Date of Birth: March 20, 2001
Place of Birth: Bedford, NY, USA
Weight: 168 lbs
Click here for a previous profile by John Broadbent.
The refrain that the Anaheim Ducks should look for a Ryan Getzlaf replacement has been one repeated for a few years now. After all, the Ducks captain is now 34 years old, and while still an elite player when he wants to be, will not be as good as the Ducks need him to be for much longer. He is the Ducks’ offense, and with the way this team is built, they’re going to need someone who can dictate the way the game is played and become the new scoring driver for this team.
Enter Trevor Zegras.
At first glance, he may not immediately strike you as a Getzlaf clone. He doesn’t quite live up (literally) to the captain’s 6’4”, 225 lb stature. But as soon as he hits the ice, the similarities jump off the ice and slap you in the face.
Zegras makes his living as one of the most creative playmakers the draft has seen in years. Some of the plays he makes drag you out of your seat, throw your hands on your head, and make you want to scream, “WHAT THE HELL HOW?!”
The Athletic’s Corey Pronman has a great breakdown of what makes Zegras so good including several GIFs highlighting some of the ridiculous plays he makes on a rather consistent basis.
“Zegras is a constant on the highlight reel due to his playmaking. He made some of the most creative, if not the most absurd plays, I saw all season.”
“You will hear me use the term “improvising” a lot with Zegras. That goes to how special his brain is. He reacts so quickly and develops unique solutions to problems on the ice very quickly.”
Getzlaf for years has made Ducks fans react the same way over and over again. In the words of AC vet Benny, he makes the kind of plays that just say, “I’m Ryan Getzlaf and you’re not.”
Zegras has that same type of creativity, but uses it even more. The only hope is that his path forward in development as a Boston University commit and into the NHL does not run into stuck-up coaches who try to erase that creative spirit from his arsenal.
Zegras also has some of the better set of hands in the draft. He can easily go one-on-one with defenders to create extra time and space to make decisions. His shot, while not incredible, is very underrated and could certainly be good for 20-30 goals per year if he decided to shoot more. But like Getzlaf, he is first and foremost a pass-first player, one who would prefer to set up linemates instead of taking the glory for himself.
As for his skating, the optimal word would be “fine”. He’s not an elite skater by any means, but in today’s world of fast-paced burners, he fits in just fine and has no problem keeping up with the majority of his peers. Luckily, his incredible hockey IQ makes his lack of elite speed more or less of a non-issue.
On the defensive side of the puck, Zegras lives up to his two-way reputation again using his hockey IQ. While not the greatest defensive center in the league, his high-level thinking translates well from the offensive zone to the defensive zone. He has an ability to see the same plays his opponents see unfolding on the ice, and can use that knowledge to get into position to clear the puck out of dangerous areas and set it up for transition.
Zegras is not the kind of player whose actual on-ice results have reflected that of a dominant force. While he has shown plenty of flashes of it, the point totals haven’t exactly jumped off the page. Results matter, of course, so hopefully his next year or two at Boston University can help him get the point totals that make the team that drafts him much more confident in their pick.
At the very least, Zegras could give the Ducks a lethal one-two power play quarterback punch. With Zegras and Troy Terry both commanding respective power play units from the half-wall, the Ducks could be set up for many years to come with the man-advantage.
Zegras may not have as high of a ceiling as fellow centers Jack Hughes or Alex Turcotte, but he has the potential to become a bonafide first line star in the NHL. If that’s what his future holds, the Ducks can check off their biggest need as they transition to a new generation of leaders.
Expected NHL debut: 2021-2022.