Normally, Arthur and I would make recommendations for the Ducks' selection in a joint post. However, He's been a little detained covering the awards show. There are certainly a few names in the draft that could go towards finishing the pokemon line, but I won't be talking about any of them today. When I did talk to Arthur about the draft, I mentioned how open it seems to be. Last year when I was doing this, Etem was ranked in the top 20 in a lot of the draft literature, and the Ducks' need for a top scorer and the fact that he was a local kid made it less of a reach for me to say the Ducks should take him at 12. This year, you could pick a handful of guys at 22 and still probably be making a good pick. It will really depend on who is left on the board. With that in mind, this post focuses more on the possibilities facing the Ducks, rather than me making an actual selection. Although, I will state various preferences.
He's ranked 28th in the TSN prospect rankings and 15th by Central Scouting. Almost every mock draft I've seen has him going somewhere between 13-17, except NHL.com's Mike Morreale who doesn't have him going in the first round. The name that gets tossed around during comparisons is Adam Oates. That's pretty good company to be in. Scouting reports note his phenomenal playmaking abilities, and his determination to play while hurt. He's also known to be very responsible in his own end, providing offense without the risk of being out of position. He's a big game player, and is willing to adapt his game to fit the physical level of the game. By now he should be sounding a little bit like a top 10 pick. The main knock seems to be on his skating, and we all know how that turned out for Corey Perry. The doubts about his skating could see him fall. Although, I tend to think that Calgary is the true test of whether or not he'll fall. If he's still around after 15, the Ducks might consider trading up to get him. I'd love to have Phillips. I'm not sure he fills a need for us, but I think he's one of those players you have to grab if he's available. When reading the reports I had one thought, this kid is a winner. Those are the types of guys you want on your team.
The 18th North American Skater according to Central Scouting and 26th in both TSN's prospect rankings and The Scouting Report. ISS has him ranked 38th. But, his stock has been rising as the draft nears. He might not be the top 2-way forward in the draft, but his work ethic is undeniable. He's tenacious. He plays well in both ends, digs the puck, and has a physical edge to his game. I think Jenner is a great candidate to fill the Ducks' need for a shutdown product in the system. There are concerns about his skating and his maturity, which is definitely a cause for concern. However, his work ethic and offensive upside make him a good candidate for that third line center role that Pahlsson used to occupy. Reports of great vision make me think he'll be able to overcome the deficiencies in his skating by making strong reads. The Ducks should strongly consider Jenner if he is available.
He's kind of the elephant in the room. He's the top ranked goalie by Central Scouting, and a couple of mock drafts have the Ducks taking him with the 22nd pick, seeing as how Hiller's health exposed our lack of depth in the organization. I have a love for the technically sound goalie, which is the best way to describe Gibson. People forget that the most frustrating part of Giguere's game was that he just seemed to always be there. When Jiggy was on his game the puck would just him. It was a beautiful and frustrating thing, like watching the trap worked to perfection. I like what he brings to the table, but I wonder if he'd still be available in the early second. Would Toronto package with us to move up a couple slots and guarantee that they get their guy? I don't know. I think I'd enjoy getting a player like Gibson, but there might be better ways to spend the 22nd pick. I certainly wouldn't be angry if this is the way the Ducks went. For the record, I think Murray insisting he won't take a goalie is a little bit of a smoke screen. Then again, that might be too clever of a tactic for Murray to actually enact it.
Saad looks like a Duck forward, 6'1" almost 208 lbs., great shot, great hands, great on his skates. If he was a couple inches taller, he might be the second coming of Penner. But, Saad has gone from a potential top 10 pick in October rankings to a late teens pick. Questions about his work ethic seem to be front and center. The talent is undeniably there but the drive is certainly lacking. The Ducks would be taking a risk by drafting Saad, but maybe the organization can work some heart into him. If they think he's worth that, then Saad might be the best option on my list in terms of pure talent.
Injuries and speed concerns have Murphy mostly relegated to the back end of the first round, if he gets drafted there at all. However, there have been concerns among fans that the Ducks don't have a great shutdown defender in the system. Murphy is very smart defensively, and sees the ice well. He's seen as more of a puck mover than a shutdown guy, but with his size and smarts he could develop into that role very well. If the Ducks don't see a forward they like, and insist on avoiding goalies, then they might reach for Murphy. They could do worse, and, honestly, Arthur has convinced me that the next guy on the list is the most likely Anaheim choice, if he's available.
He's a giant, and best of all, he doesn't skate like one. He's very fluid, but reports say that he needs quicker feet. TSN scouts think he's pretty much a big body who can skate, claiming he needs a lot of refinement to be an NHL defender. He did do well at the combine, and the Ducks have recently shown that they like guys who are very athletic, think Palmieri. This is something Arthur reminded me of when he told me about a conversation he had with another media person when he was in Vegas. A lot of drafts have him going between 15-20, meaning the Ducks might have to trade up to get him. However, if he's available, I could see the Ducks making this selection.
I won't go past this. I think this is a strong scope of players and there are certainly other players I've seen the Ducks take in mock drafts. Joel Armia and Matt Puempel come to mind. These are the players I'd like to see the Ducks go after. As I said, there's no telling who will be available when the Ducks pick, different teams see different things that they like in different players. It should be an interesting night tomorrow. I'm looking forward to it.