Mason McTavish and Bo Groulx making NHL Debuts
Mason McTavish and Benoit-Olivier Groulx both broke through and made their NHL debuts in the Ducks’ season opener against the Winnipeg Jets. McTavish slotted in for Max Jones who was a late scratch due to a non-covid related illness, while Groulx centered the fourth line with Nic Deslauriers and Derek Grant. It was a night to remember for both, but especially McTavish who recorded his first NHL goal on his first shot of his young career. The 18-year became the youngest Ducks players in franchise history to record a goal and added a powerplay assist later in the game.
Groulx didn’t hit the scoresheet, but he featured heavily on the Ducks penalty kill which was perfect on the night and he seemed to get better and better as the night went on. It was a bright start for the latest line of youngsters to make their way into the Ducks lineup and bodes well for their chances to stick around for the entire season. The Ducks next game is Friday, October 15th against the Minnesota Wild. It will be interesting to see if they both end up back in the lineup.
Jacob Perreault & Lukas Dostal back in San Diego
As expected, Jacob Perreault and Lukas Dostal were assigned back to the San Diego Gulls to begin the season. They are arguably the two most exciting prospects on the Gulls roster this season and have both gotten off to decent starts during preseason. Perreault has one goal and one assist through two games played and is tied for the team lead with 7 shots on goal. Dostal earned the victory in his first start of the preseason, stopping 23 of 25 shots against on route to the Gulls 5-2 victory over the Ontario Reign.
Olen Zellweger and the Everett Silvertips begin their season on the road this Friday against the Seattle Thunderbirds. He is looking to build on an impressive stretch last season where we posted 2 goals and 11 assists for 13 points in 11 games played. He also had 1 goal and 7 assists in 8 games played for Team Canada at the U-18 tournament. He immediately became one of the Ducks best defense prospects and there will be a lot of eyes on him this season to see if he can repeat his success from last year over an entire season.
Tyson Hinds has played in two games for the Rimouski Océanic since returning from Ducks development camp. He was named as part of the Océanic leadership group this season as one of the alternate captains. Through two games he has recorded one assist and 7 shots on goal. He’ll be looking to improve on the 6 goals and 9 assists that he recorded in 23 games last season.
Sasha Pastujov Fitting In Well In The OHL
Sasha Pastujov is adjusting nicely to life in the Ontario Hockey League with the Guelph Storm. The American winger was held pointless in his first game of the season but rebounded with a hat-trick in his second career OHL game. He followed that performance up with two assists and now has 5 points in three games played and sits second on the team in scoring. It’s great to see him get off to such a hot start, especially since his decision to leave Notre Dame in the NCAA for the OHL was such a shock. He’s one of the most enticing prospects to watch this season and he has disappointed thus far.
McLaughlin, Perbix & LaCombe
Blake McLaughlin has returned for what will be his final season with the University of Minnesota and has gotten off to a great start to the season. The Minnesota native has 1 goal and 4 assists in the first two games of the season and will be vying to finish above a point per game for the first time in his collegiate career. Jackson LaCombe and Jack Perbix are both entering their third seasons with Minnesota. LaCombe has one assist in two games played, while Perbix has two assists.
Sam Colangelo & Joshua Lopina & Trevor Janicke
Sam Colangelo has begun what will be his first full season with Northeastern University after recording 3 assists in 8 games played last season. He recorded his first NCAA goal this season and sits with 1 goal in 3 games played so far. Still only 19, Colangelo has a long way to go but has shown slight improvement to start the year. He’s on the prospects I’m most excited to watch this season and see how much he’s developed since being drafted in the second round in 2020.
Josh Lopina is coming off a season where he won the NCAA Championship with the University of Massachusetts – Amherst. He recorded 9 goals and 14 assists for 23 points in 29 games played last season. He’s got 1 goal through two games played this year and will be relied upon to be a primary contributor for UMass again this season.
Trevor Janicke is looking to rebound from a tough sophomore season which saw him manage only 4 goals and 6 assists for 10 points in 29 games played. He had 8 goals and 5 assists for 13 points in 37 games played during his freshman season. He’s gotten off to a good start with 2 assists in his first game of the season and will be looking to build off that as the season progresses.
Artyom Galimov has continued to put up highlight reel plays this season with a beautiful toe-drag to convert the shorthanded goal. The highlight reel plays remain, but his production has taken a step forward in his third full season in the KHL. The Russian winger has 3 goals and 7 assists for 10 points in 19 games played after recording 6 goals and 10 assists for 16 points in 41 games played last season. He’s an interesting prospect for the Ducks and could be a valuable asset for them down the road if he decides to make the switch to the NHL.
Sean Tschigerl & Gage Alexander
Sean Tschigerl is building off an impressive 2020-21 campaign that saw him record 13 goals and 8 assists for 21 points in 21 games played. Through three games played this season he has 1 goal and 3 assists which co-leads the Calgary Hitmen in scoring. He also co-leads the team in shots on goal with 17. A former 4th overall pick in the 2018 WHL draft, he’s starting to look like a steal for the Ducks who drafted him in the 5th round of the 2021 NHL Entry Draft.
Gage Alexander recorded a 13-save shutout in his only start of the season against the Prince Albert Raiders. The 6-foot-6 netminder is still the back-up for the Winnipeg ICE with Daniel Hauser leading the way. Alexander played only 9 games during the 2020-21 season, but expect him to play more than that this year.
Albin Sundsvik & Thimo Nickl
Albin Sundsvik has 2 assists in 5 games played this season with Skelleftea AIK in the Swedish Hockey League. He remains a depth player for the team, averaging approx. 12 minutes a night which is the third lowest among forwards on the team. He had 6 goals and 8 assists for 14 points in 45 games played last season, so we’ll be looking for some improvement there.
It seems that Austrian defenseman Thimo Nickl has finally found a home with AIK in the HockeyAllsvenskan in Sweden. He has 1 assist in 3 games played this season and is averaging 18:19 time on ice which ranks fifth among defenseman on the team. He’s one player I haven’t gotten to watch a lot of after playing a handful of games in three different leagues last year, so some stability should do him well this year.
Kyle Kukkonen & Ethan Bowen
Kyle Kukkonen is making his debut in the United States Hockey League this year after spending the majority of the 2020-21 season in the US Highschool circuit. He’s the third highschool player the Ducks have drafted in recent years joining Jackson LaCombe and Ian Moore. He has 4 assists through 5 games played, so it’s been a pretty good start for the 18-year-old forward.
Ethan Bowen remains in the BCHL for a fourth season with the Chilliwack Chiefs. The Chilliwack native had 21 points in 19 games played last season and has begun the year with 1 goal and 2 assists for 3 points in 2 games played. A 7th round pick in the 2020 NHL Entry Draft he has a long way to go before he makes it onto the Ducks roster.
Moore & Thrun not playing yet
Ian Moore makes the jump to the NCAA and joins up with Henry Thrun at Harvard University. However, we’ll have to wait until October 29th for their season to get underway.