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Looking Ahead To The 2019 NHL Draft
By Julius Choi
With the six consecutive playoff streak now laid to rest, the Anaheim Ducks are now on the precipice of preparing for the 2019-20 season.
And that process begins with the upcoming NHL draft on June 21 at Rogers Arena in Vancouver.
Although Anaheim dropped two spots in the draft lottery, the ninth overall pick that was settled for will be the first time since 2014 that they possessed a top 10 pick. The Ducks picked up Nick Ritchie with the 10th overall selection in that draft.
Without further ado, here are my thoughts on who the Anaheim Ducks should take a flier on in the 2019 NHL Entry Draft.
Matthew Boldy (LW):
Matthew Boldy’s skillset as a left winger makes him a very intriguing prospect which makes me believe that it is possible for him to be snagged before Anaheim takes the stage in Vancouver.
That being said, if he is available there is no question that he has to be picked up.
The Ducks have the fourth oldest forward core in the NHL at an average age of 29, according to Roster Resource.
And at the tip of the iceberg is Corey Perry, who has shaped himself into one of the franchise’s most prolific scorers.
However, at the age of 33 and fresh off an injury-riddled 2018-19 campaign that saw him notch a career-low six goals; he is no longer the player he once was and it’s time to prepare for the future.
What better way is there than for Perry to pass the torch down to Matthew Boldy?
Boldy was a part of the U.S. National Development Program this past season where he scored 33 goals and picked up 48 helpers (81 points) in 64 games.
These results come after skating on the same line as projected No. 1 prospect Jack Hughes in the U17 program the year prior. Which goes to show that Boldy can play with anyone and produce on his own.
At the age of 18, he has displayed his tremendous ability to score in tight angles which every lethal goalscorer possesses.
His scoring ability and underrated playmaking would make him an eventual top line winger. This would also bolster an Anaheim team whose 36 goals on the power play was ranked 26th in the league.
Anaheim’s depth chart on the left side is lacking and his 6’2”, 192-pound frame would be a welcome addition.
Moritz Seider (D):
Based on where he’s projected, it is not a far fetched idea that Anaheim nabs defenseman Victor Soderstrom.
Soderstrom is a great two-way player and it helps that he hails from Sweden given Bob Murray’s well-documented affinity towards Three Crowns products.
However, it’s another European blueliner that should be on the Ducks’ radar: Moritz Seider.
Seider played in Deutsche Eishockey Liga (DEL) for the Mannheim Eagles, the top professional league in Germany, tallying six points in 29 games this past season.
While his numbers don’t necessarily jump off the page, the fact that he is exposed to professional hockey at his age against grown men can only supplement his growth.
Toronto Maple Leafs forward Auston Matthews choose that path and played in the Swiss National League A before entering the draft in 2016.
Seider is a tough read for those keeping a tab on him as he is projected to be taken as high as the 11th spot and as low as 27th overall on some draft boards.
The Zell, Germany native is an ideal defenseman for the modern day NHL as he effectively navigates the puck out of his own zone and always has his head up for a quick pass to progress the play.
There are times where his positioning on the defensive end has him vulnerable to make misinformed judgments and dangerous hits.
However, naturally, because defenseman takes time to develop and reach the elite division, this is something that coaches can teach him at the lower level.
It’s incredible that Anaheim has one of the most steady bluelines in the league despite having to part ways with players like Shea Theodore and Brandon Montour.
But that is due in large part to the brain trust’s ability to properly analyze and judge a prospect’s raw talent.
Judging correctly is one thing while developing players is another. The San Diego Gulls, the Anaheim Ducks AHL affiliate, has that down to a science with head coach Dallas Eakins at the helm.
He was a former defenseman himself which allows him to assimilate with the young blueliners. Since his arrival to the AHL in 2015-16, he has had a hand in the transformation of players like Montour, Theodore, Andy Welinski, Jacob Larsson and Jaycob Megna.
Peyton Krebs (C):
For years the Anaheim Ducks have been trying to find more players after center Ryan Getzlaf to be sturdier down the middle all throughout the lineup.
This was one of the main reasons why they pursued Ryan Kesler from the Vancouver Canucks in 2014.
With Getzlaf known for his unselfishness on the ice in terms of distributing the puck to find open teammates and the chrome dome era nearing its end, the Ducks may have found their replacement with center Peyton Krebs.
Although the 68 points he put up with the Winnipeg Ice stands out, many people discredit what he’s accomplished at the WHL level because his team is one of the bottom feeders in the league.
While he does need to log in more hours in the weight room to build a bigger frame, the 5’11” Canadian treads through tough waters in all three zones.
Krebs’ speed and smooth stick handling allow him to sneak past his defenders to make a cross-ice play once in the opponent’s zone at will.
Majority of the time he enters the zone from the left side and with defenders pinching to stop him in his tracks, he finds a sliver of a passing lane to make something out of nothing.
What is also interesting is that he has an element of deceptiveness to his game. Whether it’s a pass or a shot, he uses his eye movement and body shiftiness to trick the defense.
With Sam Steel, Isac Lundestrom and Benoit-Olivier Grouix in the pipeline, it is only a matter of time that the Ducks return back to being a force in the Western Conference.
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June 18th, 2019