This week’s edition of Anaheim Ducks Prospects covers a quartet of Ducks prospects making their respective World Juniors squads, Will Francis making his NCAA debut, a pair of Ducks prospects named Player of the Week, and so much more.
Quartet of Prospects named to World Juniors Teams
Mason McTavish, Olen Zellweger, Sasha Pastujov, and Ian Moore are going to the World Juniors. The former pair will be representing Canada while the latter pair will be suiting up for the United States.
McTavish made his NHL debut earlier this season after being drafted third overall this summer in the 2021 NHL Entry Draft by the Ducks. He has since been reassigned to the Peterborough Petes in the Ontario Hockey League (OHL) and has five points (all goals) in three games since returning to the Petes.
Zellweger has found himself on a bit of a hot streak himself lately, racking up a couple of multi-point efforts along with a Gordie Howe hat trick, to boot. He ranks second among defensemen in points in the Western Hockey League (WHL) with 27. Thanks to his mobility and offensive skills, the smooth-skating defenseman looks to be a big part of Team Canada’s power play.
Pastujov has been all the rage in the OHL this season as he continues to score goals at a rapid pace for the Guelph Storm. He currently ranks second in the league in goals (19) and is also part of a 2021 Ducks draft class––along with Zellweger and McTavish––that continues to impress.
Moore has flown a bit under the radar at Harvard University because of the performances of teammate and fellow Ducks draft pick, Henry Thrun. Moore, a third-round draft pick in the 2020 NHL Entry Draft, is a good skater and a dependable puck carrier.
Francis Makes NCAA Debut After Battling Knee Injury, Cancer
It’s been a long time coming, but Francis made his official collegiate hockey debut last week for the University of Minnesota Duluth. This was Francis’ first regular-season game since 2019, when he played in the United States Hockey League (USHL) for the Cedar Rapids Roughriders.
Francis’ tenure with the Roughriders was cut short after he suffered a serious knee injury that required surgery. In order to get a headstart on his college education, Francis began taking classes at Minnesota Duluth while rehabbing his knee.
He resumed skating in March of 2020, just as the world was engulfed in a worldwide pandemic, and felt constant fatigue––coupled with constant nose bleeds and an inability to keep food down. After a series of tests, it was revealed that Francis had Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia.
A sixth-round pick in the 2019 NHL Entry Draft by the Ducks, you can read more about Francis’ battle with Leukemia and his comeback by clicking here.
Tschigerl, Tracey Claim Player of the Week
Sean Tschigerl and Brayden Tracey were named Player of the Week in their respective leagues this week. Tschigerl tallied eight points in two games, including a hat trick last Saturday. He currently leads his team, the Calgary Hitmen, in goals with 14––good enough for fourth in the league––and leads the entire Western Hockey League (WHL) in shorthanded goals with five. Drafted in the fifth round of the 2021 NHL Entry Draft by the Ducks, Tschigerl is part of a 2021 Ducks draft class that has performed quite well this season.
Tracey got off to a slow start this season, but he has begun to acclimate to life in the American Hockey League (AHL). He helped the San Diego Gulls extend their winning streak to five games during his Player of the Week performance, racking up seven points in three games. He also had the first three-point game of his career. Injuries have stunted Tracey’s development to this point, but he is finally beginning to find consistency now that he’s healthy.
- Sam Colangelo continues to be absent from Northeastern University’s lineup due to injury.
- Kyle Kukkonen missed two games this week due to injury but returned to the Madison Capitols’ lineup last night, recording two goals and an assist in a 6-3 win.
- Gage Alexander improved his record to 12-1-0 with a 29-save effort in the Winnipeg ICE’s 7-2 win over the Medicine Hat Tigers last Saturday and a 26-save effort against the Saskatoon Blades last night. Alexander also had an assist in the 4-3 win.
- Ethan Bowen was not in the Chilliwack Chiefs’ lineup this week due to injury.
- Joshua Lopina remains out of University of Massachusetts Amherst’s lineup with injury.
- Blake McLaughlin, Jackson LaCombe and Jack Perbix combined for three points in two games this week for the University of Minnesota.
- Artyom Galimov scored a goal in Ak Bars Kazan’s 3-1 win last night over Avangard Omsk.
- Thimo Nickl scored his first goal of the season on Sunday in AIK’s 3-1 win over IF Troja-Ljungby.
The Ducks have typically drafted well over the course of the past decade, and it’s thanks to assistant general manager Martin Madden, Jr. and the rest of their superb scouting department. World Juniors is slated to begin at the end of this month, so make sure to give our terrific World Juniors team here at The Hockey Writers a follow as well.
Derek has been a hockey fan for over 10 years and a sports fan in general for more than two decades.
Prior to graduating from UCCS in Colorado Springs, CO in May 2020 with a bachelor’s degree in Sports Communication, he spent two and a half years as part of UCCS’ on-campus student newspaper staff–both as a sports reporter and editor. He is now creating Ducks-related content from his home in Southern California.
In his free time he enjoys playing FIFA, watching video essays on YouTube and curating his Spotify playlists.