Dom Lunardo | April 19th, 2020
Anaheim, California. Although certainly not a traditional hockey hot-bed, Lord Stanley was raised here during the 2006-07 season. Fast forward nearly 14 seasons later, and that Ducks team without question looks much different. That so-called “Death Valley”, California road trip, has a whole new persona behind it with the drop in the play of the San Jose Sharks, Los Angeles Kings, and Anaheim Ducks.
Quack, Quack, Quack
The Anaheim Ducks are currently a team in transition who have passed the proverbial baton to many of its young guns. In the meantime, the club has a pretty good sense of what the future has in store with several high-caliber prospects. These youngsters represent hope for a Ducks team that has fallen on some tough times over the past few years. With an aging core and the departure of some pretty significant pieces, the demand for replenishing the talent cabinet has come full circle in Orange County. Let’s take a deep dive into the big-3 prospects “in the system” for Anaheim.
Number 3: Josh Mahura, Defenseman, Anaheim Ducks (NHL)/San Diego Gulls (AHL)
Number three on our list appears in the form of another Josh on the Ducks blue line. No, it’s not Josh Manson, its Josh Mahura, the St. Albert, Alberta native and posied for stardom in the Ducks top-6. At just 21 years of age, Mahura has already enjoyed time at the NHL level going back and forth between Anaheim, and the San Diego Gulls of the American Hockey League (AHL). Mahura is a good skater and makes really good decisions with the puck on his stick. He also likes to jump in and join the rush to make things happen in the offensive zone. Taken in the third round, 85th overall during the 2016 NHL Entry Draft, Mahura has a bright future ahead of him with a deep skillset to his name. Ducks general manager Bob Murray sees real potential in Mahura, who has all the tools to excel in the pros.
Number 2: Max Comtois, Left-Wing, Anaheim Ducks (NHL)/San Diego Gulls (AHL)
Standing 6’2 and weighing in at 208 pounds is Longueuil, Quebec native Maxime Comtois. Of French-Canadian descent, Comtois is a big-bodied, physical player who loves to use his large frame to full effect in all three zones on the ice. He captained Team Canada at the 2019 IIHF World Junior Hockey Championships and tallied 6 points in 5 games before being eliminated by the Finns in the quarter-finals. Comtois makes good decisions with the puck and is a real workhorse. The Ducks selected Comtois (now 21 years of age) in the second round, 50th overall during the 2017 NHL Entry Draft and have high hopes that the big winger can fit in on Anaheim’s top-9 as early as next year on a full-time basis. Comtois enjoyed an excellent career in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (QMJHL) with both the Victoriaville Tigres and Drummondville Voltigeurs, tallying 123 goals over his four-year junior career. Max Comtois is one of the next waves of Ducks coming through the pipeline at the forward position.
Number 1: Trevor Zegras, Center/Left-Wing, Boston University Terriers (NCAA)
Trevor Zegras sits atop our list as the best prospect “in the system” for the Anaheim Ducks by a wide margin. Anyone who watched his performances for Team USA during the 2020 IIHF World Junior Hockey Championship marveled at his skills, quick hands, and ability to make plays at an elite and highlight-reel level. In terms of his production, Zegras was a (+6) had 9 points in 6 games during a rather disappointing showing for the Americans. Zegras loves to throw his weight around and has the ability to drive play at both the center ice position and on the wing. The Bedford, New York native is also excellent in transition with exceptional passing skills. This season at BU with the Terriers, Zegras tallied 36 points in 33 games played. There’s a bit of Jack Eichel to his game, and that will bode just well for the die-hards out in Orange County who saw their team selected Zegras 9th overall during last summer’s NHL Entry Draft. Ducks fans will be licking their chops at the mere thought of Zegras in their lineup.
Honorable Mentions: D Henry Thrun, C Benoit-Olivier Groulx
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Main Image Credit: Embed from Getty Images