The Anaheim Ducks have seen a fall from grace since their 11-year run of making the postseason between 2005-2016, missing the playoffs in each of the last three seasons. With the core of those playoff teams now either gone or aging, the Ducks now look to add a new franchise face in the upcoming 2021 NHL Entry Draft.
Related: 2021 NHL Draft Guide
Luckily for them, they earned the third pick in the draft and have a golden opportunity to select their next star. My colleague, Mark Sheig, was tasked with picking the prospect he thinks could be the new face of the franchise in the second annual THW NHL Mock Draft as the Ducks’ general manager.
With the third-overall pick in The Hockey Writers‘ 2021 NHL Mock Draft, the Anaheim Ducks selected Dylan Guenther from the Edmonton Oil Kings of the Western Hockey League (WHL).
What Guenther Brings to the Ducks
When watching Guenther’s tape, prime Ryan Getzlaf immediately comes to mind. Standing at 6-foot-1, 181 pounds, he has both the strength and the skillset to become one of the premier power forwards in the NHL. The Edmonton native possesses a wicked shot that beats anyone else’s in this draft class and has the positioning skills and strength to get goals in all areas of the offensive zone, even the dirty areas.
Guenther put his goal-scoring ability on full display during the 2020-21 season. Despite playing just 12 games, he lit up the WHL, scoring 12 goals and 24 points for his hometown Oil Kings. This is following up a 2019-20 campaign that saw him score 26 goals and 59 points in 58 games. He also scored four goals and three assists for Canada’s U18 team in the U18 World Junior Championship.
Coupled with his goal-scoring ability, Guenther might have the best hockey IQ in this draft class. He knows exactly where to be at all times and is always in the right position to score goals. He’s able to be a pest in front of the net and screen the goaltender, he’s always lurking in both the dirty areas and the perimeter, searching for the right time to shoot the puck, and he always perfectly times his shots with his deadly release.
With Guenther in the fold, the Ducks find themselves with a deadly top-line duo with him and Zegras for years to come. Looking at recent Stanley Cup Champions, a duo like that has been a crucial part of many of those teams.
For instance, Nikita Kucherov and Brayden Point headlined the Tampa Bay Lightning team that just won its second Stanley Cup in consecutive years, with each of them dominating in the playoffs. Patrick Kane and Jonathan Toews also helped the Chicago Blackhawks to three Cups themselves, winning in 2010, 2013, and 2015. Truth be told, the most successful teams in recent memory have had deadly first-line duos.
Zegras and Guenther complement each other perfectly as well. The 6-foot, 171-pound center was hailed as one of the most prolific playmakers in the 2019 NHL Draft. He is fast and can break through defense to make the plays needed to get the puck on Guenther’s stick. With Zegras being a solid goal scorer himself and Guenther also having the hockey IQ to set him up, they’ll be able to make plays for each other with ease.
The connection between the two will give Ducks fans flashbacks of Getzlaf and Corey Perry’s run together, with the two young players destined to dominate together like the Anaheim legends of old. Now, Ducks fans only hope that Zegras and Guenther will be able to repeat the magic of 2007 and lead the Ducks to their second Stanley Cup in franchise history.
Colby Guy is a writer for the Florida Panthers department here at THW. He’s a senior at Florida Atlantic University and currently serves as a social media manager and photographer for FAU Owls Nest. Previously, Colby has written for FanSided as a New York Islanders, Florida Panthers, and Nashville Predators writer. He also served as Editor-In-Chief for FAU’s University Press.