Graduated Prospect: Benoit-Olivier Groulx

Photo: BO Groulx on IG

By Thomas Harrington

With the prospect profiles done, it’s time to look at the NHL prospects who graduated this past season, starting with forward Benoit-Olivier Groulx.

The Anaheim Ducks chose Groulx in the second round of the 2018 NHL Entry Draft, 54th overall. He has spent the last couple of years splitting time between the NHL and AHL. This past season he spent the entire year with the Ducks, playing in 45 games and recording two assists. He was primarily used on the team’s fourth line. He also saw time on the team’s penalty kill unit, averaging 1:17 per game, good for eighth among the team’s forwards. Despite not scoring any goals, Groulx fired 32 shots on net, and hit a number of posts as well.

I had two expectations for Groulx last summer. One he partially met, while the other he went above and beyond. First, I expected him to set career highs across the board in the NHL, meaning games played, goals, assists, and points. Well, he obliterated his games played mark, as his previous career high was 18 games, set in the 2021-2022 season. That year, he scored a goal and three points. Those were the parts of that expectation that he missed. Groulx isn’t a high end offensive scorer, but he has more offensive talent than we’ve seen in the NHL. With a little better luck, he would have scored a few goals last season and met the second half of this expectation. My second expectation was for him to continue to be one of San Diego’s better players. Well, he spent the entire year in Anaheim and didn’t play in San Diego for a shift.

Groulx’s spot in Anaheim’s lineup is certainly not guaranteed next season. While it was great to see him play in 45 games this past season, he was also a healthy scratch for almost half of the season. If Groulx wants to be a consistent NHL player, either in Anaheim or elsewhere, he’s going to need to be even better this coming season.

Groulx is a restricted free agent this summer. After a good but not great rookie season, I could see the Ducks deciding to not qualify him and let him leave as a free agent. However, I do think he has more to give from an offensive standpoint, and extending him by a year should prove relatively cheap. Of Anaheim’s restricted free agents this summer, I think Groulx will be one of the cheapest to retain, but he could also be the easiest to replace. The Ducks may be hoping one of their prospects like Nikita Nesterenko or Nathan Gaucher could take his place, if they choose to not qualify Groulx.

The next graduated prospect will be Jackson LaCombe.

Recent Articles:

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Prospect Profile: Cutter Gauthier

Prospect Profile: Jan Mysak

Prospect Profile: Tomas Suchanek

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June 25th, 2024


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