Times are tough for the Anaheim Ducks. They entered the 2023 NHL Draft Lottery with the best odds to win the Connor Bedard Sweepstakes. Their 25.5 percent chance was over ten percent better than the next closest team.
Well, they didn’t win him. In fact, they now have come in second place in both the Connor Bedard and Sidney Crosby lotteries. They got Bobby Ryan the first time who turned out to be a very good player for them. Now, they are going to get Michigan superstar Adam Fantilli.
That is not a bad consolation prize at all. He won the Hobey Baker Award as the best player in college hockey which is very rarely ever won by a freshman.
He isn’t Connor Bedard, who will be selected by the Chicago Blackhawks first overall, but he is still very good. In fact, he will be so perfect on this Anaheim Ducks team.
The Anaheim Ducks will be getting a very good player in Adam Fantilli.
He may choose to go back to Michigan for another chance at a National Championship, but there is also little more that he can prove playing college hockey. He can also go for another Gold Medal at the World Juniors (and have a much bigger role).
It will be interesting to see what his decision is on that front. There are certainly pros and cons to both options.
Whenever he does step into Anaehim’s lineup, however, he is going to create an amazing 1-2 punch at center with Trevor Zegras.
One (Zegras) is a superstar offensive talent that plays hockey like it is a video game in the offensive zone. The other (Fantilli) is a mean centerman that plays a very good two-way game and has an outstanding shot. They will contrast each other well in the matchup game.
A good comparison is the way that the New Jersey Devils lineup is built. Nico Hischier is a very elite two-way centerman (he is currently nominated for the Selke Trophy) while Jack Hughes is a supreme offensive player (he had 99 points this season as a 21-year-old).
If the Ducks can get that type of production from their guys, they could get back to being a Stanley Cup contender again soon.
With other studs there as well like Troy Terry, Mason McTavish, and Jamie Drysdale, good times could be ahead in Southern California. Although missing out on Connor Bedard can’t feel very great right now, they will be just fine in the end.