By Thomas Harrington
The Ducks drafted Nic Kerdiles in the second round three years ago, and he just completed his first professional season with the Norfolk Admirals.
When the Ducks traded Emerson Etem to the New York Rangers for Carl Hagelin, Kerdiles became the only player in the Ducks’ organization to have grown up in California. As a result, I’m really pulling for this kid to make the Ducks’ lineup. I was at the game in San Jose when Etem made his NHL debut, and it was so cool to see the first California player drafted by the Ducks make hi NHL debut. I’m hoping that Kerdiles is able to stick around longer than Etem was able to.
As has been the running theme for the Ducks and their prospects this past season, Kerdiles missed a significant amount of time due to injury. Early in the season, he was fighting for Norfolk’s scoring lead with Chris Wagner. However, in mid-February, he suffered a concussion when his head was slammed into the ice, and he didn’t return to the lineup until the final two games of the season. Overall, he appeared in 51 games for the Admirals and scored nine goals and 26 points. While more offense would have been nice to see during his rookie year, averaging a point every other game is a solid rookie season. Despite missing so much time, he was still Norfolk’s fourth leading scorer.
This past season wasn’t what many hoped for Kerdiles, partially because of his concussion. It didn’t help that the Admirals were starved for offensive production, and while Kerdiles was putting up decent numbers, having a player who put up 26 points be the fourth leading scorer on the team is a bad sign. This coming season, Kerdiles will look to be one of San Diego’s leading scorers and build on his rookie season. He can play both center and wing, but will probably see more time on left wing as the Gulls have a couple of players to fill their top two center positions. I’m hoping that he can stay healthy and increase his offensive output. A point every other game was nice in his rookie season, but now in his sophomore campaign, his offensive production will need to improve.
Kerdiles needs to work on his defensive game before he makes it to the NHL, but his offensive skills and instincts are just at the cusp of making it to the NHL. He has a quick release, moves well on the ice, and is just a very smart player.
Kerdiles has two years left on his entry-level contract, and he will be a restricted free agent when it’s over. I believe he will be re-signed, but I doubt that he will be getting a long term extension at that point. It’s more likely the Ducks sign him for a year or two.
With last year not going as hoped, it’s hard to say if Kerdiles will crack the Ducks’ lineup this season. It will primarily depend on how much he is able to bounce back after that concussion. I think that it’s more likely he spends the season in the AHL and works on getting his game back, while other prospects like Wagner, Stefan Noesen, Max Friberg, and Nick Ritchie get called up if needed. However, if he can stay healthy and put up good numbers, it wouldn’t surprise me if he makes his way to the Ducks this season. If he doesn’t this season, I have little doubt that Kerdiles will find himself in an Anaheim uniform in the 2016-17 season. While it may not be as a full time NHL player at that point, at least as a call-up when someone gets injured.
My next prospect update will be on Stefan Noesen.
We have been tracking the off-season status of the Ducks prospects. If you want more information about a specific prospect, then please visit here: Ducks Prospects: Summer Updates
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