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.
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.
Position: Center Height/Weight: 6' 4", 198 Last Amateur Club: Saskatoon Blades (WHL) Final Ranking (NHL Central Scouting): 3 (North American)
Read any of the scouting reports from the draft experts or watch any of the various highlight packages online, and it's clear there is a lot to like about Kirby Dach. The big man has size, vision, playmaking ability and everything else you'd want from a 6-4, 198-pound center. The Fort Saskatchewan, Alberta native draws comparisons to Ryan Getzlaf, and says he models his game after the Ducks captain.
Scouts and writers alike rave about his hockey sense. His head coach in Saskatoon, Mitch Love, had this to say in an article posted by The Athletic's Corey Pronman ($). "He's a student of the game. He's got a very high hockey IQ. His playmaking ability is second to none. There aren't many 6-4, 200 pound, 17-year-old players who can play center the way he can."
NHL.com writer Adam Kimelman said this about Dach: "The big forward has an outstanding mix of size and skill and is still learning to bring it out on a consistent basis. His vision and hockey IQ allow him to slow the game down in the offensive zone and make the right play, either with a shot or a pass to an open teammate."
Dach finished third in scoring for the Blades during the 2018-19 season with 73 points (25g/48a) in 62 games - his 25 goals more than tripling his output from the season prior (7). An experienced player on the international stage, Dach helped Team Canada capture the gold medal in the 2018 Hlinka Gretzky Cup where he finished tied fourth in points (2g/5a) in five games.
There's a lot to like about Dach off the ice, too. Profiled in this feature on NHL.com, Dach joined the Gordie Howe Foundation and started the First Blades program to gift a pair of skates to kids whose families might not have the means to purchase them. "[The idea] came from myself and my parents," Dach said in the article. "They always told me that you're going to have to give back and I wanted to kind of show that I'm a caring person, that side of my personality. With hockey players, you kind of see the straight-and-narrow and the focused side of them. I wanted to do something out in the community, be out and about."
Height/Weight: 5' 11", 186 Last Amateur Club: NTDP (USA U-18) Final Ranking (NHL Central Scouting): 4 (North American)
Alex Turcotte is one of the many highly skilled draft-eligible players coming out of the U.S. National Team Development Program this season, and one of five ranked in the top-nine for North American skaters in Central Scouting's final rankings. TSN's Director of Scouting Craig Button describes Turcotte as a "highly-skilled, dog-on-a-bone" type of player. Pronman (The Athletic) says Turcotte is a center "without any clear flaws who does everything you want at a high-end level."
Despite missing time at the beginning of the season with a hip injury and contracting mononucleosis in March, Turcotte still managed to rack up 62 points (27g/35a) in 37 games with the NTDP's U-18 team. Turcotte also has plenty of international experience, helping Team USA capture gold at the 2017 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge (3g/3a in six games), silver at the 2018 Under-18 World Championship (2g/3a in seven games) and bronze at the 2019 Under-18 World Championship (4g/5a in seven games).
"Jack Hughes may be the most electrifying player for the national team development program, but Alex Turcotte might be one of the most valuable players for that program because his game just transcends in just so many different areas," said NHL.com writer Mike Morreale. "He's got grit. He can speed it up. He can slow it down. He can go to the half-wall. He goes to the net to provide that net-front presence. He's also a great faceoff guy.