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Ducks Make Fourth Round of Roster Cuts
By Thomas Harrington
The Anaheim Ducks cut a few more players earlier today, assigning Axel Andersson, Vinni Lettieri, Brogan Rafferty, and Buddy Robinson to San Diego, and releasing Tobias Rieder from his professional tryout. The Ducks also placed forward Alexander Volkov on waivers. If he clears, he could be assigned to San Diego as well. The Ducks now have 32 players left on their training camp roster.
With those four players being assigned to San Diego, the Gulls should be more than ready for their first preseason game on Thursday. Given that this was his first camp in Anaheim, it was great to see Andersson last so long into it. Overall, he played in two preseason games and was scoreless. He’s on my dark horse list to make his NHL debut this season, and while that now won’t happen on opening night, it could still happen later in the season, especially if the Ducks decide to ship out some of their veteran defensemen by the trade deadline.
Lettieri was one of San Diego’s most dangerous forwards last season and figures to be again this season. It also wouldn’t surprise me to see him in the Ducks’ lineup at some point this season. Rafferty and Robinson were brought in to provide veteran leadership in San Diego, and could also provide veteran depth with the Ducks if needed. Rieder being released from his tryout isn’t a huge surprise, and it will be interesting to see if he’s able to sign with an NHL team by the time the season starts next week.
Volkov Placed On Waivers
Up until today, none of the moves made during training camp were a surprise, but Volkov being waived has been the first one. He’s played in three preseason games and scored a goal and an assist, both coming in the 6-3 win over San Jose in the first game of the preseason. This doesn’t mean that he definitely won’t be on the opening roster, but it does mean that it’s unlikely, and that the Ducks view other players as ahead of him.
He’s battling it out for the final forward spots with Sam Carrick, Nicolas Deslauriers, Benoit-Olivier Groulx, and Mason McTavish. Of them, Groulx in particular has had a great training camp and preseason, while Carrick and Deslauriers are known entities. McTavish is the real wild card of this group, and he’s looked good since recovering from a minor injury suffered at the rookie tournament. I still think McTavish heads back to juniors, but I also wouldn’t be surprised if he’s given a game or two of NHL action before that happens. Assuming Volkov clears, I do think he’ll end up in San Diego.
The Ducks have to cut at least nine more players before the season starts next week, and the push for the final spots on the opening roster is intensifying. However, just because a player doesn’t make the opening night roster doesn’t mean we won’t see them with the Ducks at some point this season. There’s been so much travel between the Ducks and Gulls over the last several seasons, and I expect that to continue this year as well.
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October 6th, 2021