Ducks Prospects: Zellweger, McTavish & More

The Anaheim Ducks consistently churn out NHL-caliber talent through the NHL Entry Draft. Their collection of scouts and front office executives, led by Martin Madden, Jr., have made the Ducks one of the best in the league at having homegrown products on the team. Here’s this week’s update on how the “Baby Ducks” fared.

Zellweger Named to Team of the Week

Olen Zellweger has been heating up for the Everett Silvertips in the Western Hockey League (WHL). He ranks second among defensemen in points with 27––the leader, Benjamin Zloty, has played four more games than Zellweger––and second in assists.

He was named to the WHL Team of the Week after compiling nine points (one goal, eight assists) in four games last week. Zellweger stuck around training camp with Ducks for a lot longer than most of their younger prospects––though he didn’t appear in any preseason games—and after a slow start to the season, has been a force to be reckoned with upon returning to Everett.

Olen Zellweger Everett Silvertips
Olen Zellweger, Everett Silvertips (Photo by Christopher Mast/Getty Images)

Now, Zellweger will be the headliner on Canada’s blue line at the World Juniors. Named on Canada’s first defensive pair for their first camp game, he is expected to be a major factor on the power play and help provide offense from the backend.

McTavish Gets Three-Game Suspension

Late in the Peterborough Petes’ game against the Ottawa 67’s, Mason McTavish dished out a high hit to Thomas Johnston. McTavish was given a five-minute major penalty, and there were questions initially about whether the hit would warrant a suspension. Now we know. McTavish was given a three-game suspension for his hit on Johnston (from ‘Peterborough Petes’ Mason McTavish suspended for 3 games for hit on Thomas Johnston of the Ottawa 67’s’ The Peterborough Examiner, 12/10/21).

The suspension will not affect his status with Team Canada at the World Juniors. However, McTavish was not on the ice on Thursday for the camp’s initial skate as he awaited testing results for COVID protocol before he entered the Team Canada bubble.

Canada announced their practice lines yesterday for today’s camp game against U Sports, with McTavish being listed among the scratches. There’s little uncertainty that he will be in the lineup once camp progresses a little more as he is one of their more experienced players.

Pastujov Highlighted by Storm

This week, Sasha Pastujov was the Fashion Lightning Player Spotlight for the Guelph Storm. He has lit the Ontario Hockey League (OHL) alight in his first season with the Storm and though he’s cooled down recently, he’s still top 10 in the league in points and third in goals scored. The winger says he tries to model his game after St. Louis Blues forward Vladimir Tarasenko. As an American, he looks up to Toronto Maple Leafs forward Auston Matthews and watches his highlights all the time.

Sasha Pastujov Guelph Storm
Sasha Pastujov, Guelph Storm (Tim Cornett/OHL Images)

Clearly, watching all of those highlights have paid off as Pastujov has established himself as one of the OHL’s premier goalscorers. He slid to the third round in this summer’s draft due to concerns with his skating, but Pastujov has been working with skating coach Barb Underhill––whose husband previously owned a stake in the Storm––to improve his technique. Pastujov also mentioned his speed as something he is working on the most this season. “[My speed is] something I know I have to work on in order to play at the next level.”

Quick Hits

  • Sam Colangelo is out until January with injury for Northeastern University
  • Joshua Lopina is also out with injury until December for University of Massachusetts Amherst
  • Jackson LaCombe, Blake McLaughin and Jack Perbix combined for three points in University of Minnesota’s 6-2 loss to University of Michigan. Minnesota is now off until January.
  • Henry Thrun had an assist in Harvard University’s 5-3 win over Yale University. Harvard is also now off until January and defenseman Ian Moore travels to meet up with Team USA this weekend for World Juniors camp.
  • Brayden Tracey and Bryce Kindopp had multi-point efforts for the San Diego Gulls in the American Hockey League (AHL) this week but the Gulls were unable to win either of their games. They’ll face the Ontario Reign at home tonight.
  • Ethan Bowen was not in the Chilliwack Chiefs’ lineup this week and his status is unknown for their game tonight against the Cowichan Valley Capitals.
  • Tyson Hinds was also not in the lineup for Rimouski-Océanic this week and his status for their game tonight against the Rouyn-Noranda Huskies is also unknown.
  • Sean Tschigerl had three points in three games this week for the Calgary Hitmen.
  • Thimo Nickl was scoreless in AIK’s 3-2 loss to Västerås IK, but had an assist in their 2-1 win over Mora IK.
  • Goaltender Gage Alexander had a rough start to his week, letting in three goals on seven shots to the Saskatoon Blades on the back-end of a back-to-back but bounced back with 34 saves in a 3-2 loss to the Edmonton Oil Kings.
  • Kyle Kukkonen had an assist in the Madison Capitols’ 4-1 win over the Green Bay Gamblers last night.

Related: Ducks News & Rumors: Robinson, Henrique & More

With players heading out to World Juniors camps this weekend, a handful of Ducks prospects will get an opportunity on the big stage. Be sure to follow our World Juniors coverage team here at The Hockey Writers, as they’ll be giving all the latest updates as the tournament unfolds.

Sign up for our regular 'Ducks Newsletter' for all the latest.