With the Ducks holding two picks in the first round (No. 9 and 29) and three in the top 39, the 2019 NHL Draft (June 21-22 in Vancouver) is shaping up to be a significant one for Anaheim. The Ducks are the NHL's most successful team drafting players into the NHL since 2010, having done so without a top-five overall selection. In fact, Anaheim has not selected in the top five since 2005, qualifying for the playoffs in 11 of 14 seasons since then.
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The Ducks have selected 58 players since 2010, with a league-leading 51.7% (30 players, tied with Boston) making it to the NHL (the league average is 38%). Those 30 players have combined to play 4,810 NHL games, led by defensemen Cam Fowler (620) and Hampus Lindholm (447). Furthermore, eight of those 30 players (26.7% percent) have played 250-or-more NHL games, which also leads the league.
As the draft nears, AnaheimDucks.com looks at some of the top-15 ranked North American and European skaters according to the NHL Central Scouting's 2019 final Draft Prospect Rankings. Each day we will feature two players leading up to the start of the draft on June 21.
Height/Weight: 6' 3", 183
Last Amateur Club: Lethbridge Hurricanes (WHL)
Final Ranking (NHL Central Scouting): 5 (North American)
Blessed with a power forward's frame, Dylan Cozens enters the draft as the fifth-ranked North American skater per NHL Central Scouting's rankings. According to experts, what truly makes the 6-foot-3, 183-pound center unique is his skating. Cozens was among 40 of the Canadian Hockey League's top prospects for the 2019 NHL Draft who took part in the Sports Testing Combine in advance of the 2019 Sherwin-Williams CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game back in January. Cozens finished atop the overall standings in on-ice testing based on the 10 different categories, including the 30M Forward Skate (where he finished 2nd), Reaction (2nd), Reaction with Puck (1st), Weave Agility with Puck (3rd) and Transition Agility with Puck (2nd).
"The best part about Cozens' game is the speed and pace he plays at," said The Athletic's Senior NHL Prospects Writer Corey Pronman in this prospect profile on Cozens. "There are not many 6-foot-3 centers with his speed who can also provide offensive skill. With his skating ability, his size and his talent level, Cozens has all the components to become a quality first line forward in the NHL, whether on the wing or at center."
Video: Dylan Cozens takes No. 5 on Draft Prospects list
Cozens ranked second on the Lethbridge Hurricanes and tied for 10th in the Western Hockey League with 84 points (34g/50a) in 68 games during the 2018-19 campaign. He set career highs in goals, assists and points, besting his previous marks from the season prior. He was named the 2017-18 WHL Rookie of the Year after leading all rookies in goals (22) and finishing second in rookie scoring with 53 points in 57 games.
A native of Whitehorse in Canada's northwest Yukon Territory, Cozens can become just the fourth player born in Yukon to play in an NHL game, joining Hazen McAndrew (7 GP in 1941-42), Peter Sturgeon (6 GP from 1979-81) and Bryon Baltimore (2 GP in 1979-80).
Height/Weight: 6' 0", 173
Last Amateur Club: NTDP (USA U-18)
Final Ranking (NHL Central Scouting): 6 (North American)
There is a word often used to describe U.S. National Team Development Program center Trevor Zegras: elite. Whether it's his creativity with the puck, his playmaking abilities or his terrific hockey sense, Zegras is said to be one of the most skilled prospects entering the draft.
The six-foot, 173-pound center was a driving force on the NTDP U-18 team during the 2018-19 season, racking up 87 points (26g/61a) in 60 games. His 61 assists ranked second on the team behind No. 1-ranked skater Jack Hughes (78). Zegras recorded 100 career assists in 116 games with the NTDP U-17 and U-18 teams from 2017-19 - the fourth-most in the program's history. Only Hughes (156), Jeremy Bracco (122) and Clayton Keller (118) had more.
"Zegras is a constant on the highlight reel due to his playmaking," said Pronman in his prospect profile on the Bedford, New York native. "He made some of the most creative, if not the most absurd plays, I saw all season."
Pronman goes on to say, "Zegras projects as a first-line forward at the NHL level, whether at center or on the wing, who will be an elite presence on the power play."
Video: Highlights of USA Hockey NTDP forward Trevor Zegras
NHL.com staff writers Guillaume Lepage and Mike Morreale also chimed in on Zegras. "He was a bit overshadowed by Hughes as the No. 2 center on the NTDP, but Zegras is one of the most complete centers available in the draft because of his speed and smarts," said Lepage.
"He finds seams in the defense, knows when to shoot, has some deception to his game and is fearless," said Morreale. "He was third on the NTDP with 87 points and second with 61 assists in 60 games. The left-hand shot is also a lethal option on the power play."
On the international stage, Zegras posted six points (2g/4a) in six games to help Team USA earn gold at the 2017 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge, and finished second among all skaters in assists (nine) to help the United States earn a bronze medal at the 2019 Under-18 World Championship. Zegras is committed to Boston University in the fall.
(Zegras photo credit: Rena Laverty)