The plan by the Anaheim Ducks to give experience to their deep crop of young prospects in the American Hockey League playoffs is an early success.
The Ducks, who did not qualify for the Stanley Cup Playoffs, have several prospects participating in the Calder Cup Playoffs.
San Diego, Anaheim's AHL affiliate, leads a first-round best-of-5 series 2-1 after a 4-2 win at San Jose on Monday. Game 4 is at San Jose on Wednesday.
San Jose had the third-best point percentage (.625) in the Western Conference in the regular season, behind Bakersfield (.654) and Chicago (.645). San Jose would host Game 5 on Thursday, if necessary.
Here are some of their most intriguing prospects seeing postseason action.
Steel (5-foot-11, 186 pounds) brings proven playoff experience from his time in the Western Hockey League.
Anaheim selected the center in the first round (No. 30) in the 2016 NHL Draft, and he had a strong transition to the pro game. After going to the Memorial Cup with Regina last season (two goals, 11 assists in five games), he divided his rookie season between the Ducks and San Diego. The 21-year-old had 11 points (six goals, five assists) in 22 games for the Ducks along with 41 points (20 goals, 21 assists) in 53 regular-season AHL games.
Video: CGY@ANA: Steel blasts home one-timer for opening goal
He has four points (two goals, two assists) in three AHL playoff games, second in team scoring and in a first-place tie for rookie AHL playoff scoring with Toronto (Toronto Maple Leafs) defenseman Rasmus Sandin. Steel's tap-in goal off a behind-the-net pass from veteran forward Sam Carrick tied Game 3 at 1-1 with 39 seconds remaining in the first period. From there, San Diego built a 3-1 lead and held on for a 4-2 win.
Jones provides San Diego a big body (6-3, 220) needed for rugged Pacific Division play and skating alongside Steel.
The 21-year-old had a healthy rookie pro season after dealing with injuries during stops with Kingston and London in the Ontario Hockey League. He has three assists in three playoff games after a 29-point (14 goals, 15 assists) performance in 43 AHL regular-season games. The forward was selected by the Ducks in the first round (No. 24) of the 2016 draft. He played 30 games for Anaheim this season with five points (two goals, three assists).
Unlike his drafted linemates Jones and Steel, Sherwood has been a free agency find.
The Ducks signed the forward March 20, 2018 after he played three seasons with Miami (NCAA). The 24-year-old (6-0, 194) played 50 games for the Ducks with 12 points (six goals, six assists). He also had 18 points (six goals, 12 assists) in 29 regular-season games for San Diego.
Larsson, another first-round pick, spent much of the regular season with the Ducks.
The 21-year-old was taken by Anaheim at No. 27 in the 2015 NHL Draft. After a strong season in 2017-18 with San Diego, Larsson (6-2, 197) played 49 games with the Ducks and had five assists. The defenseman also played 22 games for San Diego with five assists. He has three points (one goal, two assists) through three playoff games.
Chase De Leo
De Leo (5-9, 179) has sometimes gone overlooked amid a deep pool of talent with Anaheim and the Winnipeg Jets, but he has continued to produce in his fourth pro season.
Anaheim acquired the forward from Winnipeg for forward Nic Kerdiles in a trade June 30, 2018. The 23-year-old was a fourth-round pick (No. 99) by the Jets in the 2014 NHL Draft and played three AHL seasons with Manitoba before the trade.
In San Diego, he finished second in team scoring this regular season with professional career-highs in points (55), goals (20), and assists (35) in 66 games. He has three goals in three playoff games.
There could be more talent for San Diego if the team advances far enough in the Calder Cup Playoffs.
Terry could have been another major addition for San Diego, but the forward sustained a non-displaced fracture in his leg during a game against the Calgary Flames on March 29.
Terry (6-1, 178) had 13 points (four goals, nine assists) in 32 games for the Ducks. The 21-year-old had 41 points (16 goals, 25 assists) in 41 AHL games. Anaheim chose him in the fifth round (No. 148) of the 2015 draft. He is expected to be out at least two months.
Video: ANA@ARI: Terry fires home PPG from the circle
Comtois had seven points (two goals, five assists) in 10 games with the Ducks along with a goal in four games for San Diego before the forward returned to the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League.
Comtois (6-2, 207) was selected by the Ducks in the second round (No. 50) of the 2017 NHL Draft.
The 20-year-old had 48 points (31 goals, 17 assists) in 25 regular-season games with Drummondville. In 12 playoff games, he has 13 points (nine goals, four assists). Drummondville is in the third round against Halifax. The best-of-7 series is tied 1-1.
If Drummondville is eliminated, Comtois would be eligible to join San Diego.