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NHL Mock Draft 2019: Anaheim Ducks select Nathan Légaré with the No. 29 overall pick

Légaré is a pure sniper that could complement an elite playmaker potentially taken with the ninth overall pick.

Baie-Comeau Drakkar v Blainville-Boisbriand Armada Photo by Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images

Nathan Légaré

Date of Birth: January 11, 2001

Age: 18

Place of Birth: Montreal, Quebec

Nation: Canada

Position: RW

Height: 6’0”

Weight: 201 lbs / 91kg

Shoots: Right

This pick might be seen as a bit of a reach given that most draft boards have Légaré as going in the second round, but in my defense, of all the players left from my list, it came down to Ville Heinola and Légaré. Heinola was already taken but I don’t see this selection as an unwanted consellation prize. It’s more along the lines of filling a need.

I wrote a brief introduction about him in my Prospect Countdown where I speculated he could be there for the Ducks second round pick. But given his pure goal scoring ability and the totals he ended the year on, I cannot see him lasting until the 39th pick anymore.

As I initially intoned - he reads to me like a cross between Max Comtois and Daniel Sprong. Regarded as having one of the best shots in the draft, Légaré erupted from just 10 goals in in his rookie season in the Q to 45 this year, ending the year with 87 points in 68 games.

He finished tied for eighth in scoring in the Q and third among undrafted players under the age of eighteen. His 45 goals had him in a tie for second overall and tops among his 2019 draft peers - second overall in the entire CHL behind only Kaliyev.

With 196 goals for, the Ducks were dead last in that category last season. Unsurprisingly, they were also dead last in goals for per game with 2.39. They were eighth worst in power play percentage and last again in shots for per game.

I think you get the point.

The Ducks need goal scoring and they need it ASAP. They already have enough play-makers filling the system in the form of Sam Steel and Isac Lundestrom as well as potentially the selection made with the ninth overall pick.

Anaheim has also had possibly the most inconsistent and not-even-remotely scary power play in the league for the past two seasons. Légaré is an ace on the man-advantage. I don’t want to draw Ovechkin comparisons, but think of a forward in the spot that Brandon Montour was briefly used to devastating effect at the beginning of last let that sit and marinade for a bit...yeah, that's the good stuff.

Légaré fills a need and fits the M.O. for how the Ducks have been selecting or signing players over the last few seasons. A big, powerful scoring winger coming out of Quebec with a nose for the net, sound familiar? Max Comtois, Giovanni Fiore and Antoine Laganiere fit the same mold, and so far Comtois is working out.

Our friends at Eyes On the Prize have a nice piece breaking down his use on the man-advantage, which details how his shot is dangerous both as a one-time option and with space down low. They also cover some of his advanced stats which indicate that, although his shooting numbers are huge (96th percentile in expected goals through a 9 game sample), his zone exits are very poor, which they attribute to perhaps the biggest weakness in his game: skating.

Légaré has an awkward lumbering stride which wastes a lot of energy. It is what is going to put a lot of teams off selecting him and why he has been ticketed for the second round in many mock drafts.

Let me counter that with two examples of players that were overlooked because of their skating.

You may have heard of Jamie Benn and Mark Stone, selected in the 5th round and 6th rounds respectively - largely shunned because teams were scared off by their skating.

I don’t see that as a reason to be turned off by Légaré. His coaches regard him as a mature team player that is always looking to improve. Skating can be taught and improved, as it has been with countless other players.

It would make sense for the Ducks to address a pressing need in both the power play and goals per game stat departments. While Légaré might not appear to be the total package on the surface, his shot and pure sniping talent is exactly what the Ducks need.