The Anaheim Ducks continue to boast their developmental abilities as their young prospects continue to show their growth.
Not only will their third-overall pick from this summer’s draft be competing in the 2022 Winter Olympics, a number of their prospects have also been steadily scoring as of late.
Zellweger Extends Points Streak
Olen Zellweger extended his point streak to six games last night with two assists in a 3-0 win against the Tri-City Americans. He had a good week for the Everett Silvertips, tallying four assists and a highlight-reel shorthanded goal. He continues to build on the best offensive season of his career with the Silvertips, with 36 points in 28 games to this point.
Kukkonen Goes on Scoring Tear
Kyle Kukkonen lit the lamp four times this week for the Madison Capitols. He’s adjusted well to the United States Hockey League (USHL) after transitioning from playing high school hockey last season. With 31 points in 33 games and an “A” on the corner of his jersey, he is making an impact in what will most likely be his only USHL season. Kukkonen is expected to play collegiate hockey for Michigan Tech next season and it will be interesting how he adjusts to playing in yet another league.
McTavish Named to Canadian Olympic Team
Mason McTavish has quite the hockey resume already at just 18 years of age. In the span of six months, he was drafted third overall in the 2021 NHL Entry Draft, made his NHL debut (and scored his first NHL goal in the same game), played at the World Juniors for Canada and will now be representing Canada at the Beijing Olympic Games.
Though the World Juniors were postponed just a couple of games into the tournament, McTavish was still able to make his mark, scoring three goals and assisting on two in two games. With NHL players no longer attending the Olympics, McTavish will now be one of the premier scorers on the Canadian team alongside names like Eric Staal and Josh Ho-Sang.
Gulls Producing Mixed Results as Team Nears Full Strength
Due to the Ducks’ COVID issues, their American Hockey League (AHL) team, the San Diego Gulls, have had to play recent games with a depleted lineup. The Gulls skated 10 forwards against the Stockton Heat last week and only dressed five defensemen the previous Saturday.
With the Ducks activating several players off of injured reserve and COVID protocol this week, the Gulls have returned some of their key players. Goaltender Olle Eriksson Ek was back in net for the Gulls’ two more recent games after being returned from the Ducks’ taxi squad, stopping a combined 52 of 59 shots in the two games.
The Gulls have been struggling to find form recently, but having Bryce Kindopp, Brogan Rafferty and Brendan Guhle back in the Gulls’ lineup as well should help. Jacob Perreault also played in his first game in two weeks — and was involved in a scrap as well — after missing time with an unknown ailment, though it appears that Brayden Tracey may miss time with an injury of his own now after missing Friday’s game following a hard hit in Wednesday night’s game against the Colorado Eagles.
Lukas Dostal was also reassigned to San Diego yesterday and should be expected to get the majority of starts in net going forward unless the Ducks run into another goaltending-related issue.
- Thimo Nickl had an assist for AIK in their 4-1 win over IF Troja-Ljungby on Friday.
- Lucas Elvenes continues to play well since being claimed by the Gulls earlier this month. He scored a goal and had three assists this week for the Ducks’ AHL affiliate.
- Also for the Gulls, Bo-Olivier Groulx and Alex Limoges had two goals and an assist apiece while Jack Badini and Tracey both assisted on goals as well.
- Blake McLaughlin scored two goals while Jackson LaCombe had two assists of his own, and Jack Perbix chipped in an assist as well as the University of Minnesota trio came up big in a 4-1 victory over the University of Notre Dame on Friday. McLaughlin also had an assist in a 4-1 loss to the University of Michigan last Saturday.
- Henry Thrun and Ian Moore helped lead Harvard University to a 5-3 win over Colgate University on Friday, combining for three assists. Moore also had an assist in a 3-2 loss to Clarkson University last Saturday.
- Gage Alexander of the Winnipeg ICE missed two games while in COVID protocol but returned on Friday, stopping 24 of 28 shots in a 5-4 shootout loss to the Moose Jaw Warriors.
- Josh Lopina had a goal and an assist this week for the University of Massachusetts Amherst
- Ethan Bowen is currently out with an undisclosed injury for the Chilliwack Chiefs.
- Sasha Pastujov assisted on three goals this week for the Guelph Storm.
- Trevor Janicke scored Notre Dame’s lone goal in their 5-1 loss to Minnesota.
- Sam Colangelo had an assist in Northeastern University’s 2-1 loss to UMass.
The Ducks are in good hands when it comes to developing some of the NHL’s best and brightest. They already have up-and-comers in Trevor Zegras and Jamie Drysdale and it’s only a matter of time before players like McTavish are full-time fixtures in the league.
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.