Prospect Update: Marcus Pettersson

Photo: Anaheim Ducks

By Thomas Harrington

The Anaheim Ducks drafted Marcus Pettersson in the 2014 NHL Entry Draft. He spent the next three seasons developing in Sweden, primarily in the SHL. This past year, he made his North American debut and had an up and down season, but finished the year playing playoff hockey with the Ducks.

Pettersson started the season off with a fantastic training camp and preseason and was incredibly noticeable. Jaycob Megna ended up getting that final defensive spot, but Pettersson was very close to taking it. Pettersson started the season out with the Gulls and had two assists in his AHL debut. Overall, he played in 44 games with San Diego and recorded 14 assists. After a great training camp, he had a bit of a slow start to the season and struggled a bit with the Gulls as he adjusted to North American hockey. However, as the season progressed, Pettersson’s game continued to improve, and in February, he was recalled to Anaheim. He did not play in any more AHL games the rest of the season. Despite being in Anaheim for so long, he still finished fifth among San Diego’s rookies in scoring and second on rookie defense scoring.

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Pettersson made his NHL debut on February 15th against the Chicago Blackhawks. He played more than 13 minutes and had a +2 rating. He scored his first career NHL goal, and first goal in North America, against Chicago in March. Overall, he played in 22 games and scored one goal and four points with Anaheim. Most nights, he played between 12 and 15 minutes but played a career-high 18:06 against Winnipeg in late March. In the playoffs, he played in all four games against the Sharks and finished scoreless in that series. Pettersson was primarily used on the bottom pair and fit in quite nicely with the Ducks. While he likely won’t ever be a top pairing player, he rarely looked overwhelmed against NHL competition and proved that he’s ready to be given more of a chance this coming year.

Pettersson absolutely exceeded the expectations that I had for him a year ago. As a player arriving in North America, I was expecting him to have some struggles, especially early on. Well, that did happen. However, once he was acclimated to Anaheim and San Diego’s system, I was expecting him to primarily play on the bottom pairing with the Gulls since the team had a number of other quality defensemen. Instead, he just kept getting better, and eventually was given a chance at the NHL. Once there, he quickly distinguished himself and proved that he belonged with the Ducks, much sooner than I, or most, anticipated. It’s always great to see a player develop so quickly and surprise people with a great season.

The Return of Ryan Kesler?

After last season’s success, expectations for this season will be substantially higher. According to Bob Murray, he expects Pettersson to be one of two rookie defensemen who could see substantial time in Anaheim. The other is Jacob Larsson. After last season, and with those comments by Murray, my expectations for Pettersson are simple; play as many games as possible in the NHL. While it wouldn’t surprise me to see him play in some games with the Gulls at some point this season, I’d like him to spend a majority of the season with the Ducks. I won’t set a point expectation for him, given that offense isn’t his strength. Instead, I’d like to see him really develop into a solid bottom pairing defenseman. If he develops properly, he can become a solid second pairing defenseman someday.

In terms of his NHL future, well, Pettersson is right on the cusp. Last summer, I thought he was at least a year or two away, but he’s developed faster than expected. He may not be a full-time NHL player this coming year, but he’s clearly going to see time with the Ducks. By next year, I’m hoping he’s got a full-time job with Anaheim.

Pettersson has one year left on his contract and will be a restricted free agent next summer. Assuming he doesn’t regress substantially this coming season, Anaheim will certainly re-sign Pettersson, and he’s got an excellent chance at landing a one-way contract with the team. It won’t be a long-term deal–he’s not there yet–but he will likely have earned himself a one-way ticket to the NHL.

The next prospect update will be on Kyle Olson. For more prospect articles visit

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August 24th, 2018


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