The Anaheim Ducks went into the draft looking to have a balance among the picks they chose. In addition, they were looking to bolster their offense. You might call it a rebuild, and what better way to get the ball rolling than building through the draft. The promise of new talent is irresistible, and the Ducks heard its siren call.
Make sure to check out all of our other NHL Draft Recaps.
Mason McTavish, F, EHC Olten-SL (Round 1, Pick 3)
Olen Zellweger, D, Everett Silvertips-WHL (Round 2, Pick 34)
Sasha Pastujov, F, USA U18-NTDP (Round 3, Pick 66)
Tyson Hinds, D, Rimouski Océanic-QMJHL (Round 3, Pick 76)
Josh Lopina, F, UMass-NCAA (Round 4, Pick 98)
Sean Tschigerl, F, Calgary Hitmen-WHL (Round 5, Pick 130)
Gage Alexander, G, Winnipeg Ice-WHL (Round 5, Pick 148)
Kyle Kukkonen, F, Maple Grove High-USHS(MN) (Round 6, Pick 162)
Some may have been surprised when the Ducks chose McTavish as the third overall pick in the draft. He was projected to be a little lower in the draft. However, he’s a solid pick, that if developed properly, could turn into a leader for the team in the future. In the third round, they were able to grab Pastujov, which was a find that late in the draft. Also, in the third, the Ducks traded their 2022 third-round pick for the 76th overall pick and went on to choose Hinds at that spot. Overall, they drafted five forwards, two defensemen, and one goalie. Thus, they appeared to meet not only their goal of balance in the draft, but they were able to pick up several players who might see the ice in 1-3 years.
Best Pick: Mason McTavish
McTavish is projected to be a top-six center. He’s had decent numbers in faceoffs and has a fearless two-way game. McTavish spent the 2020-21 season with Olten of the Swiss League, scoring nine goals and two assists in 13 regular-season games. He scored 29 goals and 13 assists in 57 games with the Peterborough Petes in the OHL the year before. McTavish was on the Canadian team that won gold this past season at the U18 world championships, and he tied for third in scoring with 11 points (five goals, six assists) in seven games.
Worst Pick: Tyson Hinds
Hinds isn’t the worst player the Ducks could have selected. He was acquired in the third-round trade with the Montreal Canadiens. After being traded to Rimouski, Hinds has improved his play, received more chances to get in on the power-play, and became one of the most improved QMJHL players last season. However, he still has a long way to go to be NHL ready, and that might be time that Anaheim doesn’t want to spend waiting on him.
Sleeper Pick: Sasha Pastujov
Originally projected to go in the first or second round, grabbing Pastujov in the third may be considered a steal for the Ducks. He was ranked as the No. 18 North American Skater by NHL Central Scouting going into the draft. In the U.S. National Team Development Program, he scored 30 goals and 35 assists in 41 games, and then in 18 USHL games, he scored 10 goals and 16 assists. Pastujov is good at getting to loose pucks, which can generate a lot of offensive time. Exactly what the Ducks are looking for.
Going into the draft, the Ducks had the second-worst record of the 2020-21 season. They were last in the power play and 16th on the penalty kill. Not a great combination when you’re looking to get to the offseason. In this draft, the Ducks did a good job of picking players with the rebuild in mind. They grabbed some good players in Pastujov, Kukkonen, and Zellweger with their eight selections. All is not lost yet; that glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel, while small, gives hope to all who cheer on the Ducks.
Follow Liz Pendergraft on Twitter @lizzibear824
Main Image Credit: Embed from Getty Images