Could we finally see the untapped potential that fans have expected from Anaheim Ducks forward, Troy Terry?
Let’s flashback to 2015. The Anaheim Ducks have just been knocked out by the eventual Stanley Cup Champions, the Chicago Blackhawks, coming off a regular-season where Ryan Kesler joined the core of Ryan Getzlaf, Corey Perry, and company. The team looked to be set up well for the future, giving the opportunity to draft players to develop for the long term.
The Ducks went along with that idea, selecting Jacob Larsson with the 27th overall pick. Though Larsson has been somewhat of a disappointment, after some time had passed, he was no longer the most talked-about prospect.
In the 5th round of the 2015 NHL Entry Draft, with the 148th overall pick, the Anaheim Ducks selected Troy Terry from the United States National Development Program. Terry, much like any 5th round pick, was seen as a player that would need some time developing if he was to ever make an impact in the NHL.
However, after 115 points in 115 games during a three-year career at the University of Denver, 7 points in 7 games for Team USA at the 2017 WJC, and 5 assists in 5 games for Team USA at the Olympics, all of a sudden Terry was high on the Ducks prospect list, as well on the fans radars.
After a 22 goal Sophomore season at Denver, the belief was that the team found it’s new goal scorer of the future, coinciding with the first year of Corey Perry’s unofficial decline, posting 19 goals in a full 82 game season, his lowest total since his second year in the league. Also knowing that Captain Ryan Getzlaf would be around for a few more years, it made too much sense for Terry not to seamlessly fit beside the captain as the team’s featured marksman like Perry and Rickard Rakell had been in the past.
Fresh off his appearance at the 2018 Winter Olympics, Terry joined the team for a cup of coffee (two games) at the end of the 2017-18 hockey season. Nothing major, but it gave him the opportunity to skate on the NHL ice and get his feeling with the big-league team. It was unsure where Terry would start to begin the 2018-19 season, with the Ducks or San Diego Gulls, but with the team struggling with injuries leading into the new year, for better or worse Terry started the year with the big club.
Anaheim Ducks fans got to see what they all wanted as well, as Terry immediately got his opportunity to play beside Getzlaf. In his rookie year, Terry posted a 4-9-13 line in 32 games. Obviously not setting the world on fire but respectable for a small sample size. However, it was his time in the AHL that kept Ducks fans excited.
Playing under future head coach Dallas Eakins in San Diego, Terry put up a solid line of 16-25-41 in 41 games with the Gulls. As a young player getting accustomed to playing professionally, this was a positive for Terry’s development. In fact, with Eakins being named head coach going into the 2019-20 season, fans again were excited to see how Terry (among other prospects) would play under the new regime after seeing success with the Gulls the year before.
However, Terry’s production again did not match the hype. Starting the year predominantly playing on Ryan Getzlaf’s wing, Terry was unable to get much going on the offensive side posting a 4-11-15 line in 47 games with the big club. As the season wore on Terry began to move throughout the Ducks lineup, much like every other forward, seeing where he would fit the best and give the team more chances to produce points.
Before the year was halted due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Terry was sent back to the Gulls for what was likely to be the remainder of the season after GM Bob Murray brought in a group of new forwards including Danton Heinen and Sonny Milano. With Terry going back to the AHL, it would also give him the opportunity to help the Gulls both in the remainder of the season as well as the playoffs. With his demotion, Terry ended what was again a disappointing season.
5th Round Production
A lot of people like to focus on Terry’s lack of offensive output, claiming that as a prospect he is looking like more of a bust, especially with the opportunities presented playing with Anaheim Ducks captain, Ryan Getzlaf. What a lot of people forget is that Terry was in fact a 5th round pick in his draft year. His 81 games are fourth amongst 5th rounders from the 2015 draft, and out of 211 picks, he ranks 48th in games played, and 40th in points. He has also played more games than seven players picked in the first round. In many ways, Terry has already exceeded expectations that would have been put on him the day he was selected.
Terry went ahead and produced offensively in different situations; 22 goals in a year with Denver, 7 points in 7 games at the World Juniors, 5 points in 5 games at the Olympics, as well as a 23-34-57 line in 55 career AHL games brings attention to his offensive potential. However, Terry has been better than what people give him credit for as he excels in the areas that people do not always see.
A few months back my colleague Ben discussed Terry’s new contract with the team and in that article focused on some of Terry’s underlying strengths. Terry shows strong ability to carry the puck on a breakout and make the plays in transition, though he has proven to not be an effective shooter, as he gets older, look for Terry to continue to see the ice better and get the puck to open teammates. On top of that, he made strides in his defensive play, being one of the team’s most effective forwards without the puck.
Terry may see a future in being a solid defensive winger in coming years, think former Ducks like Andrew Cogliano, Rob Niedermayer, and Travis Moen. Players that focus on being responsible on the ice and coaches can trust them in important situations, such as shutting down the opposing team’s top units or helping their linemates take more risks when producing offensively. Terry’s ability to handle the puck could help his coaches in the future trust him to do the latter, as there is now a player in the Ducks system who could both complement and excel playing beside the young winger.
Could Troy Terry help Jacob Perreault acclimate to the NHL?
Enter one of the new Anaheim Ducks, Jacob Perreault. The team drafted Perreault 27th overall in the recent 2020 NHL Entry Draft, bringing the team an immediate need in the scoring department. While discussions of having one of the best shots in the entire draft was an obvious standout, this was still, in a way, a surprising pick from GM Bob Murray, as Perreault has shown that he is a weak skater amongst other prospects, while also being known for lacking effort at times. While these are not qualities you think of when assessing a Bob Murray draft pick, the offense still stands out and will hopefully transition to the NHL in the not-so-distant future.
Now, the Anaheim Ducks have a prospect centerman who has a lethal shot, with the potential to be a prolific scorer but still has a fair share of development with his defensive game as well as his skating. If only there was a young developing winger who is a smooth skater with the puck and is smart when the puck is not on his stick and stout defensively. See what I did there?
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The initial reaction since the draft has been how great the idea of pairing Perreault with the Ducks’ other top forward prospect, Trevor Zegras, who has proven to be a gifted playmaker in his own right. While I, like pretty much every other Ducks fan, would be excited to watch those two pair together on a line, I can’t help but think there are many benefits to pairing Terry and Perreault together.
For starters, Zegras has become one of the top prospects in all of hockey, and he if can become the Ducks top center of the future as advertised, the depth of having a top two of him and Perreault could put the Ducks in a great spot for the future. Secondly, the team will be patient with Perreault, maybe more than with Zegras or Jamie Drysdale, so he will get every opportunity to better himself and work on his defensive play.
However, when you invest a first-round pick on a player you want to see your return on investment. Once Perrault arrives in the NHL pairing him with a player that not only can create chances for him to score, but play the responsible defensive game while handling the breakout, gives him the opportunity to get comfortable and focus on his game quicker.
Lastly, the Anaheim Ducks obviously like what they have invested in with Troy Terry as they have given him continuous opportunities to prove himself at the NHL level. While they may have found their next shutdown winger for the future, why not get as much as you can out of his offensive potential?
Terry has the track record based on past performances, and while the offense has not translated to the NHL there still seems to be untapped potential. While he has been put in the position to be a finisher, Terry has shown that he may be better to set up said finisher moving forward.
Ducks fans need to remember that Troy Terry is still a very productive player, and the fact that they were able to get him in the 5th round still says a lot about the team scouting. While he has not been the offensive dynamo that everyone hoped for, he still brings an important element that all winning teams need. However, in the right situation, we could still see that potential emerge.
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