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Prospect Update: Kyle Olson
By Thomas Harrington
The Anaheim Ducks drafted Kyle Olson last year in the fourth round of the NHL Entry Draft, and he just completed his third year of junior hockey this past season.
Olson played for the Tri-City Americans of the WHL, the only team that he’s played for. Unfortunately, injuries caused him to miss a large portion of the season, and some of the playoffs. Overall, he appeared in 36 games and scored four goals and 18 points. In the playoffs, he played in 10 games, scoring two goals and six points. Olson had a bit of a slow start to the year, but he had a three-game point streak that began in October and took him into November, as well as a second three-game point streak in late December. Olson was injured at the beginning of January and didn’t return until March. Olson played in 10 of Tri-City’s 14 games, but still managed to finish ninth in playoff scoring for the Americans.
This coming season, Olson will step into a leadership position with the Americans, as he will serve as one of the alternate captains for his team. Hopefully he’ll embrace that leadership mantle and it will help him develop more over the coming season.
After a season marred by injuries, my number one hope for Olson this coming year is for him to stay healthy. If he can do that, then we’ll hopefully see him return to the form that saw him score 20 goals in the 2016-2017 season. One of the reasons why Anaheim selected Olson was because of his jump of production from his rookie year to his sophomore campaign. Hopefully he can experience a similar jump in his fourth year of junior hockey.
Olson has at least one more year of junior hockey ahead him, two if he chooses to have an overage season. Depending how this coming season goes, one more year of of junior hockey might be in his best interest. Losing half a season of development is tough on a young player, but I think it will largely depend how well he bounces back this coming season. Anaheim has had two recent prospects who took an extra year of juniors, Tyler Soy and Giovanni Fiore. Soy was a seventh round pick, after his final year of juniors, Anaheim opted to not sign him, and he became a free agent. Fiore was an undrafted free agent who the Ducks signed after a great final season of junior hockey, and he just completed his first year of professional hockey. If Olson does end up taking an extra year of junior hockey, hopefully his path mirrors that of Fiore.
Olson is still a number of years away from making it to the NHL. He’s got at least one, maybe two more years of junior hockey ahead him, followed by at least a year or two of minor league hockey as well. So at the fastest, he’s two years away, but I think he’s probably three or four years away from making his NHL debut. His path to the NHL will largely depend on how well he bounces back this coming season.
Olson has yet to sign his entry-level deal with Anaheim. If he does, it will be a three-year entry level contract. Given that he has yet to sign a professional deal, the Ducks clearly want to see how he responds this coming season. If he has a strong bounce back season, expect the Ducks to sign him sooner rather than later. If he doesn’t, the Ducks may choose to not sign him and eventually lose his rights.
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August 26th, 2018