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Ducks Draft Carlsson Second Overall; 30th Anniversary Jersey Revealed
By Thomas Harrington
The Ducks entered the 2023 NHL Entry Draft with the second overall pick. Chicago, unsurprisingly, took Connor Bedard first overall. The Ducks then stepped up to the podium and selected center Leo Carlssson. Rounding out the top five, Columbus took Adam Fantilli third overall, San Jose took Will Smith fourth overall, and Montreal took David Reinbacher fifth overall. Matvei Michkov was one of the most intriguing names coming into this draft. Based on talent, he should have been taken in the top five, if not top three. However, given his three-year contract in the KHL and the ongoing political issues between Russia and the rest of the world, he ended up falling to seventh overall where the Philadelphia Flyers took him.
Carlsson continues Pat Verbeek’s streak of selecting players with size. He stands at 6’3” and uses it effectively. He’s one of the smarter players in the draft and plays an effective 200 foot game. The Ducks didn’t make any moves in the first round.
Carlsson is not a lock to play in the NHL next year, but I think it’s a real possibility. He played against men last year in the SHL, putting up 10 goals and 25 points in 44 games. The SHL is one of the best hockey leagues in the world. His 25 points are the fifth most ever by a draft eligible player in the SHL, behind Daniel Sedin, Henrik Sedin, Elias Lindholm, and Nicklas Backstrom. Carlsson also had nine points in 13 playoff games; only the two Sedin twins had more playoff points than Carlsson in their draft year.
I had the Ducks selecting Fantilli second overall, but I have no issues with them taking Carlsson instead. Right now, Fantilli is probably the better prospect, but the draft isn’t about who is better right now or who will be better next season; it’s about who will have the better career. While Fantilli was ranked higher than Carlsson by most reports, it was not by a significant margin. Both played at the World Juniors and World Championships, and Carlsson was the better player in both tournaments. The Ducks had a choice between two excellent prospects, and I don’t really think they could have gone wrong with either Carlsson or Fantilli.
With Carlsson in the fold, the Ducks have potentially three elite centers: Trevor Zegras, Mason McTavish, and Carlsson. The Ducks could go three deep at center, or end up moving one of them to the wing. Either way, Anaheim’s forward group just got a significant upgrade. The next few years could be a very exciting time for Ducks fans because of these three players alone, but Anaheim isn’t done yet. The Ducks have eight more picks in the draft: 33rd overall, 59th overall, 60th overall, 65th overall, 85th overall, 97th overall, 129th overall, and 161st overall.
The first round is over, and Anaheim’s pick could very well see time with them next season. While Carlsson won’t make the Ducks a playoff team overnight, he’s a fantastic building block and should help the Ducks for years to come.
30th Anniversary Jersey
The Anaheim Ducks revealed their 30th anniversary jersey during the draft today. The team went with a throwback to the Mighty Ducks days. The jersey is mainly purple or eggplant with a similar color scheme to the first jerseys. The Ducks did use the Wild Wing shoulder patch from the 90’s as the main crest logo this time around.
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June 28th, 2023