By Kyle Shohara
Some youth was injected into Ducks practice this morning at THE RINKS – Anaheim ICE. Left wing Nick Ritchie and center Michael Sgarbossa, recalled earlier in the morning from San Diego of the American Hockey League, were on the ice for the team’s hour-long session. In addition, the Ducks reassigned left wing Max Friberg and defenseman Korbinian Holzer to San Diego.
Ducks head coach Bruce Boudreau says he hopes Ritchie and Sgarbossa bring energy and youthful exuberance to the team.
“Young guys will always bring energy to the game, and definitely effort,” he said. “They’re different style of players – both of them – than Chris [Wagner] and Max. We’ll implement them properly.”
Ritchie, the big forward selected 10th overall in the 2014 NHL Draft, was having an impressive start to his AHL rookie season. The 19-year-old ranked tied for third among AHL leaders in goals (9) and second among league rookies in points (12) and goals. Ritchie also led the league in first goals (5) and co-led in power-play goals (5). The 6-2, 232-pound winger has yet to make his NHL debut.
Ritchie was skating in a grey jersey with Carl Hagelin, Ryan Kesler and Mike Santorelli.
“I’m really happy to be here right now,” Ritchie said. “You work down there to get called up. You’re always kind of surprised to get called up. It’s a first for me. It’s great.”
Ritchie was one of the final cuts in training camp and skated in five of the six games on the preseason slate. He finished with three assists, a +1 rating and nine shots on goal.
“It gave me confidence to know I could play pro,” he said, on his time with the Ducks. “I kept a good attitude, worked hard and had success. Hopefully I’ll get a chance here in the next week or so.”
Sgarbossa recorded eight points (2g/6a) with a +4 rating in 12 games with San Diego at the time of his recall. Sgarbossa co-led the Gulls in plus/minus, ranked third in assists and fifth in scoring. The 23-year-old was acquired from Colorado with a conditional seventh-round selection in the 2015 NHL Draft in exchange for Mat Clark on March 2, 2015.
“You’re not really expecting to get a call up, and then the GM brings you in and says you’re going up,” Sgarbossa said. “It’s especially special when you go up with a teammate, and, for me, a linemate.”
Even though Sgarbossa has some NHL experience, having played in nine career NHL games with Colorado, the soft-spoken Campbellville, Ontario native described this as a “humbling” experience.
“It’s just exciting,” he said. “When you finally get up here, you’re in awe. It’s really exciting to be here.”
He skated on a line with Patrick Maroon and Chris Stewart.
Rickard Rakell continued to skate on left wing with Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry, while Andrew Cogliano, Shawn Horcoff, Nate Thompson and Jakob Silfverberg skated in white.
Ducks Executive Vice President and General Manager Bob Murray gave an update on defenseman Simon Despres, who suffered a concussion in a game vs. the Colorado Avalanche at Honda Center on October 16. Avalanche defenseman Tyson Barrie was suspended for three games for charging and interference against Despres.
“Simon is still dealing with lingering symptoms from the concussion he received last month. Today was the first step towards getting back into the lineup. He’s not there yet and needs some more time. We are looking at another 1-2 weeks before he’s cleared for physical contact.”