The Anaheim Ducks have one of the best pipelines in the NHL when it comes to prospects. Even after there two standout goaltenders John Gibson and Frederik Andersen graduated into the big leagues. The Ducks have a considerate amount of players in the minors and juniors. Most of their forwards are playing professionally in the AHL, while their defense are mostly in the Canadian junior leagues with some sprinkled in Europe.
The biggest name on the list, and arguably the best, is left winger Nick Ritchie. Ritchie was selected 10th overall by Anaheim at the 2014 Draft, and they could not have asked for a better player at that selection. Ritchie is a great two-way player with an even better shot. Ritchie has shades of Phil Kessel in his game. He can find remarkable speeds at points and uses that momentum to rip a quick shot on net.
Nick Ritchie is currently leading the Peterborough Petes in points with 21 through 17 games. 10 of those points have come on the power play. Ritchie’s efforts, although good, have not helped the Petes from climbing out of the bottom of the East Divison in the OHL. Hopefully he can lead his team to victory and out of the basement.
Moving from offense to defense, Shea Theodore is the Anaheim Ducks best defensive prospect. Theodore is an offensive defenseman and is known for his excellence on special teams. Last year in the WHL, Theodore was at near the top of the list for scoring defenseman. This year Shea Theodore got off to a late start due to a right elbow sprain he suffered during a Ducks rookie game.
His estimated timeline was about 4-6 weeks when he suffered the injury in September. Since his return, Theodore has played in 9 games, with the Seaattle Thunderbirds and the AHL’s Norfolk Admirals, and has registered 8 points including 3 power play goals. Expect a slow return to his regular self for Theodore. An elbow injury can be tough on a shot for players, and especially on a player who relies on his shot as much Theodore does.
Going back to the forwards, Kevin Roy is in his junior year at Northeastern University in the Hockey East conference. Kevin has been a go-to player the past year or two for the Huskies. The Quebec native was drafted in the 4th round of the 2012 NHL Draft and is slowly turning heads. He has played 10 games so far at Northeastern, and has 6 points to his credit.
Roy can certainly be doing better when it comes to finishing his chances, but that’s not the only thing he needs. Kevin Roy needs a new atmosphere. He needs to be playing in the AHL, where things are just a little bit tougher and grittier. In the AHL, Roy would be playing with, and against, veterans of the game. This can help with his hockey IQ and understanding the game by learning from people who have already made the mistakes. Look for Kevin Roy to really catch his stride in the next few years after he graduates.
The Anaheim Ducks have a solid prospect core that doesn’t need a lot of fixing up. They have their stand-outs in Nick Ritchie and Shea Theadore. As well as players needing more development like Kevin Roy. With Califonia hockey catching on, I don’t see an end point as to where this organization will have a poor pool of prospects.