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Prospect Update: Chase De Leo
By Thomas Harrington
Chase De Leo’s first season as a member of the Anaheim Ducks organization was a successful one. The Ducks acquired the forward via trade last June in exchange for Nic Kerdiles, and he was a valuable addition to the Gulls this past season.
De Leo led all San Diego players with 66 games played, while his 20 goals were tied for second on the team, his 55 points were second on the team, and his 35 assists led the team. He spent most of his time playing on the Gulls’ second and third lines, though he saw time on all four lines throughout the season. De Leo was one of 10 Gulls players to record a shorthanded goal, and he also scored two powerplay goals. He was called up to Anaheim multiple times throughout the season and played in one game for the Ducks, playing over 12 minutes and recording a +1 rating.
After a great regular season, De Leo hit a bit of a rough spot in the playoffs. He played in all 16 games and scored five goals and five points. The five goals were tied for fourth on the team, but he scored four of them in the first round against San Jose. In that series, he scored one goal in every single game and was the team’s most consistently dangerous forward in that series. Unfortunately, his offense dried up after that; he scored only one goal against Bakersfield and recorded no points in the final round against Chicago. As with much of the Gulls, his offensive production dried up as San Diego lost in the third round.
When De Leo was acquired, I didn’t expect him to play for Anaheim and I really just wanted him to continue to score at a point every other game, his approximate career average. Well, 55 points in 66 games certainly beat that, and his game in Anaheim was a nice bonus. I was hoping that he’d replace the lost production of Kerdiles, and he did more than that. In his final season in San Diego, Kerdiles scored 34 points, the only time he topped the 30 point mark in his AHL career. If De Leo had scored no goals last season, he still would have had 35 points, so he more than filled the void left by Kerdiles.
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This coming season, I expect De Leo to be one of San Diego’s offensive leaders again. He doesn’t need to lead the team in points, but if he sticks with the Gulls for most or all of the season, I’d like to see him score at least 15 goals and 45 points, if not more. However, there’s a chance that De Leo could spend time in the NHL as well. When he’s with the Ducks, I’d just like De Leo to play as much as possible, and record his first career NHL point. It can be a goal or assist, but I’d like to see him get at least one with the Ducks before the season is over.
De Leo is signed for one more year and he’ll be a restricted free agent next summer. As long as he has another strong season with the Gulls, I expect him to be qualified in a year and re-signed. It will likely be on another two-way deal for a year or two. If he wants a one-way deal, he needs to either become an elite point producer in the AHL or establish himself as an NHL player in Anaheim.
The next prospect update will be on Benoit-Olivier Groulx.
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August 27th, 2019