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: 5'11", 181
Last Amateur Club: Lukko (Liiga)
Final Ranking (NHL Central Scouting): 4 (European)
Ville Heinola models his game after Arizona's Oliver Ekman-Larsson, and it's easy to see why he'd choose the smooth-skating captain of the Coyotes.
"Heinola is a calm, poised puck-moving defenseman who generates clean exits and entries with his vision, and makes plays on the man advantage," The Athletic's Senior NHL Prospects writer, Corey Pronman, noted in his draft rankings.
Those traits shone through during a season where Heinola climbed the ladder from an intriguing prospect to a potential first round draft selection. He began the year with Lukko Jr., recording nine points in nine games, earning a promotion to the senior squad. As an 18-year-old, Heinola posted 14 points in 22 games, and chipped in four points in seven postseason contests.
He also helped Finland win the gold medal at the International Ice Hockey Federation's 2019 World Junior Championships, collecting five points in five games.
Playing a significant role with his club team - as well as his success on the international stage - could help Heinola develop into a top NHL defenseman.
The Athletic's Scott Wheeler believes the rearguard could develop into a "complementary No. 2 defenseman and PP2 quarterback."
Height/Weight: 6'3", 200
Last Amateur Club: AIK (Sweden-2)
Final Ranking (NHL Central Scouting): 5 (European)
Philip Broberg provides plenty of fireworks when he's on the ice.
The combination of his size and speed make the Swedish defenseman an exciting watch when he cuts through the ice in transition. In just a few quick strides, Broberg can blow past defenders and create exciting plays in the offensive zone.
"He's right up there with Jack Hughes as the best pure skater in this draft class," Pronman wrote in a breakdown on Broberg. "He's a one-man breakout and zone entry artist due to how quickly he gains speed and how dangerous his top gear is."
His AIK coach, Anders Gozzi, sees him as a surefire NHL defenseman.
"Broberg has enormous potential and will play in the NHL in the near future," he told Pronman. "He is one of the best defenders we have gotten in AIK throughout the years due to his skating and skill level."
The rearguard excited scouts early in the season at the 2018 Hlinka Gretzky Cup. He recorded four points - including three goals - in five games, leading Team Sweden to a silver medal at the annual event.
After posting eight points in eight games with AIK Jr., Broberg moved up to the senior team, recording nine points in 41 games.
He capped his season with a banner performance at the IIHF World Junior Championship. Broberg posted six points in seven games, helping Team Sweden win the gold medal. Individually, he was named the tournament's best defenseman and a tournament all-star.
The skills impress when you consider Broberg played center growing up, only making the switch to defense on the advice of a coach at the Furudals Hockeyskola five years ago.
Tomorrow night, he'll vie with fellow countryman Victor Soderstrom to be the first Swedish defenseman to hear his name called in the draft.
Video: Cosentino highlights top defensemen in 2019 NHL Draft
Height/Weight: 6'3", 208
Last Amateur Club: Manheim (DEL)
Final Ranking (NHL Central Scouting): 6 (European)
One of the fastest-rising prospects isn't from a traditional hockey hotbed.
Moritz Seider, the towering German defenseman, quickly rose through the ranks as scouts and experts took note of his performance in the 2019 IIHF World Championships. Even teammates were left impressed with his play.
"He plays like a 35-year-old, almost," Edmonton's Leon Draisaitl told NHL.com during the World Championships. "He's so calm and so collected. It's pretty fun to watch. Hopefully he keeps developing the way that we think he will and you know he's going to be a special player."
Added current Ducks defenseman Korbinian Holzer: "He looks way older than 18. He plays way older than 18. He's really humble, really relaxed it seems, in his own zone. He isn't afraid to join the rush. He looks very comfortable out there. You can tell, for an 18-year-old, he definitely plays bigger than his age."
Seider's combination of size and skating ability served him well with Manheim, as he grabbed Rookie of the Year honors in the Deutsche Eishockey Liga (DEL) this season. He posted six points in 29 regular-season games, and followed it up with five assists in 14 postseason contests, helping Manheim win the league championship.
It wasn't the first time he helped Manheim take home the title. Seider also helped their junior club take home back-to-back championships in 2017 and 2018.
In addition to the praise he earned from his NHL teammates at the World Championships, Seider also led Team Germany to a gold medal during the 2019 World Junior Championships - Division 1, Group A. He led all blueliners with seven points in five games and earned best defenseman honors.
Pronman's high praise should excite any team who selects the German on Friday night.
"He moves the puck well, showing great poise and instincts," he said. "Defensively he's a rock with his wingspan, feet and defensive acumen, and projects as a tough minutes player in the NHL. He is one of the best German prospects in recent memory."
Video: Cosentino on his top three draft wildcards and risers