It is that time of year once again. The start of the NHL season is only a few short weeks away. Soon all of our favorite players will start to hit the ice for training camp and pre-season games. Thankfully to hold us over until that happens, we have the rookie tournament that has been going on this past weekend at the new practice facility at Five Point in Irvine. This tournament has featured an extremely stacked Ducks “rookie” roster that features the likes of Sam Steel, Troy Terry, Max Jones and Jacob Larsson, just to name a few.
This time of year also brings about another fun activity, the Prospect Pyramid. The Prospect Pyramid is a ranking tool to help fans of teams rank their prospects in a different way, rather than the traditional “top 20” lists. This pyramid style allows you to group players in tiers rather than a numerical list that is often aggressively debated. The Prospect Pyramid was created by Leaf’s fan SteveDangle for his YouTube channel. I highly suggest checking out his stuff after you read this. Ok, without any further ado, here is the DFR 2019-2020 Anaheim Ducks Prospect Pyramid!
Pretty isn’t it?
So just to break it down a bit here are how my tiers work out.
Tier One: Future NHL Franchise Player. This is a placed reserved for someone that will be a future NHL star and a true franchise altering player. Think Ryan Getzlaf or Auston Matthews for a more current example.
Tier Two: Future Top Line NHL Player. Here we have a player that projects to be in your team’s top-6 forwards, top-4 defensemen or a future starting goalie.
Tier Three: Future NHL Regular. A player in Tier Three projects to play full time in the NHL but might be in the bottom pairing or 3rd or 4th line.
Tier Four: Has a Shot. Tier Four players have a shot at being full time NHLer’s but are more likely an AHL call up or NHL healthy scratch.
Tier Five: Minors. These players are your everyday AHL starters. Still good enough to be on the pyramid but don’t fully project to make it up to the NHL.
Tier Six: Everyone Else. Self explanatory.
We also have players that are no longer in the Ducks system since last season and players who have graduated to non-prospect status. So now that all the rules have been discussed, let’s break this down a bit.
First let’s talk about people no longer on the pyramid. No longer in the Ducks system we have several players we lost to free agency and trades since last summer. Lots of solid AHL talent in this list like Megna, Roy and Kosilla. Then there is Pettersson who we traded for Sprong last year. Anyone else regret that trade? Just me? Cool. Moving On.
Our graduates list arguably should be bigger. The Ducks have included several players in their rookie camp and tournament that are way too good and have too much NHL experience to be there. For this I took off two guys I believe are 100% locks to be full time NHL players this season in Terry and Steel. Sure, you could argue Jones, Larsson, Guhle and maybe even Comtois should be here but we needed some people in the pyramid, damnit!
Our 2019, 9th overall draft selection, Trevor Zegras. This tier is reserved for true franchise altering players and personally, I think Zegras can and will be that for the Ducks. He is an immensely creative play maker with a scoring touch. Hard to not get excited about the future here.
Comtois has not moved since last season and projects to be on the graduate list next season. New this year are Guhle, who projects to slot in with Fowler on the second D pairing this year and Brayden Tracey. Tracey (29th overall in 2019) has looked great in the rookie tournament and put up 81 points in 66 WHL game last year. Moving up a tier from last season is 2018 first round pick Isac Lundestrom. Lundestrom really impressed me last season in his time with the Ducks and has continued this year at rookie camp. He is creative and moves the puck well in the offensive zone. He seems to have trouble finishing on the grade A chances he makes for himself but I think that will change soon.
I know some might be angry Max Jones is here and not tier two. I love Jones and love the way he plays the game. He clearly has tier two talent but I just see him as more of a third line grinder who can score and not full time top six. Sherwood really impressed me last year, which is why he has jumped up to tier three. Mahura and Larsson both look like solid bottom pairing D-men and Dostal very well could be an NHL starter in the near future. Groulx has been lighting it up in the Q and is probably ready for some AHL games to see how he plays at the pro level.
Lots of solid players in this group and don’t really want to get in to each one so I’ll bring up a couple. Morand has scored at over a point per game pace in the QMJHL and needs to prove he is ready for the next level. Lacombe was our 2nd round pick this past draft and is playing in the NCAA. He could possibly move up a tier after we see how his first year in college goes.
To me, these players have all put up steady numbers with their respective junior or college teams but nothing really jumps off the page at me. Trevor Janicke, who was drafted this past year in the 5th round seems to have some offensive upside and will hopefully improve on that this year at Notre Dame. William Francis (6th round 2019) is also intriguing. He is 6’ 5” and a right shot defenseman which is something the Ducks sorely lack. Could he be another late round gem like Josh Manson? Only time will tell, but I will say his 131 PIM last season in only 59 games shows me he has some nastiness to him.
And that is it for my 2019-2020 Prospect Pyramid! Let me know in the comments or on twitter what you think. Who needs to move up or down? Am I missing anyone? Can’t wait to see what you all think.