While the Anaheim Ducks are wrapping up their season this upcoming week, many of their prospects are in the thick of the playoff race at the moment. Several of the Ducks’ collegiate prospects have also already made decisions regarding where they will play next season.
Elvenes & Limoges Cap off Successful First Seasons With Gulls
Lucas Elvenes began this season with the Henderson Silver Knights, the American Hockey League (AHL) affiliate of the Vegas Golden Knights. Who could have imagined he’d end the season playing for the AHL affiliate of a division rival?
After being placed on unconditional waivers in January, the Ducks claimed him and sent him to the San Diego Gulls, their AHL affiliate. It was a surprising move given that players are usually placed on unconditional waivers in order to terminate their contract and find playing time in another league.
After being reassigned to the Gulls, all Elvenes has done during his first season with his new team is lead them in both assists and total points. He’s been one of the Gulls’ most dynamic players on the offensive side and a main component of the power play as well since coming over.
Elvenes’ teammate, Alex Limoges, is finishing up his first season with the Gulls as well, though this is also Limoges’ first full professional season after signing a professional tryout (PTO) at the end of last season after concluding his collegiate hockey career at Penn State University.
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Limoges broke a pair of scoring records in his first full season with the Gulls, becoming the new rookie goalscoring leader in franchise history and also breaking the record for most power-play goals scored in a season by a Gulls player.
Limoges is currently on an AHL deal, which means that he would need to sign an entry-level contract (ELC) with the Ducks in order to be called up to the big club. This seems like a likely occurrence this offseason when Limoges’ contract expires.
Zellweger Returns From Scary Injury
Olen Zellweger of the Everett Silvertips suffered what appeared to be a scary injury two weeks ago when he was hit into the boards and had to be stretchered off the ice. He missed the final two games of the Western Hockey League (WHL) regular season but made his return last night for Game 1 of the WHL Playoffs. Zellweger tallied an assist in his return, a 5-4 loss in overtime to the Vancouver Giants.
Zellweger was also named the U.S. Division Player of the Year and U.S. Division Defenseman of the Year on Thursday, after putting up 78 points in 55 games. He led all defensemen in points and was top-25 in the league in total points as well.
Given how well Zellweger did in the WHL, there’s a good possibility that he will get a long look at training camp next season to crack the opening night roster. He was one of the last cuts from training camp last season, after all.
Update on Collegiate Prospects
Drew Helleson and Josh Lopina signed their ELCs with Anaheim shortly after their collegiate seasons concluded and Blake McLaughlin soon followed suit after his collegiate season ended as well. McLaughlin’s former teammate and fellow prospect, Jackson LaCombe, recently decided to return to the University of Minnesota for his senior season. Defenseman Henry Thrun is also returning to Harvard University for his senior season as well.
- Sasha Pastujov had an assist for the Guelph Storm in their 5-2 win over the Windsor Spitfires on April 16.
- Kyle Kukkonen scored two goals and assisted on another for the Madison Capitols this week.
- Max Golod scored a goal in the Tulsa Oilers’ 5-2 loss to the Rapid City Rush on April 16.
- For the Gulls, Greg Printz scored a goal and Lopina had an assist while Olle Eriksson Ek stopped 16 of 20 shots in a 5-2 loss to the Ontario Reign on April 16.
- Limoges and Hunter Drew both had a goal apiece with Elvenes picking up an assist while Lukas Dostál stopped 35 of 37 shots in a 2-1 shootout loss on Tuesday.
- McLaughlin scored his first AHL goal for the Gulls on Wednesday with Elevenes picking up two assists. Printz and Limoges also added assists of their own while Eriksson Ek stopped 13 of 16 shots and Dostál stopped 10 of 12 shots in relief in a 5-4 overtime loss on Wednesday.
- The Gulls also signed Logan Nijhoff to an amateur tryout (ATO) on Wednesday. Nijhoff attended the Ducks’ prospect camp this past offseason.
- Sean Tschigerl scored a goal for the Calgary Hitmen in a 3-2 loss to the Lethbridge Hurricanes on April 17.
- Ethan Bowen and the Chilliwack Chiefs were swept in the British Columbia Hockey League (BCHL) this week, ending his BCHL career. Bowen will head to the University of Vermont next season to play collegiate hockey.
- Mason McTavish scored a goal in the Hamilton Bulldogs’ 5-2 Game 1 win over the Peterborough Petes in the Ontario Hockey League (OHL) Playoffs.
The conclusion of the Ducks’ season may leave a bitter taste in some fans’ mouths, but the development within the pipeline has been a sight to behold this season and gives fans plenty to look forward to in the coming seasons.