5 Ducks’ Draft Options at 10th Overall

The 2022 NHL Entry Draft is right around the corner and the Anaheim Ducks are expected to be quite busy. Currently armed with the 10th and 22nd overall picks, this is the third time in the last four years that they’ve had multiple picks in the first round.

The verdict is still out on many of those picks but Trevor Zegras and Jamie Drysdale—selected in the top-10 in consecutive drafts—have already proven their chops as players that have nailed down spots in head coach Dallas Eakins’ lineup. As for this year’s draft, the Ducks have quite a wide variety of players to choose from, as not much seems to be set in stone outside of the top three.

Kevin Korchinski

Kevin Korchinski is an extremely polarizing player when it comes to where he falls on draft boards. His meteoric rise this season due to his performance with the Seattle Thunderbirds in the Western Hockey League (WHL) has him pinned to be an early to middle first-round draft pick.

The Ducks certainly have a knack for developing players on the blue line, with Cam Fowler, Josh Manson, Hampus Lindholm and Shea Theodore—just to name a few—all becoming mainstays in the NHL. Theodore, of course, played for the Thunderbirds prior to being drafted by the Ducks.

Kevin Korchinski Seattle Thunderbirds
Kevin Korchinski, Seattle Thunderbirds (Brian Liesse / Seattle Thunderbirds)

The main issue with Korchinski is his defense or lack of it. It’s not exactly promising when a defenseman is leaving more to be desired from the word included in his position. His positioning and decision-making still need improvement.

Korchinski has been able to offset most of that with his incredible production in the offensive zone. His 65 assists this season were the most by a WHL defenseman in 30 years. He also possesses smooth skating and a long reach, thanks in part to his still-developing 6-foot-2 frame.

Jonathan Lekkerimäki

Jonathan Lekkerimäki has the best shot in the entire draft class for many scouts. He didn’t set the world alight this season playing against men in the Swedish Hockey League (SHL) for Djurgårdens, but his sensational play at the international level for Sweden at the U18s is what drew people’s attention.

Five goals and 15 points in six games during the U18 World Juniors was good enough to lead the entire tourney and 21 points total in 12 games for the Sweden U18s put Lekkerimaki second in points on the U18 team overall.

Not only does Lekkerimäki have a wicked shot, but he’s also got the hands and skating ability to complement it as well. Sure, he could do a little more to get inside a bit instead of being a perimeter player, but when you’ve got a shot like his, sometimes there’s reason not to. He’ll definitely need to bulk up a bit at 5-foot-11 and 172 pounds, but he has plenty of time to do so, being just 17 years of age.

The Ducks have lacked a true goalscorer ever since the primes of Corey Perry and Rickard Rakell—though Troy Terry could potentially be the next one. Adding another deadly right-handed shot to the pipeline in Lekkerimäki would be a great complement to the left-handed duo of Zegras and Mason McTavish.

Joakim Kemell

Like Lekkerimäki, Joakim Kemell’s shot is one of his greatest assets. Goalscoring depth is something the Ducks have severely lacked over the last several seasons so restocking the cupboard in one way or another through the draft makes sense. Like many goalscorers, his forte is in the offensive zone, not the defensive zone. He’ll need to improve his work in his own end in the event that pucks aren’t rippling the net at the other end.

In his first full season in the Finnish Liiga with JYP, Kemell put up 23 points (15 goals) in 39 games (an injury slowed the second half of his season). He also added eight points (six goals) in five games at the U18 World Juniors for Finland, donning the ‘A’ as an alternate captain. Not bad for someone whose 18th birthday was just a couple of months ago.

Kemell is even more diminutive than Lekkerimaki, pulling in at 5-foot-9 and 176 pounds. Physicality is something that the Finn doesn’t have trouble dealing with, but he’ll still need to put on some weight. The transition can be made, as shown with players like Cole Caufield and Alex DeBrincat, two players who came under scrutiny at their respective drafts for being on the smaller side.

Frank Nazar

Bringing up the rear on the trio of forwards on this list, Frank Nazar has spent the last two seasons playing for the U.S. National Development Program (USDP) and the USNTDP Juniors team in the United States Hockey League (USHL).

A right-handed shot just like Lekkerimäki and Kemell, Nazar’s best attribute is his skating ability. One of the quickest skaters in the draft, he uses his skating to get around opponents with ease. This leads to scoring opportunities galore—especially in transition—and he more often than not hits the mark.

Frank Nazar USNTDP
Frank Nazar, USNTDP (Jenae Anderson / The Hockey Writers)

Nazar put up 70 points in 56 games with the U.S. National U18 team this season, playing alongside a pair of potential first-round picks in Logan Cooley and Cutter Gauthier. He also posted 35 points in both of his campaigns with the USNTDP Juniors. He’ll be playing collegiate hockey at the University of Michigan next season.

Related: Top NHL Draft Prospect Frank Nazar Ready for the Next Step

Nazar is also a bit on the smaller side, coming in at 5-foot-10. He does make up for some of it with how hard he works during every shift, getting in the dirty areas and finding high-percentage scoring areas. He is also capable of playing both down the middle and on the wing, as he spent plenty of time as the USNTDP Juniors’ second-line center behind Cooley. Though, he would likely slide to wing if drafted by the Ducks because of the presence of Zegras, McTavish and Isac Lundeström. That doesn’t necessarily diminish his value as a prospect, as the Ducks could do with a few more high-upside wingers.

Pavel Mintyukov

This option could end up being one out of left field when all is said and done. Pavel Mintyukov is a native of Russia but is currently playing for the Saginaw Spirit in the Ontario Hockey League (OHL).

The Ducks have always been fairly averse when it comes to drafting Russian prospects—one in the last decade and counting—and they may be further deterred due to the current conflict between Russia and Ukraine.

There is no denying, however, that Mintyukov is a talented player. The blueliner didn’t have a season in 2020-21 due to the OHL not playing, but he did put up 62 points in 67 games this season for the Spirit. Like Korchinski, Mintyukov leaves more to be desired in the defensive end. He can be a bit reckless with his pinches while looking to create more offense. That is one area that he certainly has no issue with as he skates well and has a hard shot.

There are a plethora of options that the Ducks will have at their disposal with the 10th overall pick, certainly more than the five options presented here. Things can change in an instant and with the Ducks known to keep their cards close to their chest, we likely won’t know who they’re targeting until they’re standing at the podium ready to announce their pick.

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