By Thomas Harrington
The Anaheim Ducks made their first round of roster cuts today, as they reassigned seven players to their respective junior teams. The Ducks still have 57 players on their roster and have a long way to go before the final rosters in the NHL and AHL are finalized.
The Ducks assigned Alexandre Alain to Gatineau of the QMJHL, Landon Bow to Swift Current of the WHL, Brendan Burke to Calgary of the WHL, C.J. Garcia to Guelph of the OHL, Wyatt Johnson to Red Deer of the WHL, Nathan Noel to St. John of the QMJHL, and Lane Pedersen to Seattle of the WHL. All seven players were on Amateur Tryout Agreements and will probably not be a part of the Ducks’ organization going forward. Some of them, like Noel, will hope to be drafted by a team next year, after being passed over in the draft this past June.
All seven players competed at the recent futures games in San Jose. Burke and Bow split the second game in net, helping the Ducks get their one win of the weekend. At forward, Johnson was probably the player who stood out the most, playing as a bottom six center and having some effective shifts on the forecheck. Noel clearly has some skill, but he needs to get stronger if he wants a shot at the NHL someday. Pederson and Alain didn’t really stand out much, which isn’t a bad thing, since they were primarily being used in bottom six roles. Garcia played in the first game, paired primarily with Josh Manson, but he wasn’t very noticeable either.
With 57 players left, the Ducks have a long way to go before the season starts. It’s pretty clear where most of the remaining players are going, whether it’s staying in Anaheim, going to San Diego, or returning to juniors, but there are a few young players hoping to crack Anaheim’s roster. Most notably, Nick Ritchie, Chris Wagner, Max Friberg, Stefan Noesen, and Manson are all hoping to be in Anaheim, and there’s clearly not room for all of them. All five played in the loss to Colorado the other night. With five preseason games remaining, I would expect these five players to appear in at least a couple more games each as the Ducks attempt to sort out who is NHL ready.
With two games this weekend on Friday and Saturday, I would anticipate the next round of roster cuts happening on Sunday or Monday. Given the large number of players on their roster, I would expect it to be a much bigger cut, with a lot of players heading to San Diego, allowing the Gulls to get their training camp going.
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