By Kyle Shohara
Ducks training camp rolls along as the morning session is now complete here at THE RINKS – Anaheim ICE. “Group B,” comprised of Francois Beauchemin, Emerson Etem, Nick Ritchie – to name a few – went through a spirited practice in front of another capacity crowd at the team’s practice facility.
With the first preseason games just two days away, the players are upping the ante in order to be fully prepared for their split-squad contests against the Colorado Avalanche.
Like yesterday, the line consisting of Ryan Kesler, Patrick Maroon and Jakob Silfverberg remained intact. Meanwhile, Etem, William Karlsson and 2014 first-round pick Nick Ritchie skated together throughout the morning session.
Ritchie, selected 10th overall in the June draft, attended development camp in July and the recent rookie camp last week. Now the 18-year-old is skating with the big boys and has his sights set on making the team’s opening night roster.
“I’m just going to work as hard as I can every day, and show what I got,” he said. “So far, I’ve been doing OK. It’s just about keeping going. It’s getting down to the crunch here.”
Ritchie admitted there was a bit of a ‘wow’ factor when he stepped onto the ice alongside established NHL players. “It’s cool to see those guys who you grew up seeing early in their careers,” he said. “There are some great players on this team. It’s pretty cool skating with them.”
Earlier today, the 22-year-old shared his thoughts on his linemates Ritchie and Karlsson. “Nick’s got a great shot, a quick release,” he said. “I’ve known Will since he was in the minors last year. He’s such a solid two-way guy. His vision is incredible, and the way he moves the puck is awesome. Both are great players. I’m fortunate to be playing with them.”
As one of the more experienced younger players attending camp, the Long Beach native knows this is a critical juncture in his NHL career. He has appeared in 67 career NHL games since his debut in 2012-13, and had an impressive postseason run that year, but only played in 29 contests with Anaheim last season. Etem spent the majority of the season in Norfolk of the American Hockey League.
“I have to take it shift by shift, game by game,” he said. “I can’t get complacent. I can’t take a night off. That’s huge for me. There are a lot of guys pushing for different roles on this team. It’s tight. I know that, and I’m going to play like that.”LINE COMBINATIONS
Patrick Maroon – Ryan Kesler – Jakob SilfverbergGrey:
Nick Ritchie – William Karlsson – Emerson EtemOrange:
Matt Beleskey/Max Friberg – Nate Thompson – Tim JackmanWhite:
Antoine Laganiere – Charlie Sarault – Brandon Yip/Louis Leblanc
Hampus Lindholm, Francois Beauchemin, Bryan Allen, Mark Fistric, Kevin Gagne, Jesse Blacker, Brendan Bell
John Gibson, Igor Bobkov
Anaheim’s training camp continues tomorrow at Anaheim ICE, with all sessions open to the public (times subject to change).
Sunday, Sept. 21: Group A practice 9:45 a.m. - 11:00 a.m.; Group B practice 1:15 p.m. - 2:45 p.m.
THE RINKS - Anaheim ICE is located at 300 West Lincoln Avenue in Anaheim (one mile east of the 5 freeway off the Lincoln Ave. exit). Parking is available in two separate structures adjacent to the facility.