The odd reason the Anaheim Ducks are sending Trevor Zegras back to the AHL

One of the few bright spots in an otherwise lost year for Anaheim Ducks fans has been Trevor Zegras.

The No. 9 overall pick from the 2019 NHL Entry Draft made his NHL debut earlier this season. Earlier this year, Trevor Zegras was the most valuable player of the IIHF World Junior Championships in Edmonton where his Team USA captured Gold, and big things were expected of the Anaheim Ducks prospect.

Well Zegras’s stay in the big show seems over, for now at least. Anaheim has re-assigned him to their AHL affiliate the San Diego Gulls. Considering the Ducks are likely to be sellers at the deadline, it’s reasonable to expect he’ll be back as soon as roster spots open up.

News of the demotion seemed weird. After all, it’s not like replacing Zegras in the lineup will help the Ducks win? It’s not as if Zegras hasn’t show he can contribute at the NHL level? Because, let’s face it, having 7 points (1 G, 6 A) in 17 games as a rookie is pretty decent.

The Anaheim Ducks are sending Trevor Zegras back to the AHL to re-learn his original position. Why did they change it in the first place?

Instead, the Anaheim Ducks sent their prized prospect back to the city that should stay classy (like the Anchorman reference) for an interesting reason. The Ducks want to transition Zegras to playing center. They believe the AHL is the place to do it.

Here’s the thing though, Zegras is a natural center. He was drafted as a center. The Ducks’ reasoning was they shifted him to wing to help him move up to the NHL. Then again, that’s another interesting take. Why move a player away from their natural position to give them a spot in a more demanding league?

Trevor Zegras (46)

Anaheim Ducks center Trevor Zegras (46). Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

With Zegras ahead in his NHL progress, as they put it, they’re sending him back down to have him re-learn his own position after this little weird experiment. No doubt Zegras loved the NHL experience, and loved being around the team. Still, the Ducks seem like they’re making this whole thing way more complicated than it needs to be. At least Zegras will get to play actual games at back in the AHL and get that in-game experience. So far, Zegras hasn’t exactly impressed in his return to the minor leagues.

We all know Trevor Zegras will be back. When it’s time for him to make the long trip from one South California city to another, he’ll be returning to town as a center. The Anaheim Ducks could have done the same exact thing, with the same exact goal, without putting all the miles on Zegras’s car.