Team Recaps: Anaheim Ducks
Steve Kournianos | 11/12/2020 | Nashville | [hupso]
The Ducks have a rich history when it comes to drafting and developing defensemen and turning them into quality NHL contributors, so it made sense that a team who picked only eight blueliners from the previous five drafts would jump for a game-breaking talent like Jamie Drysdale (pictured). Additionally, they drafted two soft-mitted wingers with high-end scoring abilities in Jacob Perreault and Sam Colangelo, then added two more offensive-minded rearguards in Ian Moore and Thimo Nickl. An interesting tidbit surrounds their fifth rounder Artyom Galomov, who is 21 years old and the first Russian-trained forward taken by Anaheim since Stanislav Chistov in 2001. Four of the Ducks’ first five picks were within 10 spots of where I ranked them in June, plus they took two of my top overagers in Galimov and Swedish center Albin Sundsvik, so it goes without saying that I consider their 2020 class to be a home run.
Jamie Drysdale, Defenseman (6th overall)
This pick makes too much sense, and for a variety of reasons. Not only is Drysdale a ton of fun to watch, but he also is the kind of defenseman the Ducks would keep unbridled and allow him to run his own show, similar to what Vancouver did with Quinn Hughes, Colorado with Cale Makar, and Dallas with Miro Heiskanen. He may need another year to get stronger, but you’d like to think the Ducks want him to join Hampus Lindholm, Cam Fowler, and Josh Manson while they are still in their prime.
Jacob Perreault, Right Wing (27th overall)
Ranked 21st in my final list, Perreault danced near the top 15 for most of the season and certainly showed skills usually reserved for the top-tier guys. His shot and release baffled OHL goalies for two straight years, and I said it time and again that he probably was the best sharp-angle scorer in the entire class. Some people seem confused as to why (or even how) his skating can be “inconsistent”, but trust me, it’s a freaky thing that puzzled a lot of us throughout the campaign — one night he looks like Tony Amonte on steroids, the next like Gordie Howe in the green pants. For all we know, this can be some sort of ruse on his part, because he’s in open ice a lot and can enter the zone effortlessly at any speed.
Sam Colangelo, Right Wing (36th overall)
This big-bodied playmaker joins Perreault and 2019 first-rounder Brayden Tracey to give the Ducks’ farm system impressive wing depth to compliment centers like Trevor Zegras and Isac Lundestrom. He’s headed to Northeastern and should challenge for a spot on the under-20 world junior squad. Colangelo was ranked 33rd in our final list so he went where he was expected to go.
Ian Moore, Defenseman (66th overall)
Moore is a slick puck mover headed to Harvard who like Colangelo is on USA Hockey’s WJC radar. He’s an excellent skater in any direction and has ideal size (6-foot-2) for withstanding the rigors of the Pacific Division. If asked why they took another right-shot offensive defenseman only two rounds after selecting the draft’s premier righty in Drysdale, the Ducks can just point to Moore’s intriguing combination of length and wheels.
Thimo Nickl, Defenseman (104th overall)
Speaking of right-defensemen, Nickl was one of the QMJHL’s top import rearguards and he didn’t waste time establishing himself on a rebuilding Drummondville’s lead power-play unit, which operated at 21 percent. Nickl earned and kept a minute-eating role early into his rookie season and did so without the luxury of a veteran group to cover for any mistakes. This reality seemed to toughen Nickl up and also afford him more chances to showcase his puck skills. There are things to work on beyond the playmaking and shooting but this is the kind of kid who will push hard to get his name mentioned with the Drysdales and Moores of the world.
Artyom Galimov, Wing/Center (104th overall)
Although I didn’t notice Galymov until the 2019 world juniors, he has been one of my favorite overagers to track since. His speed and shot; being a PK threat; plus the fact that he played center — these were too pronounced to ignore. If Anaheim can get him to come over sooner, Galimov can challenge their notable forward prospects while being a difference-maker at either 5v5 or on special teams. Galimov is the first Russian-league skater drafted by the Ducks in 29 years.
Albin Sundsvik, Center (160th overall)
Ranked 175th in my 2019 rankings but passed over during his first look, Sundsvik got a well-deserved call from the Ducks in Round 6 of 2020. He has ideal size (6-foot-1) for any center prospect, let alone one who plays a responsible 200-foot game, and his addition beefs up Anaheim’s impressive collection of two-way pivots that already includes fellow Swede Isac Lundestrom and Bo Groulx. Sundsvik was one of the draft’s top faceoff specialists.
Ethan Bowen, Wing/Center (207th overall)
A North Dakota recruit who served on Chilliwack’s top line as a winger, Bowen plays a heady game built on puck possession and protection, and delivering accurate passes. It was odd to see his official weight being listed at 154 pounds, because Bowen neither looks nor plays like a 154-pound forward (the BCHL official site lists him at closer to 180 pounds). Although his speed is average, Bowen has all the traits you would want in either a pass-first center or versatile winger, to include the 200-foot game and operating on both the power play and penalty kill. For what it’s worth, the last two prospects the Ducks drafted out of the BCHL — defensemen Josh Manson (2011) and Justin Schultz (2008) — became NHL regulars.