Anaheim Ducks rookie sensation Trevor Zegras is making a name for himself, not only in the NHL, but around the world. You’ve likely seen his incredible lacrosse-style goals and assists in highlight reels all year long. The 21-year-old is pulling off some of the most jaw-dropping plays we’ve seen in hockey history, all in his rookie season. Whether you are a fan of his stunts or not, there is no debate that he is single-handedly changing the sport of hockey.
Zegras Grew Up As a Two-Sport Athlete Playing Hockey and Lacrosse
Growing up in middle school, Zegras was a two-sport athlete, playing hockey in the fall and winter, and lacrosse in the spring and summer. He eventually dropped lacrosse to pursue hockey full-time in his sophomore high school year, leaving Fox Lane High School in his hometown Bedford, New York, for Avon Old Farms School in Avon, Connecticut. Despite dropping lacrosse, he took a part of the sport with him to hockey.
During his youth, he often practiced lacrosse-style moves on his backyard ice rink for fun. Since then, he has stuck with it and finely tuned his puck-lifting abilities, taking them all the way to the NHL.
“Me and my buddies would kind of practice that kind of stuff,” Zegras said (from ‘Lacrosse background pays dividends for Ducks rookie Trevor Zegras,’ The Press-Enterprise, 01/28/2022). “We would never really take it too seriously, which is probably why it stuck for so long. It was always something I tried to do. I was little. Middle school-age maybe. I was pretty young.”
Little did he know back then, he would someday change the sport of hockey forever.
Introducing the Lacrosse-Style Assist to the NHL
Not only does he use lacrosse-style moves to score goals, he uses them to make plays to his teammates as well. Zegras sent the hockey world into a frenzy after picking the puck up with his stick blade behind the net and tossing it to his linemate Sonny Milano in front of the net to bat home a goal in a 2-0 win at the Buffalo Sabres on Dec. 7, 2021. This is the moment many people realized Zegras is the real deal.
“I was sold on the pass,” Zegras said following the game. “Once I heard [Milano] yell ‘Michigan’ to me, I kind of wanted to get it to him. Like I still can’t believe it worked. It’s pretty funny. I’ve tried it a couple times and haven’t even come close and for him to whack it out of the air and keep it under the crossbar is pretty incredible.”
He rarely shows any hesitation when attempting his lacrosse-style moves, which is astonishing to see for a rookie playing in the most talented hockey league in the world. It is only a matter of time before he finds success with another puck-tossing play.
The Future Looks Bright for Zegras and His Creative Play-Style
While it’s hard to believe when you see the moves he’s been pulling off this season, Zegras is just getting started on his NHL career. He is already proving to be one of the most creative players to ever hit the ice, and he will likely only get better with more time and experience. Through 69 games this season, he ranks first on the Ducks in assists (35), and second in points (55) and goals (20).
Tom Pepper is an NHL columnist at The Hockey Writers. He lives in Toronto and is a diehard fan of the St. Louis Blues.