Notes: To determine who is still deemed a “prospect,” Calder eligibility will be used. Which is, by definition: “To be eligible for the award, a player cannot have played any more than 25 games previously in any single season, nor have played in more than six games in two separate preceding seasons in any major professional league…players could only be eligible if they were 26 years old or younger by September 15 of their rookie season.”
While not the flashiest prospect pool in the NHL, the Anaheim Ducks have one of the deeper farm systems in terms of all around ability. They are stocked with strong two-way players that are expected to make an impact in the at the NHL level. The team’s inconsistencies over the past few years had lead them to drafting all over the first round, with their higher picks already at the NHL level.
The team’s recent drafting success however cannot be measured without mentioning one of the early steals of the 2010 NHL Entry Draft Cam Fowler. Fowler was the 3rd defenseman taken in the draft, and made an immediate impact his rookie year.
Rikard Rakell, the Ducks first round pick in this last draft has enormous potential, but is far too unproven at this point. He may be top 3 on this list a year from now, but his first year in the OHL was limited due to injuries.
1. Emerson Etem
Date of Birth: June 16, 1992
Place of Birth: Long Beach, California
Height: 6-00 Weight: 192
Drafted: 1st Round (29) 2010
Emerson Etem possesses elite, dynamic offensive skills. His footwork is top-notch, and his top-end speed is marvelous. He can handle the puck very well while speeding up the ice. His biggest knock is that he plays smaller than his overall size. He will need to play a more physical game to make an impact on the NHL level.
2. Justin Shultz
Date of Birth: July 6, 1990
Place of Birth: Kelowna, British Columbia
Height: 6-01 Weight: 185
Drafted: 2nd Round (43) 2008
Justin Shultz became a household name in NCAA hockey this past season. He finished as a Hobey Baker finalist in his sophomore year, totaling more than a point per game. He moves the puck incredibly well, and plays with a veteran poise. He needs to work on his one-on-one battling, and his strength in the corners, but Shultz looks like he may become a real impact offensive defenseman in a few years.
3. Devante Smith-Pelly
Date of Birth: June 14, 1992
Place of Birth: Scarborough, Ontario
Height: 5-11 Weight: 211
Drafted: 2nd Round (42) 2010
Devante Smith-Pelly is built like a house of bricks, and moves like a bulldozer on the ice. He hits everything that moves, and throws opposing players around like rag dolls. He also is constantly in other players’ faces, making him tough to play against. He is more than just a wrecking crew however; he plays with a decent amount of skill. He scored 15 goals in his last playoff series, and is the type of player that will always find a niche on an NHL roster. Could crack the Ducks bottom six this year.
4. Kyle Palmieri
Date of Birth: February 1, 1991
Place of Birth: Montvale, New Jersey
Height: 5-11 Weight: 193
Drafted: 1st Round (26) 2009
After getting a small drink of water at the NHL level, Kyle Palmieri might stick with the big club this year. The speedy forward can create plays with his physicality, and moves all over the ice. His offensive skills are not fully honed yet, but there is a chance he becomes a solid 2nd liner at the NHL level. He is a pesky player to face off against on the ice, but Anaheim hopes he can be more than that.
5. Peter Holland
Date of birth: January 14, 1991
Place of Birth: Toronto, Ontario
Height: 6-02 Weight: 195
Drafted: 1st round (15) 2009
Peter Holland has progressed every year since first entering the Ontario Hockey League. The project power forward has raw tools, it’s just a matter of putting it all together for Holland. He is very disruptive along the boards and in the corners. He is a hard working forward that is not afraid to get his hands dirty. The biggest gripe with Holland is his lack of hockey intelligence.