Dynasty Hockey League

Top Four Prospects – Anaheim Ducks [YR24]

Welcome to a new, and hopefully long-running series of articles reviewing and scoring each DHL organization’s top four prospects. These articles aim to cover all the current teams in the DHL and will attempt to provide some clarity and opinions regarding their perceived most valuable prospects. Before we can dive, Ryan Kesler-style into the our first team we need to set some rules. No.1, these opinions are that of mine, a semi-althletic, moderately overweight, handsome armchair fantasy GM, so if you don’t like them…too bad. No.2, to be considered a prospect, said player can not have played more than twenty (20) NHL games in the 2016/17 season (including post-season). Preference is not given to any position, however, most GM’s have taken care to build a well-rounded cupboard with touted prospect at each position. Now that that’s covered, let’s begin in Anaheim.

When Lance took over the reigns in Duckland, he assessed the prior damage incurred by the former “quack” of a GM. See what I did there? No, seriously, it wasn’t horrible but Lance has been progressive in attempting to make the Ducks more competitive while also trying to stockpile their future. Thus, the Ducks are in a state of rebuilding on the fly. To start our list, we look no further than Russia.

Noah Juulsen

While there’s nothing that screams offensively-dynamic top pairing defender, Juulsen is in fact a solid, potential No.2/3 defender. He’s hard to play against, does put up some offensive support, is mobile and makes a very good first pass out of the zone. Where Juulsen biggest concern comes from is that his offensive production has decreased since his rookier year in the WHL. Whether that’s due to Everett’s system and reliance on his shutdown abilities or that he’s just evolved into a more sturdy, defense oriented-prospect, I’m not sure. However, we will see how Juulsen does at the pro level when he suits up for the Laval Rockets in 2017/18.

Denis Gurianov

The big Russian power forward has had a relatively slow, yet consistent progression since being draft in 2015. While the jury is still out on if he can truly hit his ceiling there are some nights where he’s dominant, and some where he disappears. 2016/17 was a good introduction to North American hockey, scoring 27 points in 57 games for the Texas Stars. While those numbers might not be screaming offensive dynamo, take into consideration that he was buried deeper than the Mines of Moria to begin the season, then came the WJC, where he played at a PPG pace and returned to the Stars and started contributing. Gurianov has all the tools and talents to become a legitimate top-six winger at the NHL level and his second pro-season in North America should really show where his ceiling may end up. This kid can skate and handle the puck.

Sam Steel

It’s always nice when a prospect in the DHL aligns with the NHL team that holds their rights. Sam Steel might be the “steal” of the draft. Ok, i’m sorry. I won’t do it again. Seriously, Steel is a legitimate top-flight prospect with loads of potential. He’s seem to get a knock for being small, yet is six-feet tall and a 180lbs with a frame that could potential hold upwards of 15-20 more pounds of lean muscle mass. Size doesn’t matter when you can skate and think the game better than the majority of your opponents, though. Steel oozes hockey-IQ and absolutely dominated the WHL in his draft+1 year, scoring 131pts in 66 games. Steel is likely to get a very long look at Anaheim’s training camp, and is likely only a year away from being a full-time pro. He has absolutely nothing left to prove at the junior level, I can see Steel getting a nine-game stint before being sent down to destroy the Dub, one last time.

Kieffer Bellows

Some would say Bellows has had a unique and difficult draft+1 progression since being taken nineteenth overall. He committed to the standout hockey program at Boston University only to leave the prestigious school after an underwhelming and disappointing freshman season. Bellows scored 14pts in 34 games and was a team-worst minus-9. As a Boston College fanboy, I can tell you I’m very happy about his decision to leave, because while he struggled under the BU coaching system (he’s not the only NHL prospect to leave the school and head to Junior, fellow Ducks prospect, AJ Greer did the same a couple of years ago) he’s still argubley Lance’s best prospect. Bellows will take his talents to the Portland Winterhawks which has a knack for producing NHL calibre players. Look for Bellow’s name to be atop the scoresheets often as he should get the ice-time and deployment this budding power-forward deserves.

That’s it for this article. Moving forward, we’ll be taking a look at the prospect depth of the Minnesota Wild. See you on the otherside, DHler’s

 

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