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Anaheim Draft Day Two Recap
By Thomas Harrington
Before day two of the 2019 NHL Draft even started, some big names were on the move, as both Patrick Marleau and P.K. Subban were traded. Marleau went to Carolina and Subban to New Jersey. There were several other trades made during the draft, but those were easily the two biggest deals of the day.
The Ducks began day two with five picks, one in the second, one in the fourth, one in the fifth, and two in the sixth. With those five picks, Anaheim chose defenseman Jackson Lacombe 39th overall, defenseman Henry Thrun 101st overall, center Trevor Janicke 132nd overall, defenseman William Francis 163rd overall, and defenseman Mathew Hill 186th overall. As I thought, the Ducks chose both a center and a defenseman with two of their first three picks. Overall, the Ducks took two centers, four defensemen, and one winger in the 2019 NHL Draft.
Lacombe was the first high schooler chosen in the 2019 NHL Draft. He actually used to play forward and switched to defense a few years ago. Similar to Brayden Tracey, Lacombe was another big riser in draft rankings over the past year. In 54 games last season, Lacombe scored 22 goals and 89 points for Shattuck St. Mary’s. He’s an excellent skater and knows how to score from the blueline. His defensive game needs some work, and that’s something that he’ll be working on at the University of Minnesota. He’ll be joining fellow Anaheim draft pick Blake McLaughlin at Minnesota. Lacombe will likely stay there for two or three years before looking to turn pro. He loves to skate the puck up the ice, which can lead to some ugly turnovers. He’ll need to work on that, and Minnesota is a great place to develop those defensive and decision-making skills. Lacombe clearly has a lot of raw talent; now it just needs to be molded into the skill of a future NHL defenseman. He says that he models his game after former Anaheim pick Shea Theodore. If Lacombe can turn into another Theodore, the Ducks are going to be very happy with this pick.
Thrun played for the US National Development team and was a teammate of Trevor Zegras, Anaheim’s first pick in the draft. He played 64 games for them and scored eight goals and 37 points. Thrun also played in 28 USHL games and scored four goals and 23 points. A number of mock drafts and rankings had Thrun going as a third round pick, so getting him in the fourth round is a potential steal for the Ducks. While Lacombe is an offensive defenseman, Thrun is a much more well-rounded player, especially on the defensive side. Thrun has a solid offensive game, but it’s not his strength. He’s an excellent athlete and decision maker on the ice. With those two skills, he makes some very smart defensive plays. He’s a player who can excel in virtually any situation and one of the smarter defensemen in the draft. He has an excellent breakout pass, but he does need to work on carrying the puck out of his own zone, as well as his overall skating. He’ll be attending Harvard University next season, joining fellow Anaheim prospect Jack Badini. Similar to Lacombe, I think Thrun will spend two or three years in the NCAA before looking to turn pro.
Janicke played in the USHL last year for the Central Illinois Flying Aces, scoring 22 goals and 48 points in 58 games. Janicke led the team in points, was tied for the team lead in goals, and led the team with nine powerplay goals. He’s a smart, creative passer. He’s got good speed and is a useful penalty killer. Janicke is a right-handed shot who isn’t afraid to go to the net and score a greasy goal. He’s a physical player with leadership abilities. In other words, while he doesn’t have any kind of elite ceiling, he’s willing to work hard for his team and do what it takes to win. He is a good skater, has great balance, and is hard to knock off the puck. Janicke will attend the University of Notre Dame this coming season. I expect him to spend three, if not four, years there developing his game. If he can progress far enough, he’ll be seeking to turn pro following his junior or senior year.
Francis played for the Cedar Rapids RoughRiders of the USHL last season. He’s a defensive defenseman and not known for his offensive contributions. He played in 59 games and scored two goals and 10 points. Francis is 6’5” and known as a punishing, physical player. He’ll play for the University of Minnesota-Duluth next season. Similar to Janicke, I expect him to play in the NCAA for at least three if not four seasons before he thinks about turning pro. His lack of offensive upside means he’ll have a lot of work to do to make it to the NHL, but the same could have been said for Jaycob Megna.
Hill played for the Barrie Colts of the OHL last season. He scored two goals and 13 points in 65 games. It was his first full season in the OHL, though he did play 30 games with Barrie the season before. Similar to Francis, Hill is another defensive defenseman with size. Hill will spend at least the next two years in Barrie, and it wouldn’t shock me to see him spend an overage season with the Colts before looking to turn pro.
The Ducks really restocked their defensive prospect depth on the second day of the draft. Given how many defensemen have graduated to the pro ranks in recent years, that’s not very surprising. None of them will be in Anaheim soon, but give them a few years and we’ll likely see some of them suiting up for the Ducks and Gulls. Overall, the 2019 draft was a successful one for Anaheim. They got a couple of really high-end prospects, restocked their prospect defensive depth, and got a couple of potential steals.
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June 22nd, 2018