’s worth noting that Dobber Prospects rates him only as a 3.5/10 chance of making the NHL.
Much of this perceived “risk” appears to come from Ozzy only having a single season of “dominant” junior hockey under his belt. With that said, top prospect Tim Stutzle only has one year of relevant data as well, so in my opinion, the downside is already priced into the Wiesblatt’s predicted second-round draft status. If Wiesblatt moves onto the penalty kill next season as is expected and puts up another similar scoring season, would a second-round pick this season seem cheap?
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I personally believe that Ozzy Wiesblatt should be a strong consideration for an Anaheim Ducks draft selection. I love fiery players who puts in the effort. I love annoying agitators who stir up the opposition – don’t lie, you all loved Corey Perry too. I really love players who show improvement year-to-year and can score with the puck.
If he’s still available with the #36 I would almost consider locking him in. Depending on who is available at the back end of the first round, I would actually consider taking him with the Boston selection at #27. With two first-round selections and three within the first 36, the Ducks are playing with house money.
With Tampa Bay showing the way this year, it may be time for the Anaheim Ducks to mimic their lead and draft a player that would seemingly slot right into their team.
**Data courtesy of whl.com, mitch brown, and elite prospects unless otherwise stated.
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