The college hockey season may be over, but the Anaheim Ducks still have plenty of prospects in the thick of playoffs and several others about to enter playoff series of their own.
Drew Makes NHL Debut
Due to a myriad of injuries, Hunter Drew was recalled from the San Diego Gulls in the American Hockey League (AHL) and made his NHL debut on April 26 against the San Jose Sharks. Drew skated the customary solo lap for NHL debutants during warmups and logged 9:23 of ice time. He even engaged in his first NHL fight, duking it out with Jonah Gadjovich.
Drew’s style of play is reminiscent of Nicolas Deslauriers, who was traded by the Ducks to the Minnesota Wild at this season’s trade deadline. Both Deslauriers and Drew were originally drafted as defensemen before being converted to gritty, grinding forwards. Both have sneaky good shots and neither is afraid to get chippy, throw the body around or even drop the gloves when needed.
Drew’s short cup of coffee with the Ducks is no indicator that he’ll get priority when it comes to who’s at the top of the list for call-ups from San Diego next season when injuries eventually occur, but being called up and handed an NHL debut was still a nice reward for a player who was selected in the sixth round of the 2018 NHL Entry Draft.
McTavish and Bulldogs Wreaking Havoc in OHL Playoffs
Mason McTavish has changed teams numerous times this season but one element has remained consistent: the kid puts up points wherever he goes. Four goals and three assists this week helped the Hamilton Bulldogs complete their series sweep over the Peterborough Petes, the team that McTavish began the Ontario Hockey League (OHL) season with before being traded to the Bulldogs.
With how successful of a season it’s been for McTavish, it’s no secret that he’ll get as much of a chance as possible to crack the Ducks’ opening-night roster next season during training camp this fall. He didn’t look too out of place during his limited time with the Ducks at the beginning of the season, but giving him the opportunity to spend another full season playing center instead of as a winger follows the same kind of game plan that the Ducks employed when they still had the training wheels on Trevor Zegras last season.
Gulls Sputtering Ahead of Playoff Matchup With Reign
The Gulls are back in the Calder Cup Playoffs again, their fourth postseason appearance since relocating to San Diego ahead of the 2015-16 season. However, this season’s team has gone through heavy spells of inconsistency, and while they still have an abundance of veteran leaders, they don’t have a ton of scoring depth or defend very well.
The goaltending tandem of Lukáš Dostál and Olle Eriksson Ek has been under siege for most of the season, with Dostál getting the brunt of the workload. The Gulls will be facing division rivals, the Ontario Reign, in the first round of the playoffs. The Reign are a well-oiled machine and have given the Gulls fits all season en route to a second-place finish in the Pacific Division and third overall in the Western Conference.
The Gulls will need to channel performances like that of late November – when they went on a five-game winning streak – and not ones similar to the month of April, when they won just three of 13 games. Lucas Elvenes and Alex Limoges will be looked to as primary sources of offense while others like Greg Pateryn and Trevor Carrick will need to be steady forces on the blue line.
- For the Gulls, Greg Printz and Bryce Kindopp scored goals this week while Elvenes and Drew Helleson added assists. Limoges also scored a goal and assisted on another.
- Josh Lopina scored his first career AHL goal in a 3-2 shootout loss last night.
- Olen Zellweger scored a goal and assisted on two others this week for the Everett Silvertips. The Silvertips are currently tied 2-2 with the Vancouver Giants in the first round of the Western Hockey League (WHL) Playoffs.
- Max Golod scored a goal and assisted on another in the Tulsa Oilers’ 4-3 win on Wednesday against the Utah Grizzlies. The two teams are currently tied 2-2 in the first round of the ECHL Playoffs.
- Sasha Pastujov was ejected from Thursday night’s game between the Guelph Storm and the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds after running into the Greyhounds’ goaltender. The Storm would go on to lose 5-4 in overtime. Pastujov finished scoreless.
- Tyson Hinds had two assists for the Sherbrooke Phoenix in a 5-4 shootout win over the Gatineau Olympiques on Thursday.
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The Ducks’ season may be over, but there’s still plenty to follow and look forward to in terms of their young crop. This time of the year gives fans a chance to look at some of the prospects that aren’t as well-known within their circle and see who rises up the ranks thanks to a spectacular postseason performance.