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Ducks Make Weekend Moves
By Thomas Harrington
Over the weekend, the Anaheim Ducks made several moves. First, they made more roster cuts, sending defenseman Axel Andersson, goaltender Olle Eriksson Ek, defenseman Drew Helleson, forward Dmitry Osipov, forward Ben King, and forward Bryce Kindopp to the San Diego Gulls. Anaheim’s roster now stands at 37 players. Second, Anaheim placed forward Daniel O’Regan and defenseman Austin Strand on waivers. If they clear, I expect them to be assigned to San Diego in the near future. Finally, the Ducks signed defenseman Nathan Beaulieu to a one-year contract.
Osipov is not signed to an NHL contract and has been a minor league player since the 2017-2018 season, so it was unsurprising to see him sent to the AHL. He may sign a contract to stay with the Gulls this season, or he could seek employment elsewhere.
Eriksson Ek was San Diego’s backup goaltender last year and should have the same job this year. If Lukas Dostal ends up spending any kind of significant time in Anaheim, then Eriksson Ek could end up playing in more than the 26 games he got last year.
Helleson and Andersson are both right-handed shooting defensemen. Of the two, I think Helleson is more likely to make his NHL debut at some point this year, but if Andersson plays well enough, he could make his NHL debut as well. Helleson played in one preseason game and was scoreless. He also played in two games at the Rookie Tournament and had one assist. Andersson played in two preseason games and recorded an assist.
King was drafted as an overage player at the 2022 NHL Entry Draft and is already 20, which is why he could play at San Diego this year. To do that, he’ll either need to sign his entry-level deal with the Ducks or sign an AHL-only deal with San Diego. If neither of those things happen, I believe he is still eligible to return to the WHL for an overage season, but I think he’d be better served by spending the year with the Gulls. King did not play in any preseason games and collected an assist in three games at the Rookie Tournament.
Kindopp made his NHL debut last year, getting in one game of action with the Ducks. He’s another player that I expect back up in Anaheim at some point this year. He played in one preseason game and was scoreless.
The rosters in Anaheim and San Diego are starting to really take shape. The Ducks need to cut another 14 players to get down to the 23 roster limit. However, if either of Trevor Zegras or Urho Vaakanainen misses the start of the season because of their recent injuries, then the Ducks may have an unexpected spot or two open on roster for a few games or more.
Regardless of Zegras’ and Vaakanainen’s injury status, the Ducks still have a number of players to cut. In terms of prospects, defenseman Noah Warren, goaltender Lukas Dostal, and forwards Benoit-Olivier Groulx, Josh Lopina, Mason McTavish, and Pavol Regenda are still at training camp. At this point, Warren and McTavish are the only junior-eligible players left on Anaheim’s roster, and Warren should be heading back to the QMJHL relatively soon. So most of the players that are still left to cut will be on their way to reinforce San Diego.
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September 30th, 2022