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Graduated Prospect: Alexander Volkov
By Thomas Harrington
The Ducks acquired Alexander Volkov from the Tampa Bay Lightning for prospect Antoine Morand and a seventh round pick. Unlike Max Comtois and Isac Lundestrom, Volkov was actually a rookie this past season, and has proven with Anaheim that he’s moved beyond the prospect stage and is ready to be a fulltime NHL player.
Tampa drafted Volkov in the second round of the 2017 NHL Entry Draft, 48th overall. After being drafted, Volkov spent two years in the AHL before getting a taste of the NHL last season, appearing in nine games and recording one assist. He also played in another 46 AHL games. This year, before he was traded, Volkov appeared in 19 games with the Lightning and scored three goals and five points.
With Anaheim, Volkov had some big early games, but finished with four goals and eight points in 18 games. Volkov was used up and down Anaheim’s lineup, and played between 10:14 and 16:53 in those 18 games. Volkov scored a goal in his first game with the Ducks, and then had three goals in a two-game stretch against San Jose in mid-April. He had three assists in his final eight games of the season. He also found a home for himself on Anaheim’s penalty kill unit, averaging 1:15 of shorthanded ice time per game, good for 15th on the team, and seventh among the forwards. However, he was a healthy scratch at times as the season progressed with the Ducks.
This coming season, Volkov will be one of several young Anaheim forwards competing for ice time. Depending on how things shake out, he could find himself with a top nine role, or on the fourth line. He clearly has a scoring touch, and combined with his large frame and skating ability, he could be a huge asset for the Ducks. However, even if Volkov tops out as a fourth liner going forward, it will be as a fourth line forward who can score.
Volkov will be a restricted free agent this summer. Similar to Comtois and Lundestrom, I expect him to be re-signed. I don’t expect it to be a long-term deal, but I think two or three years would make sense for him. It wouldn’t surprise me if Volkov and Lundestrom signed relatively similar deals. Volkov has shown a little more offensive upside, but Lundestrom plays a strong two-way game and is a center, so both bring their own strengths to the table. Though neither has proven themselves to be NHL stars, they both have proven themselves to be capable NHL players.
Similar to Lundestrom, Volkov is eligible for the expansion draft this summer. While Volkov played well after being acquired from Tampa Bay, it wouldn’t surprise me if he was left unprotected for the expansion draft. Volkov is a good, young player, but he’s not an elite offensive player and his defensive play is not as strong as Lundestrom’s. While it would be disappointing to lose him to Seattle, it wouldn’t be terrible. Especially if looked at through the lens of him being acquired for Morand and a 7th. If that was all that was needed to send to Seattle to protect Anaheim’s roster, I think most would be satisfied.
With the graduated prospects now complete, it’s time to move on to the prospect updates. First up is Hunter Drew.
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June 12th, 2021