Another Entry Draft has come and gone.
The Anaheim Ducks found themselves in a bit of a different situation this year compared to previous years.
For the first time since the 1999 Draft, the Ducks did not have a 1st round pick. That pick was given to the Dallas Stars in the Patrick Eaves trade during last season’s deadline. Bob Murray told season ticket holders at an event two weeks ago that he was not worried about not having a 1st round pick given the perceived weakness of this year’s prospect pool, however.
The Ducks only had five picks out of the seven rounds in the draft, with two of those coming in the 2nd round. Given their history of hitting big on their late picks, however, it’s probable that the Ducks found some diamonds in the rough.
Let’s break down their draft haul.
50th overall: Maxime Comtois (Center/Left Wing)
Comtois is a natural center who is also capable of playing left wing as a left-handed shooter. At 6’2” and 201 lbs, Comtois is the prototypical Ducks pick: big, can throw his body around effectively, and plays with a bit of snarl. The 18-year-old spent last season in the QMJHL with the Victoriaville Tigres, putting up 51 points (22G, 29A) and 88 penalty minutes in 64 games.
Comtois specializes as an effective 2-way forward as opposed to a pure scorer like Sam Steel or Max Jones from last year. If he develops in the way the Ducks hope, he could be the heir to Ryan Kesler’s throne as the team’s leader of a future shutdown line.
Comtois was originally projected to go in the 1st round before the season, but a comparatively sluggish year dropped him to the 2nd round. The last Ducks prospect that dropped because of a rough season was Sam Steel. I think we all know how that turned out.
As an added bonus, Comtois has some Canada U18 experience as an alternate captain.
60th overall: Antoine Morand (Center)
Apparently Bob Murray and the Ducks scouting staff felt like getting a bit personal with their first two picks: Morand and Comtois are childhood best friends. During an interview shortly after being selected, Morand and Comtois expressed their joy at being selected together and continuing their hockey journey.
Morand is the opposite of Comtois on the ice, however. While also a center, he is on the other end of the size spectrum, coming in at just 5’10” and 179 lbs. Morand is praised for his intelligence and speed, making him difficult to shut down at times. This also contributes to his above-average playmaking skills that led him to score 74 points (28G, 46A) in 67 games for Acadie-Bathurst Titan in the QMJHL as one of their alternate captains.
91st overall: Jack Badini (Center/Left Wing)
Clearly Murray is trying to restock the farm with left handed forward talent. American Jack Badini played last season with the Chicago Steel of the USHL. He scored 42 points (28G, 14A) in 59 games to lead the Steel in goals.
Badini is known to have a terrific shot and is very hard to knock off the puck. Sound like a certain familiar Swede to you?
Badini will be attending Harvard in the fall. He has also been invited to the 2017 World Junior Summer Showcase in Plymouth, Michigan in order to be evaluated for potential inclusion on team USA for the upcoming World Junior Championships.
122nd overall: Kyle Olson (Center/Right Wing)
Olson is another undersized forward like Morand. He is known for having a relatively impressive set of wheels and strives to play a complete game at both ends of the ice. He also has shown some solid playmaking ability.
Playing for the Tri-City Americans of the WHL, Olson put up 57 points (20G, 37A) in 72 games with an impressive +25 rating.
Most experts believe that if Olson can put on some size, than he can eventually make an impact at the NHL level.
153rd overall: Olle Eriksson Ek
Eriksson Ek has been ranked as the number two European goaltending prospect according to NHL Central Scouting. Many prospect experts really liked this pick by the Ducks, with many pointing to his fantastic upper-body strength, good puck control, and his ability to routinely make Swedish National Teams.
Eriksson Ek spent last season with Farjestad BK J20 in the Swedish junior league, posting a .924 SV% and 2.16 GAA in 30 appearances.
The Ducks system has been lacking high-end goaltending talent since John Gibson made the jump to the NHL. While Gibby appears to not be going anywhere anytime soon, now was the time to restock in the event the Ducks need good, young netminders in the future.