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Anaheim’s 2019 Development Camp
By Thomas Harrington
Earlier today, the Anaheim Ducks announced the dates and roster for their 2019 summer development camp. The camp will open on June 26th and run through June 29th, and there will be a practice at 10 a.m. open to the public on the 29th at the Great Park Ice & FivePoint Arena located at 888 Ridge Way, Irvine, CA 92618. If you can, I highly recommend that you attend, as it will give you a firsthand look at Anaheim’s most recent draft picks, as well as players chosen over the previous few drafts.
All seven players chosen at the 2019 NHL Draft will be in attendance: Francis William, Mathew Hill, Trevor Janicke, Jackson LaCombe, Henry Thru, and first rounders Brayden Tracey and Tervor Zegras. None of these seven are expected to be in the NHL or AHL this year, so this will be one of the few times that fans will get a chance to see them this season. Since several of them are going to be playing NCAA hockey this coming year, they won’t even be at training camp in the fall. So this is really it to see Zegras in action unless you plan on watching some BU hockey this year. Tracey and Hill are the only two I would expect to see at training camp in the fall before heading off to their respective junior teams for the year.
Joining them will be six players chosen in the 2018 NHL Draft: Lukas Dostal, Hunter Drew, Roman Durny, Benoit-Olivier Groulx, Blake McLaughlin, and Jackson Perbix. Isac Lundestrom is the lone player from the 2018 Draft who will not be attending. Dostal spent last season in Europe, and I believe that he’ll be over there for at least one more season. Drew just completed his third season in the QMJHL. He could return for one more overage season, or sign a professional deal and join the Gulls this fall. This past year was Durny’s first full season in North America. He played in the USHL for the Des Moines Buccaneers. I’m not sure if he’ll return to them this coming season or start playing NCAA hockey, which is where a lot of USHL players end up going. Groulx had a fantastic season in the QMJHL, scoring 80 points for Halifax. He has one more year with the Mooseheads before he turns pro. McLaughlin had a solid freshman season playing for the University of Minnesota. I think he’s got at least another year or two of NCAA hockey before turning pro. Perbix played for two teams in the USHL this past season, the Green Bay Gamblers and the Des Moines Buccaneers. He’ll be attending the University of Minnesota this year and I anticipate he’ll play there for two or three years before looking to turn pro.
Four players from Anaheim’s 2017 draft class will be at camp: Jack Badini, Max Comtois, Olle Eriksson Ek, and Antoine Morand. Kyle Olson is the lone player from the 2017 group who will not be in attendance. He was not signed by Anaheim and was eligible to be selected in the 2019 NHL Draft. Badini completed his sophomore season at Harvard University, recording 20 points. He’ll be back there in the fall, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see him return for his senior season. Comtois was all over the place, playing in Anaheim, San Diego, Canadian juniors, and the World Junior Championship last season. He’ll be a full-time pro this season, and will likely see time in both Anaheim and San Diego. Eriksson Ek finished up his final season in Europe and he’s expected to be in San Diego this season, likely sharing goaltending duties with Kevin Boyle. Morand finished his final season of junior hockey as captain of the Halifax Mooseheads. He’ll be joining the Gulls this year, and may even make his NHL debut, though I think he’s still a year or so away from playing for the Ducks.
The Ducks will have four players from their 2016 draft class at camp: Sam Steel, Max Jones, Josh Mahura, and Jack Kopacka. Alex Dostie and Tyler Soy are the two members of the 2016 class who will not be at camp. Steel and Jones both split time between Anaheim and San Diego this past season. My expectation is that they spend most, if not all, of this season in the NHL. Mahura also got some time in the NHL, but I think he’ll spend most of the year in the AHL again. However, depending on what happens with Anaheim’s blueline this summer, there could be an open spot or two for a rookie defenseman, and with a great camp, Mahura could grab it. Kopacka finished his first season with the Gulls, but he missed half the season with an injury. Hopefully, he can stay healthy this year and put up some big numbers with San Diego.
Four players from the 2015 NHL Draft will be at camp: Brent Gates Jr., Steven Ruggiero, Garrett Metcalf, and Troy Terry. Jacob Larsson and Julius Nattinen are the only two members of the 2015 class who will not be in attendance. Neither Gates nor Ruggiero have been signed by the Ducks, and if they aren’t they will become free agents in August. The fact that they are both attending camp shows me that the Ducks are still thinking about signing them to professional deals and having them play with San Diego this year. Gates actually signed an ATO and played in six games with the Gulls at the end of the regular season. Metcalf played for Mercyhurst University this past season, and I anticipate him returning there this year. Terry split time between Anaheim and San Diego, and the expectation is for him to be a full-time Duck this season.
Besides the drafted players, Anaheim will have two free agents in attendance: Kiefer Sherwood and Simon Benoit. Sherwood was the surprise player of last season and was one of Anaheim’s top rookies of the year. Expect to see more of him in Anaheim this season. Benoit spent the entire season in San Diego on an AHL only deal, but he recently signed an entry-level contract with the Ducks that will begin this season. He’s likely at least a year or two away from a shot at the NHL.
The Ducks will have one other player in attendance, the recently acquired Brendan Guhle. Guhle should spend the upcoming season in Anaheim and has a shot at a top-four role with the Ducks. He missed the end of the season with an injury, so it will be interesting to see how well he has recovered from it.
Anaheim will have no college or junior invitees attending this year’s development camp. It’s a little surprising to see none on the list, but I suppose that Anaheim feels they have enough of their own prospects attending camp to fill out the roster. Benoit was a former invitee before being signed by the Ducks.
Development camp is the perfect tonic for the hockey-starved fan in June, and for Anaheim fans, especially who haven’t seen their team play for several months. If you can go, I highly encourage it. It’ll be your first chance to see Anaheim’s newest prospects and see how others are progressing. Remember, for prospects playing in the NCAA or Europe next season, this will be your only chance to see them on the ice until next summer, as most of them will not be at training camp this fall.
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June 23rd, 2018