In the latest edition of Anaheim Ducks News & Rumors, I’ll look at where the Ducks prospect system was ranked by The Athletic‘s Corey Pronman, loan deals for both Hunter Drew & Axel Andersson, and Henry Thrun’s move to the USHL for the 2020-21 season.
Ducks Loan Drew & Andersson
The Ducks loaned defenseman Hunter Drew to HC Banska Bystrica in Slovakia on Monday. Originally drafted 178th overall in the 2018 NHL Entry Draft, Drew signed an entry-level contract with the team back in March. The 2019-20 season was the first taste of professional hockey for him as he spent the majority of the season in the American Hockey League (AHL) with the San Diego Gulls. He amassed 2 goals and 7 points in 29 games played. He also played five games in the ECHL with the Tulsa Oilers in which he posted four assists.
Some extra playing time will be good for Drew as he looks to earn his NHL debut during the 2020-21 season. He is expected to return to the team when training camp opens in December.
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Heading back to August, the Ducks also loaned out Swedish defenseman Axel Andersson to Södertälje SK in the HockeyAllsvenskan. He was acquired by the Ducks in the trade that sent Ondrej Kase to the Boston Bruins. He was originally drafted 57th overall in the 2018 NHL Entry Draft.
Andersson played for Södertälje SK during the 2018-19 season and posted 5 assists in 41 games played. During the 2019-20 season he made the switch over to the Moncton Wildcats in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (QMJHL). During that time he amassed 3 goals and 24 points in 43 games played. He is eligible to either stay in Sweden, return to Moncton or play for San Diego during the 2020-21 season.
Ducks Ranked in Pronman’s Organizational Rankings
The Ducks came in 21st in Corey Pronman’s organizational rankings over at The Athletic. It’s not ideal considering they were ranked 14th in his 2019 rankings. It also hurts even more that the Los Angeles Kings are ranked 13th after fully committing to their rebuild. It’s worth noting that these ranking include all skaters who are 22 or younger, so the Toronto Maple Leafs have someone like Auston Matthews on their list.
According to Pronman, the Ducks lack any premium assets outside of 2019 ninth-overall pick Trevor Zegras. He considers Zegras to be in the elite/high-end NHL player tier with no other prospect really coming close. The next three are Sam Steel, Maxime Comtois and Max Jones who are all listed in the tier; very good NHL player. (from ‘2020 NHL organizational rankings: No. 21 Anaheim Ducks’, The Athletic – 8/28/2020)
The Ducks will obviously add to this pool with a 6th overall and 27th-overall selection in the first round of the 2020 NHL Entry Draft. Josh Mahura, Lukas Dostal, Benoit-Olivier Groulx and Brayden Tracey round out the top eight for Anaheim.
Thrun Heads To USHL, Dubuque
Henry Thrun will start the 2020-21 season in the USHL with the Dubuque Fighting Saints. (from ‘NHL-drafted defenseman picks Dubuque to continue development,’ Telegraph Herald, 08/30/2020) After the announcement that Harvard will be suspending any collegiate sports until 2021, he needed to find a place to get game time while his college season is on hold. The NCAA has allowed student-athletes to play at the junior amateur level in the meantime.
Drafted 101st overall in the 2019 NHL Entry Draft, Thrun is coming off an impressive freshman season with Harvard. He amassed 3 goals and 21 points in 31 games played. He finished third in team scoring among defensemen and finished above fellow Ducks prospect Jack Badini in points. In a comment to the Dubuque (Iowa) Telegraph Herald, Thrun detailed why he decided to head to the USHL.
“For me, I wanted to find an option that gave me the best opportunity to develop as a player, and Dubuque fits that mold really well. Kalle and Coach David really impressed me with the structure they have and the program they run in Dubuque. It’s right up my alley. They do a really good job making the program as professional as possible, especially on the side of development. So, I think it’s going to be a really good spot for me to improve my game and still keep my eligibility for whenever the NCAA is able to return to play.
What’s Next For the Ducks?
With the 2020 NHL Entry Draft now slated for Oct. 6, the Ducks will be focused on preparing for that day and deciding who they’ll take at sixth overall. With free agency on the horizon they will also need to make decisions on their pending free agents Michael Del Zotto, Matt Irwin and Ryan Miller.
With the number of loans increasing by the day it’s also possible that the Ducks loan out a few more of their prospects to get playing time before the beginning of training camps in December.