Player Name/position: Rickard Rakell (Right Wing)
Overall Grade: B+
Contract Status: Entry Level, 3 years remaining ($894k cap hit)
2013 Stats: 4GP, 0G, 0A, 0P, minus-2; sent back to Plymouth(OHL) on February 14.
2013 OHL (Plymouth Whalers) Stats: 40GP, 21G, 23A, 44P, +19. Named OHL Player of the Week for the week ending February 24.
OHL Playoff Stats: 15GP, 6G, 9A, 15P, +8.
Offense: Absolutely exceeded my personal expectations. I was a little worried when I heard he made the opening night roster, but never once did he look uncomfortable or overmatched on the puck, making smart decisions and causing problems for veteran defenses. I was actually sad to see him go.
Defense: I'm not too fond of becoming a minus-2 in only four games, but still for a high-skill offenseman and a rookie such as himself, I'm not too worried.
Highlight of the Season: Won a silver medal, led the team in assists, and tied for the team lead in scoring while representing Sweden at the 2013 IIHF World Junior Championships.
Expectations for Next Year: Rakell likely won't make the team out of training camp again but will definitely push himself up the depth chart and likely give guys like Devante Smith-Pelly a run for their money as to who will be one of the first Right Wingers called up will be. This is doubly true if Teemu Selanne stays around and the Ducks re-up with Radek Dvorak.
But that's not a bad thing for a guy who just turned 20 years old. With the talent the Ducks are currently stacking at Right Wing I see no reason to rush his development and put him in the big leagues. I expect him to head to Norfolk and help what should be a much-improved Admirals squad next year by adding some second-line scoring depth. It might take him a little bit to get used to the AHL game coming out of juniors, but will likely finish next season with 20+ AHL goals.