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Prospect Update: Connor Hvidston
By Thomas Harrington
Anaheim’s first fifth round pick from the 2022 NHL Entry Draft, forward Connor Hvidston, completed his second WHL season and made his AHL debut.
Hvidston was one of the youngest players to come out of the 2022 NHL Entry Draft, but his first year after being drafted was a good one. He played for the Swift Current Broncos and scored 21 goals and 65 points in 59 games, more than doubling his rookie season when he had 32 points. He finished third on the team in points, fourth in goals, and second in assists. Unfortunately, Swift Current missed the playoffs by three points. However, because they did miss the playoffs, Hvidston was able to join the Gulls on an ATO to end the season. Overall, he played in seven games and scored one goal while primarily being used on the team’s fourth line. Hvidston is the youngest player in franchise history to score a goal for the Gulls.
One of the reasons why Hvidston was still available in the fifth round was because of his age; it was clear that he was a project who would take time to develop. While it’s far too early to call this pick a steal, he had a very good post-draft season. In a re-draft, he’d possibly jump up into the fourth or maybe even third round. He’s got size and has good playmaking ability, as evidenced by finishing second on Swift Current in assists. He’s also a smart player who knows when to go to the front of the net.
Hvidston will be returning to the WHL for his third season with Swift Current. Hvidston has shown remarkable improvement in his two WHL seasons, but I don’t want to set his expectations too high. First, I want him to set a career in goals and points. He won’t double his production from last year and probably won’t increase it by 30 either. However, if he can be in the 70 point range, I’ll be happy with his development. Second, after finishing third on his team in points last season, to finish second on the team in points this coming season. Finally, Swift Current came agonizingly close to the playoffs last year. It would be great to see Hvidston help lead them back to the postseason.
Hvidston is still a number of years away from making it to the NHL. He’ll spend more time in both the WHL and AHL before he gets a shot in Anaheim. As a result, I don’t think we’ll see him in an Anaheim lineup until the 2026-2027 season at the earliest, and that’s if everything goes right for him over the next few seasons.
Hvidston is currently unsigned and the Ducks hold his rights until June 2024. Given how this past season went, as long as he puts together another strong season, I’m confident the Ducks will sign him to an entry-level deal. However, if he really struggles this year, the Ducks could choose to not sign him and lose his rights.
The next prospect update will be on goaltender Lukas Dostal.
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September 6th, 2023