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31 in 31

Top prospects for Anaheim Ducks

Steel, Comtois, Guhle expected to make NHL impact this season

by David Satriano @davidsatriano / NHL.com Staff Writer

NHL.com is providing in-depth prospect analysis for each of its 31 teams throughout August. Today, the top five prospects for the Anaheim Ducks, according to NHL.com.

 

[Ducks 31 IN 31: Season preview | 3 Questions | Fantasy breakdown | Behind the Numbers]

 

1. Trevor Zegras, F

How acquired: Selected with No. 9 pick in 2019 NHL Draft

Last season: USA U-18 (NTDP): 60 GP, 26-61-87

Zegras (6-foot, 169 pounds) took part in development camp but is committed to Boston University this season after playing for the USA Hockey National Team Development Program Under-18 team. The 18-year-old center has a 200-foot game, excellent vision and can play wing. It's likely he will be in the NHL next season, although he could get a look when his college season ends this season.

"I want to become more of a shooter for sure," Zegras said during development camp in June. "I find myself in some pretty good scoring areas most of the time and usually I always look for the right pass, but maybe shoot the puck a little bit more."

Projected NHL arrival: Next season

Video: 31 in 31: Anaheim Ducks 2019-20 season preview

 

2. Sam Steel, F

How acquired: Selected with No. 30 pick in 2016 NHL Draft

Last season: Anaheim: 22 GP, 6-5-11; San Diego (AHL): 53 GP, 20-21-41 

Steel made the Ducks out of training camp last season and had three points (one goal, two assists) in 13 games before he was sent to the AHL. Upon his return to the Ducks in February, he had eight points (five goals, three assists) in nine games, including his first NHL hat trick March 26. Steel (5-11, 186) should see a full-time role with the Ducks this season and the 21-year-old center should benefit from last season's experience.

"The one thing with Sam is he's always there to get direction," said Ducks coach Dallas Eakins, who coached San Diego the past four seasons. "He invites the coaching. But you can just see him figuring things out on his own too. He's really invested in his own game. The more he earned his spot and the more he's started to understand the NHL game, the better he played."

Projected NHL arrival: This season

 

3. Max Comtois, F

How acquired: Selected with No. 50 pick in 2017 NHL Draft

Last season: Anaheim: 10 GP, 2-5-7; San Diego (AHL): 4 GP; 1-0-1; Drummondville (QMJHL): 25 GP, 31-17-48

Comtois made the Ducks out of training camp last season and had seven points (two goals, five assists) in 10 games in October before going back to junior, where he showcased his scoring touch. He had one goal in four AHL games and could start the season there, but it's more likely the 20-year-old left wing earns a top-nine spot with the Ducks out of camp.

Anaheim is in need of scoring, and Comtois (6-2, 207), who has a good hockey IQ and above-average speed, should be able to help.

"When he came back [to the AHL], I thought he had real impact in our games," Eakins said Eakins. "He was really invested in the team and played very, very well."

Projected NHL arrival: This season

Video: ANA@ARI: Comtois goes five-hole for opening tally

 

4. Isac Lundestrom, F

How acquired: Selected with No. 23 pick in 2018 NHL Draft

Last season: Anaheim: 15 GP, 0-2-2; San Diego (AHL): 12 GP, 0-6-6; Lulea (SWE): 17 GP, 2-7-9

The 19-year-old center has been praised for his skating and ability to protect the puck; he got a chance to showcase that in 15 games with the Ducks at the start of last season before playing for Lulea in the Swedish Hockey League. Lundestrom (6-0, 187) should benefit from a full season in North America and will get a chance to hone his game in the AHL.

"[He] decided to play in Europe last year, but when he came back to us in the playoffs he played a few games and ended up with an injury," Eakins said. "But I thought he was real solid and played real well before that. It's time for him to get over here full time and get after it. "

Projected NHL arrival: Next season

 

5. Brendan Guhle, D

How acquired: Trade from Buffalo Sabres on Feb. 24

Last season: Anaheim: 6 GP, 0-1-1; Buffalo: 2 GP, 0-0-0; Rochester (AHL): 50 GP, 5-22-27

The Ducks are in need of defensemen after losing several in free agency, and Guhle (6-2, 196), who was acquired for defenseman Brandon Montour last season, should step in. He has played in 29 NHL games in three seasons. 

"I want to play on the Ducks full time this year," the 22-year-old told the Ducks website after development camp. "If they want to put me in San Diego, I'll be open to that, but I'm coming to camp trying to make the team. I want to be a contributor and help us win games, help us get back to the [Stanley Cup Playoffs]."

Projected NHL arrival: This season

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