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Graduated Prospect: Max Comtois
By Thomas Harrington
Welcome to the first graduated prospect review of the summer: Max Comtois.
As I’ve done every summer, I’ll be going through and writing about most of Anaheim’s prospects. I’ll start out with the players who graduated from the prospect ranks, followed by prospect profiles for any new prospects the Ducks picked up in the last year, and finally, the prospect updates, where I’ll give updates on all prospects still with the organization that I wrote about a year ago.
After playing in 39 NHL games over the previous two seasons, Comtois technically wasn’t a rookie. However, he also played in 35 AHL games and hadn’t established himself as a full time NHL player yet.
This past season, that all changed.
The Ducks played 56 games this past season; Comtois appeared in 55 of them, and led the Ducks with 16 goals and 33 points, while his 17 assists were third, behind only Cam Fowler and Rickard Rakell. In fact, 15 of Comtois’ goals were scored at even strength, tied for 31st in the league. A few more powerplay goals and he would have scored 20 goals in the shortened season.
Comtois had a strong start to the season, with three goals in his first two games, but then followed that up with a five-game pointless streak. After that, he had a pretty consistent season, going no more than a couple of games without a point through most of the season. He only had one other extended pointless streak, when he went six games without a point in March. Comtois never had any lengthy point streaks, but did score in bunches. He finished the year with eight multi-point games.
Comtois actually surpassed the expectations that I had set for him last offseason. I expected another year of him going back and forth between the NHL and AHL, primarily because of how deep Anaheim was at left wing coming into the season. However, Rakell ended up playing on the right side a lot of nights, Sonny Milano spent most of the year injured, and frankly, no other left winger played as well as Comtois did. As a result, he was a mainstay, being in Anaheim’s lineup virtually every game.
Before the season, I just wanted Comtois to show that he was improving against NHL competition when he was with the Ducks. Well, he was one of the few Anaheim players who I can honestly say that I was not disappointed with. His season wasn’t perfect, but given the way the year went, I was very happy with Comtois’ progress and play.
This coming season, Comtois should continue to be part of Anaheim’s youth movement. He, Troy Terry, and Trevor Zegras formed a dangerous, exciting line to end the season. If they can continue to play well together, they could be the most exciting line that Anaheim has had in several years. Comtois’ spot isn’t guaranteed; the Ducks still have Max Jones, Rakell, Nicolas Deslauriers, Danton Heinen, and a hopefully-healthy Milano. Comtois is going to need to build off this breakout season and become a consistent 20-goal, 50-point player.
Comtois is a restricted free agent, and there’s no question that Anaheim will qualify and extend him. The only question is for how long. When Terry’s entry-level deal was up, he re-signed for $1.45 million per year for three years. When Rakell re-signed, it was for about $3.8 million per year for six years.
Personally, I think that Comtois will fall somewhere between these two deals. Terry had 15 points in 47 games before signing his deal, while Rakell was coming off his first 20 goal season before he signed his. Since he led the team in scoring, his numbers might be close to what Rakell got, but I don’t think it will exceed that number, unless the Ducks decide to lock him up for five or more years.
Comtois is not eligible for the expansion draft this summer; therefore, the Ducks do not have to use one of their protection slots on him. However, if he was eligible, there’s no question, the Ducks would protect him. After the season the Ducks just had, they desperately need scoring, and no one on the Ducks put the puck in the back of the net this season as well as Comtois. While I don’t think he’ll ever be an elite scorer, he was scoring at a 20-goal pace, and the hope is he’ll be able to score at that rate consistently over his career.
The next graduated prospect will be on Isac Lundestrom.
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June 7th, 2021