Despite his flashy 18-point performance at the 2021 World Juniors Championship, Trevor Zegras will not be immediately joining the Anaheim Ducks for the start of the 2021 season. Ducks head coach Dallas Eakins had much to say on the decision when speaking to the media after Tuesday’s practice, emphasizing how the organization values AHL development.
From Elliotte Teaford, Los Angeles Daily News:
“It’s really simple,” Ducks coach Dallas Eakins said. “It goes back to what I’ve said before. We want to do our best to put players in good places to succeed. It’s our jobs to really look after their careers. Their careers early on are very fragile. This has been going on long before I got here.” [...]
“It doesn’t mean you’ve got to go play [in the AHL] a year,” Eakins said. “It doesn’t mean you’ve got to play there two years. But we really highly value that experience for a player, so both of those players, maybe they’re going to play one game, maybe they’re going to play two, maybe they’ll be there a week.
“From Ryan Getzlaf to Corey Perry to Bobby Ryan to Hampus Lindholm, Rickard Rakell, just go down the list other than Cam, they’ve all gone and had that experience. Both players (Drysdale and Zegras), they’re going to understand that. They’re both chomping at the bit to be NHL players.
“But, in the end, it is our job to look after their careers and we’re going to do that accordingly.”
The Athletic’s Eric Stephens took note of a similar sentiment:
“We are so proud and we’re excited about these two young men,” Eakins said. “They both had unbelievable tournaments. Trevor has a gold medal and had an incredible tournament. We’re excited about both guys. We firmly believe both guys are going to play in the NHL. The but is — and this isn’t a negative thing, this is part of the process — they have to be better than somebody on our roster. So, that’s where it comes into.
“Last year, we took the approach with our team that we were going to give and make sure we got certain players necessary reps. We are not interested in going down that road. These guys have got to be better than somebody that we have in our lineup.” [...]
“The other thing is I always think it’s really important to do your best to set young players up for success. When you start doing that, not only are you looking at maybe who they should play with to complement but it’s also who are they playing against. That’s another part of the process.”
Basically: we can’t rule out a Trevor Zegras debut this season, but it’s on him to make it happen by being better than someone with a roster spot. Trust the process, baby.
Read more on the great Zegras debate below.
On the Pond
- Ducks send Trevor Zegras, Jamie Drysdale to AHL to start season [LA Daily News]
- Trevor Zegras won’t be on Ducks’ opening-night roster, so what’s the plan? [The Athletic]
- Ducks Trade for Dubois Would Be Expensive, but Worth It [The Hockey Writers]
- Anaheim Ducks 2021 season preview: Can John Gibson return to elite form? [ESPN+]
- Ducks ready, eager to compete [The Fourth Period]
- ‘Remember the name Trevor Zegras’ — The story behind the 10-year-old viral tweet [The Athletic]
Around the World
- 2021 NHL Goalie Tiers: Anonymous panel of GMs and coaches rates all 31 starters [The Athletic]
- 31 Thoughts: Intriguing NHL futures bets for 2020–21 season [Sportsnet]
- The most interesting names on the NHL’s historic waiver day [Pensburgh]
- Will All NHL Coaches Have Job Security in 2020-21? [Sports Illustrated]
- Expecting billions in losses during short season, NHL’s Gary Bettman says ‘it would be cheaper for us to shut the doors and not play’ [ESPN]
- NHL 2021 season debate: The worst and best offseason moves [USA Today]
- O’Ree helmet decals to honor NHL’s first Black player, observe MLK Day [NHL]
- Bouwmeester retires from NHL after 17 seasons [NHL]
On the Schedule
- Pittsburgh Penguins at Philadelphia Flyers, 2:30 PST/5:30 EST on NBCSN, SN1
- Montreal Canadiens at Toronto Maple Leafs, 4 PST/7 EST on SN, TVAS
- Chicago Blackhawks at Tampa Bay Lightning, 5 PST/8 EST on NBCSN
- Vancouver Canucks at Edmonton Oilers, 7 PST/10 EST on SN, SN1, TVAS2
- St. Louis Blues at Colorado Avalanche, 7:30 PST/10:30 EST on NBCSN, ALT