The Anaheim Ducks have been a very interesting team over the last handful of years. The days of competing for the Stanley Cup with franchise pillars like Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry are over. They have since turned the page and started to rebuild. After drafting Leo Carlsson this year, they feel like they are heading back in the right direction.
With guys like Trevor Zegras, Troy Terry, Mason McTavish, and Jamie Drysdale amongst others already in the mix, they are well on their way. It is going to be fun watching them all grow together and start to win as a unit. Carlsson is going to be a big part of that.
Of course, getting Carlsson was somewhat of a surprise. The Ducks had the highest odds to win the 2023 NHL Draft Lottery but they ended up winning the second overall pick. The Chicago Blackhawks ended up with the right to draft Connor Bedard first overall.
Everyone expected Anaheim to take Adam Fantilli out of the University of Michigan but they surprised the hockey world and took Carlsson. Now, they will be compared forever and they have to hope that it proves to be a great decision.
The Anaheim Ducks might have a stud in Leo Carlsson coming in 2023-24.
Fantilli ended up being the third overall pick by the Columbus Blue Jackets so he is staying in the midwest. It will be so fun to watch these three and see how they do over the next decade or so.
Over the weekend, prospects all over the league were participating in their tournaments which are mostly regional. The Chicago Blackhawks played and Connor Bedard got a hat trick in the one game that he suited up. Meanwhile, Fantilli had a hat trick and five points in his one game as well.
Getting off to fast starts in these tourneys is important. Leo Carlsson is going to have to be very good to live up to his draft status because of the players he was drafted around. It started in this prospect event and he thrived.
The Anaheim Ducks prospects played in the 2023 Rookie Faceoff with lots of West Coast teams. They went 2-1-0 in the tournament of young NHL prospects.
On Monday, the Ducks earned their second win of the tournament over the Los Angeles Kings in the final game. Leo Carlsson scored in the game for his first-ever goal in a Ducks jersey. That isn’t like scoring in the regular season or even the preseason for the first time but it had to feel good.
It was one of the prettier goals you’ll see from any prospect over the course of that weekend as he took a nifty sharp-angle shot to beat the Kings’ goaltender. With moves and skating like that, he should be all over the place in the NHL.
He finished the tournament with three total points in three games played. It was one goal and two assists for three points that he earned in this tourney. He looked great and is only going to get better as he matures and develops his skills.
If he has a good preseason and training camp, he will make the team. The Ducks will be better for it too because of the skills that he brings to the table. Don’t forget about him with all of the other rookies in this league. He will be great too.