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Prospect Update: Brayden Tracey
By Thomas Harrington
Anaheim’s second first round pick from 2019, forward Brayden Tracey, completed his second full professional season, spending the entire year in the AHL with San Diego.
Tracey played in a career-high 62 games for the Gulls and scored 10 goals and 28 points. Like a lot of San Diego players, his numbers fell from the 2021-2022 season when he scored 11 goals and 31 points in 55 games, though not as significantly as some of his teammates. However, it was still a disappointing season for the former first round pick. Tracey’s 28 points ranked sixth on the team and his 10 goals ranked fifth. He matched his career high in points in a game with three in a game in mid-November against Grand Rapids. Tracey was primarily used on San Diego’s second and third lines.
Tracey missed out on the expectations that I set for him a year ago. After a breakthrough year in the 2021-2022 season, I was hoping his strong play would continue. First, I wanted him to be a more consistent scorer and have fewer and shorter pointless streaks. After scoring 11 points in his first 14 games of the season, his offense dried up, similar to the previous season. He went without a point for five games or more on four separate occasions, with an eight-game pointless streak being his longest. Second, I wanted to see him improve all of his offensive numbers. His numbers dropped off, but not significantly. Finally, I wanted to see him called up to the NHL again; I was hoping for something in the neighborhood of five to 10 games. Instead, he spent the entire year in the AHL.
Tracey will likely be back in the AHL for much of this coming season again. Hopefully he’ll also get some time in the NHL. If you look at capfriendly.com, there’s not a ton of roster space for up-and-coming forward prospects. However, there are a couple of forwards who could be waived if younger players outplay them. If Tracey can play well enough during training camp, the preseason, or in San Diego, then he could be among the first callups from the Gulls.
After this past season, my expectations for Tracey are somewhat tempered. He’s been an interesting prospect to watch develop, and he’s a good reminder that progression is not linear and is different for every player. His first two years after being drafted weren’t great, but his first full year in the AHL was very good. Then he essentially plateaued this past season. First, I want to see him match what he did in his rookie season, if not exceed it. Second, I want to see him play at least a game for the Ducks after failing to do so last season. I don’t view this as a make-or-break season for Tracey, but playing more games with the Ducks will help show how he fits with them long-term.
Tracey has one more year left on his entry-level contract. Given that he’s a former first round pick, I do expect him to be re-signed a year from now. However, if he spends most or all of this season in the AHL, it will probably be on a two-way deal. But, if he can break through and spend a significant part of this season in Anaheim, he could get a one-way deal a year from now.
The next prospect update will be on forward Michael Callow.
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September 1st, 2023