By Kyle Shohara
Highlighting the third day of Ducks rookie camp were line combinations that will likely be used over the next two days. Following today’s 45-minute on-ice session at the THE RINKS – Anaheim ICE, the players and staff caught a flight to Denver, where tomorrow they’ll take on the Colorado Avalanche in the first of two Rookie Showcase games being held in Westminster, Colorado. The Ducks will then battle the San Jose Sharks on Monday before returning to Orange County to conclude camp.
The line combinations were as follows:FORWARDS
Nick Ritchie – Kalle Kossila – Kevin Roy
Nicolas Kerdiles – Julius Nattinen – Nick Sorensen
Max Jones – Sam Steel – Deven Sideroff
Alex Dostie – Tyler Morley/Tyler Soy – Zack MacEwen
Brian Cooper – Shea Theodore
Jaycob Mega – Brandon Montour
Andy Welinski – Darian Skeoch
Keaton Thompson – Josh MahuraGOALIES
These games are important for several reasons. First, it’ll allow the players to lock down the systems used by the coaching staff. It’ll also get the players acclimated to game speed, which can further benefit those who make it to main camp.
It’s also a chance to make an impression on the coaching and hockey operations staffs, who will no doubt be keeping a close eye on their performances in these two games.
“I want to be a leader out there,” said forward Nicolas Kerdiles, a seasoned rookie camp veteran now. “This is my third year of rookie camp. I want to show them that I have the experience to help the younger guys get through this. I want to be a good example for them. On that side of that, it’s important to be a good leader.”
Kerdiles averaged over a point per game during his two years at the University of Wisconsin, but since turning pro in the spring of 2014, the 22-year-old has yet to appear in an NHL game. Kerdiles knows the time is now to make a lasting impression on the Ducks brass.
“I want to impress the guys up top and show them I’m becoming more and more of a professional, and ready to make the jump up,” he said.
[Side note: Familiar with the area having grown up in Irvine, Kerdiles is once again serving as the unofficial tour guide of the group.]
Shea Theodore is also using rookie camp as a way to get up to speed with main camp on the horizon.
“We’ve all been playing summer hockey, so to get back into positioning and talking out there, it’s all the stuff you’re trying to do going into main camp,” said Theodore, who was an impact player at both the AHL and NHL levels last season.
The current logjam on defense with the Ducks isn’t deterring Theodore, who says it’s up to him to prove he belongs with the big club.
“It’s up to me to play my own game and have a really strong preseason, and show them I want a spot,” said Theodore. “That’s what I’m here to do. I’m trying to take a spot from somebody. I know it’s tough because it’s one of the deepest d-cores in the entire league. It’s going to be tough to crack, but I feel ready.”