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.
Position: Right Wing
Height/Weight: 6'2", 194
Last Amateur Club: Hamilton (Ontario Hockey League)
Final Ranking (NHL Central Scouting): 7 (North American)
Watch highlights of Arthur Kaliyev and you'll notice the immediate difference from other draft-eligible prospects - the surprising lack of tape on his stick blade.
"I've tried tape on the blade before and I'm not a big fan," Kaliyev said in a recent NHL.com article. "I'll maybe put on a short piece, but that's it. I guess I like to have the puck slide off the stick. I do like the tape at the butt-end of the stick though. I'll put an entire roll on top."
The method worked well last season. Kaliyev amassed an impressive 51 goals - and matched it with 51 assists - to lead the Hamilton Bulldogs with 102 points. He became the first 17-year old to hit the 50-goal mark in the OHL since Alex DeBrincat, the Chicago winger who recorded a career-high 41 goals this season. Kaliyev finished fourth in the OHL in goals and sixth in points.
He also added six points while playing with Team USA at this year's Hlinka Gretzky Cup, finishing as the team's second-leading scorer.
His impressive sophomore season followed a phenomenal rookie campaign in 2017-18, where Kaliyev burst onto the scene with 31 goals. He became the first 16-year old to record 30 goals in the OHL since Alex Galchenyuk reached the mark with Sarnia in 2010-11.
He carried over his strong play into the 2018 postseason, recording 11 points in 21 postseason games to help Hamilton capture the J. Ross Robertson Cup as the OHL Champions.
Evaluators point to Kaliyev's elite shot-making ability and hockey IQ as reasons for potential success at the NHL level.
"He puts himself into open areas so when he gets it he has time and space to make a play," Karl Stewart of NHL Central Scouting said. "In traffic he can do the same thing because he's such a smart hockey player. Then you mix in the fact he's got an NHL-caliber shot right now. He can score from anywhere."
Both those qualities stand out in this goal, scored during the 2019 CHL/NHL Top Prospects game.
Teammates praise Kaliyev's all-around skills.
"The way he can generate a play out of nothing amazes me," Matthew Strome, a 2017-fourth round selection by the Philadelphia Flyers, said in a recent interview. "His shot is the best I've ever seen in person. He can score from all over the ice. He's like the Alex Ovechkin or Patrik Laine of the OHL. His playmaking ability has shined this year. When everybody thinks he's going to take a booming one-timer, he finesses a pass and nine times out of 10, it's right on the tape for a tap-in goal."
Position: Right Wing
Height/Weight: 5'7", 163
Last Amateur Club: NTDP (USA U-18)
Final Ranking (NHL Central Scouting): 8 (North American)
Cole Caufield scores goals.
The Mosinee, WI native may be the best pure goal scorers among the top prospects in this year's draft. He shattered the U.S. National Team Development Program record of 55 goals, set by Auston Matthews during the 2014-15 season, with an incredible 72 goals in 64 games.
Those aren't Caufield's career numbers. Those are the goals he scored this season.
"It's safe to say it's an NTDP record that won't be broken for a lot of years," Jack Hughes, Caufield's linemate and projected No. 1 pick of the 2019 NHL draft, said to ESPN. "To see a guy like that do it, just a pure hockey player who just loves the game, it's special."
The goals didn't stop with the NTDP. Caufield continued to impress on the international stage, scoring 14 goals during the 2019 International Ice Hockey Federation's Under-18 World Championships. The total tied Alexander Ovechkin's tournament record and delivered the winger the MVP award.
Caufield finishes his time with the US NTDP with 126 goals - and 180 points - in 123 games. The goal totals are the most in program history, passing the previous mark set by Phil Kessel (104 from 2003-2005).
A goal-scorer of this magnitude will, of course, credit his shot. Caufield is no different, identifying his lethal wrister as one of the main reasons for his success.
"My shot is quick. My release is very quick, it fools goalies at times," Caufield told The Athletic's Senior NHL Prospects Writer, Corey Pronman. "I also think it's very accurate. I can put pucks in places that nobody else can in my opinion."
Video: Highlights of USA Hockey NTDP forward Cole Caufield
Coaches agree with Caufield's self-assessment.
"His shot is so accurate. He hits so many crossbars and elbows in practice it's insane," NTDP U18 coach John Wroblewski told The Athletic. "He loves the game. He's got a smile on his face all the time. Our goalies love stopping him, but they can't do it."
Caufield is committed to The University of Wisconsin for the 2019-2020 season.