All the talk of our prospects such as Vatanen, Rakell, Gibson, Etem, Holland, Palms, and Lindholm, we tend to forget that the Ducks do have a center of a gem in Karlsson. He's won Rookie of the Year award across the pond. Click here.
Not to be left out of the ROY talk, so to speak, Kevin Roy was selected to be a part of Hockey East's All Rookie Team.
With the recent re-signing of the Twins, the organization will have to be frugal fiscally and still maintain a competitive roster. So let's take a quick look at our ducklings because I believe their future is now and how fortuitous it is for our
At the center position, the Ducks have the following prospects: Holland, Rakell, Karlsson, Cramarossa, Sarault, and Whitney. Only player not in NA is Karlsson. From this group, we should be able to find 2C, 3C, and a 4C. Of course, we have Bones already there and there's a possibility that Koivu could be retained for another year or two. Either way, the Ducks have talent available at their disposal. Rakell has played 9 games with the big club and was reluctantly returned to his junior team this year. Holland keeps pushing for spot on the big club. Next year should be a big year for Holland because it's either he makes the team or the team trades him for picks. Rakell makes Holland expendable. Karlsson's resume also puts the writing on the wall for Holland as well. I can see Cramarossa being groomed as a shutdown 3C or an energy 4C.
LW: Kerdiles, Roy, Friberg, and Smith-Pelly. This is a mix bag. Kerdiles is a power forward type. Roy is scorer from everywhere. Friberg is a streaky scorer who seems to only show up in big games. Friberg recently came to NA to play a few games with the Ads, the Ducks' minor league farm team. There's a chance Friberg's game could grow on the smaller ice in NA. Kerdiles was so impactful for this college team after his 10 game suspension, that the Badgers became competitive. Kerdiles may be a year away from joining the org directly. And Roy well, read above. Finally, DSP... a wrecking ball in juniors. Nowadays... there's this saying, "Looks like Tarzan; plays like Jane."
RW: Etem and Wagner. Etem is solidifying himself on the big club due to his PK play. Just like Cogs, Etem's speed is something to factor in. Then there's Wagner. He's a jack of all trades type player. Initially playing center for the Ads, but later on playing on the wing. With a plethora of centers, there could be a possibility one of them or more make the switch to wing. Or maybe Bobby Ryan can finally make RW a home for himself before he gets traded in a few years. Regardless, there's always the draft to find a RW if need be.
D: Vatanen, Lindholm, Gagne, Clark, Welinski, Lind, and O'Brien. There's only one top six spot open for the next two years on defense. No need to have one of these prospects as a 7th defenseman to keep a seat warm in a suit. Vatanen and Gagne are quite similar such that they're both small, offensive minded defensemen. Lindholm is slowly developing into a shutdown defenseman. I guess slow isn't the correct word because he's probably the best defenseman in Norfolk and only 18!. Welinski, Lind and O'Brien as still seasoning: Welinski is a two way threat with offensive upside, Lind is a defensive defenseman, and O'Brien is a hitter who can score. Clark... well... somebody has to eventually be that 7th defenseman. Five roster spots are set in stone for the next two years. Either Vatanen or Lindholm will make the squad outright next year. The team can take its time developing defensemen as it takes time to develop defensemen. Lindholm may be the only exception. I also hear that Tim Heed might cross the pond, but that's just a rumor.
G: Gibson, Andersen, and Bobkov. Wow! What a stable the Ducks have at netminding. Gibson has that franchise goalie potential. Andersen was amazing in Norfollk. Bobkov is developing and shows signs of wowness as well. The Ads were terrible in front of Andersen and Bobkov, and yet the Ads almost became a playoff team until the last four game meltdown. Hiller has one more year on his contract at $4.5 million. Fasth just signed a two year extention at $2.9 million. Both of these goalies are with the big club. The Ducks are deep right now, but rest assured one of the big club's netminders will not be around next year.
The Ducks' org is set on the back end with the big club having signed talent at defense and goal. There lies a lot of promise at center. There is scoring at left wing. With the re-signing of the Twins and being fiscally responsible, we might start seeing a lot of these prospects making their debuts sooner than later. And there's still more goodness to be had as another year of the draft will come along. It has to make you smile, though, to know of the many big names for the prospects we have, there's still another, Karlsson, that's making our scouting department look like geniuses!
(Note: I just wanted to present ROY Karlsson, but didn't think I'd fit the quota of a fan post and so I just kept on writing about everyone else. Because if this was a fan shot, surely it would be like screaming in an empty forest to deliver a message. ha!)