Ducks News & Rumors: Zegras, Kulikov & More

As training camp and preseason start to approach, the Anaheim Ducks are putting the finishing touches on what will presumably be their training camp roster. After a news-heavy start to their offseason, they’re following it up with a news-heavy finish.

Former Duck Boyle Announces Retirement

Kevin Boyle isn’t a household name by any means, but he did have some memorable moments while he was a member of the Ducks organization. The goaltender shut out the Vancouver Canucks in his second career game, accounting for the only NHL win of his career. Most of his career was spent in the American Hockey League (AHL) with the San Diego Gulls, where he proved to be a reliable starting goaltender.

After four seasons in the Ducks organization, Boyle spent one season in the Detroit Red Wings organization before heading overseas to play for HC Bolzano in the International Central European Hockey League (ICEHL). He announced his retirement on Aug. 7 and concludes his playing career after four collegiate seasons and five professional seasons.

Zegras & Drysdale Get New Numbers

When Nathan Gaucher and Pavel Mintyukov were assigned Nos. 46 and 34 respectively for development camp, it was only a matter of time before new ones were announced for Trevor Zegras and Jamie Drysdale. The pair switched to Nos. 11 and 6 for the 2022-23 season, numbers that carry significance for both players.

Zegras said that No. 11 had been a number that he’s tried to wear at every level he’s played at, while Drysdale wore No. 6 for Canada at the World Juniors. With Drysdale’s preferred No. 4 occupied by Cam Fowler, No. 6 was always going to be a frontrunner for the Canadian.

Zegras Named NHL Cover Athlete

Speaking of Zegras, the young sensation will grace the cover of this year’s NHL video game alongside Sarah Nurse. It’s a first for the Ducks as they’ve never had a player adorn the cover of an NHL game in North America (Teemu Selanne and Jonas Hiller were previously cover athletes for it in their respective countries).

Trevor Zegras Anaheim Ducks
Trevor Zegras, Anaheim Ducks (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

With his dazzling set of moves on the ice and colorful personality to match off the ice, the decision to put Zegras on the cover marks another transition toward marketing the league’s young stars. While he can’t quite be deemed a “star” just yet in the realm of say, an Auston Matthews or Alex Ovechkin, he’s certainly one in the making, and being named a cover athlete so early into his career confirms it.

Trio of Ducks Prospects Win Gold at World Juniors

When the 2022 World Juniors Tournament was postponed earlier this year, Ducks prospects Mason McTavish and Olen Zellweger were slated to light up the tourney. They got to do just that at the rescheduled one last month and were joined by 2022 NHL Draft choice, Nathan Gaucher, who was added to the new Team Canada roster.

McTavish and Zellweger spearheaded the Canadian offense, totaling 17 and 11 points respectively en route to a gold medal. Both were named to the World Juniors All-Star Team and McTavish was also named tournament MVP. The latter, who was named team captain of Canada, also had a critical goal-line save during overtime in the gold medal game against Finland. After the puck got past goaltender Dylan Garand, McTavish batted it down just before it crossed the goal line and swept it out of danger. Moments later, Kent Johnson scored, securing gold for Canada.

McTavish is expected to make the Ducks out of training camp while Zellweger will certainly get a crack at making the NHL roster as well. Gaucher will return to the Quebec Remparts in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (QMJHL), where he’s coming off a terrific season.

Ducks Sign Osipov to PTO

Dmitri Osipov is a winger. Or rather, he was last season. Prior to that, he was a defenseman. Did you get all that? The Russian hybrid signed a professional tryout (PTO) with the Ducks on Aug. 11 and presumably will be at training camp in a couple of weeks.

Osipov spent most of last season with the Rockford Icehogs in the AHL as a winger after previously spending time as a defenseman. His transition follows the same vein as Hunter Drew and Nik Brouillard, who are both in the Ducks organization.

Related: Anaheim Ducks: 5 Bold Predictions for the 2022-23 Season

Osipov is a big body at 6-foot-4 and could add some beef to the bottom 6 of either the Ducks or Gulls. At the very least, he’s another depth piece in the minors.

Clang Loaned to Rögle for 2022-23 Season

With the abundance of goaltenders in the Ducks’ system, it felt a bit like a nest full of too many mouths to feed. With John Gibson and Anthony Stolarz entrenched in the crease at the NHL level and Lukáš Dostál and Olle Eriksson Ek holding down the fort in the AHL, there isn’t much room for another goaltender to come in and get playing time.

Calle Clang, who was acquired last season in the Rickard Rakell deal, spent last season in net for Rögle BK and will do so again this upcoming season after the Ducks loaned him back to them.

Calle Clang Rögle BK
Calle Clang of Rögle BK (Rögle BK)

Clang is coming off a strong performance at the World Juniors, where he and fellow netminder Jesper Wallstedt helped backstop Sweden to a bronze medal. With Stolarz’s contract up after the 2022-23 season and Dostál expected to step in as the next backup, there could be a spot on the Gulls for Clang in 2023-24 if he performs well for Rögle again.

Ducks Acquire Kulikov from Wild

After signing John Klingberg and Olli Juolevi, the Ducks weren’t done adding to their defensive depth. On Aug. 31, they acquired Dmitry Kulikov from the Minnesota Wild in exchange for future considerations.

Kulikov gives the Ducks another left-handed defenseman with plenty of NHL experience alongside the aforementioned Fowler. Bringing in Kulikov also potentially allows the Ducks to give Urho Vaakanainen more sheltered minutes as part of the third defensive pairing after his limited time spent playing next to Drysdale proved to be unfruitful.

With the addition of Kulikov, the Ducks now have a fairly experienced blue line with veterans like Fowler and Kevin Shattenkirk leading the pack in terms of games played and, of course, Klingberg.

Ducks in on Rodrigues

The Ducks may not be done adding to their forward lines just yet. Sportnet’s Elliotte Friedman revealed on the 32 Thoughts podcast that the Ducks are one of the teams interested in former Buffalo Sabre and Pittsburgh Penguin, Evan Rodrigues. The 28-year-old had a career year this past season, totaling 43 points and falling one goal short of the 20-goal mark.

Rodrigues’ positional versatility also means that he can play all three forward spots, though this past season was the most faceoffs he’d taken since the 2018-19 season when he was with the Sabres. Adding him would strengthen the Ducks’ bottom-six and give them another player capable of playing on both the power play and penalty kill.

Following the series of moves the Ducks have made this offseason, the team should perform better than last season’s edition. If results don’t improve, it’s likely that players like Klingberg, Kulikov and perhaps Stolarz will be dealt at next season’s trade deadline.

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