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Ducks Make First Round of Roster Cuts
By Thomas Harrington
Earlier today, the Anaheim Ducks made their first round of roster cuts, reducing the size of their training camp roster to 60. Forward Connor Hvidston was assigned to Swift Current of the WHL, forward Sasha Pastujov was assigned to Guelph of the OHL, defenseman Tristan Luneau was assigned to Gatineau of the QMJHL, and defenseman Pavel Mintyukov was assigned to Saginaw of the OHL. I was a little surprised how early in camp Pastujov, Luneau, and Mintyukov were cut, but otherwise, this was unsurprising.
Hvidston was a fifth round pick from this past draft and was one of the youngest players selected in the draft. He’s not currently signed to an entry-level contract, so there was no question that he’d be returning to the WHL for this season. He did not appear in Anaheim’s lone preseason game and played in two games at the recent Rookie Tournament, but failed to record any points. Hopefully he’ll get a longer look at training camp next year and see some preseason action. This year should be a learning season for Hvidston.
Anaheim chose Pastujov in the third round of the 2021 NHL Entry Draft. I was a little surprised to see him cut already, especially since he did not play in Anaheim’s first preseason game. He didn’t play in any preseason games last year either. He played in all three games at the Rookie Tournament and was scoreless. Pastujov was great in the OHL last year; hopefully he’ll be able to dominate that league in what will likely be his final year of junior hockey.
Lineau was one of Anaheim’s two second round draft picks from the most recent draft. He appeared in Anaheim’s lone preseason game and scored a goal and two points and had five shots on goal, which was the most of anyone in that game. After such a strong game, I was a little surprised that he was cut, but given that the plan all along was for him to be back in the QMJHL this season, it’s not all that surprising. He played in all three games at the rookie tournament and recorded two assists.
Mintyukov was Anaheim’s top pick from the most recent draft and played in Anaheim’s first preseason game. He was scoreless in the contest. Mintyukov played in all three games at the Rookie Tournament and recorded one assist. He’s another player who I thought might get a longer look in camp, but again, given that the plan was always for him to head back to the OHL this season, it’s not incredibly surprising to see him sent back so early in camp.
None of these four players were going to make Anaheim’s roster this year. Hvidston and Luneau aren’t even signed to their entry-level deals yet. The plan was always to return them to their junior teams, and getting them there sooner rather than later isn’t a bad sign for any of these four players. It just means that the Ducks think they will be better served spending more time with their junior team right now and getting ready for what will hopefully be great seasons for all of them. They’ll have a chance to get more playing time and hopefully be one of the better players on their respective teams. The Ducks have a long way to go to get the size of their roster down to 23, but most positions are already decided. It’s just about getting some of the younger players a game or two in the preseason before sending them back to junior hockey or the AHL.
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September 27th, 2022