Development Camp: A Closer Look At Anaheim’s Prospects

Photo: The San Diego Union-Tribune

Photo: The San Diego Union-Tribune

By Thomas Harrington

Earlier today, the Anaheim Ducks announced the roster for their development camp, which will take place this weekend, with a public scrimmage Monday morning July 4 at 10 AM. Here’s a closer look at some of the prospects who will be in attendance.

This will be the first chance for Ducks fans to see every single player the Ducks drafted last weekend. First round picks Max Jones and Sam Steel, along with later round picks Jack Kopacka, Josh Mahura, Alex Dostie, and Tyler Soy will all take part in the camp. Most of them will also likely be in attendance for Anaheim’s rookie and training camps in the fall before they head back to their respective junior teams, but this will be our first chance to see them in Ducks gear and they can get a taste of what it’s like to skate within the Ducks’ system. We’re still years away from seeing how many of them make it to the NHL.

2015 Draft Class

Joining them will be six players from Anaheim’s 2015 draft class: Jacob Larsson, Brent Gates Jr., Julius Nattinen, Steve Ruggiero, Deven Sideroff, and Troy Terry. Larsson is Anaheim’s first round pick from last season and with him most likely Sweden bound for next season, this could be our lone chance to see him with the Ducks until next summer. He did not attend Anaheim’s rookie camp or training camp last fall and could follow a similar schedule this year. Ruggiero, Gates, and Terry are currently playing in the NCAA and will likely continue at their respective schools next season. Like Larsson, this will probably be the only time this year for us to see them play. Nattinen completed his first season in the OHL, and was just traded from Barrie to Windsor. He’ll likely spend the next season there before joining the Gulls. Sideroff had a strong season in the WHL last season and will return there for one more season before likely turning pro. Garrett Metcalf is the only player drafted in 2015 who will not be attending the camp. Unless one of these players has an amazing training camp in the fall, don’t expect any of them to suit up for Anaheim in the coming season. Despite the fact that none of these players will be a member of the Ducks in the near future, at least two of them look like they are on track to make the NHL in a couple of seasons, and the rest still certainly have a shot.

2014 Draft Class

The 2014 draft class will be represented by Nick Ritchie, Matt Berkovitz, Ondrej Kase, and Marcus Pettersson. Ritchie will be looking to make a big impact on the Ducks this season, starting with this weekend’s activities. This coming season, the Ducks staff probably expect him to split time between the NHL and AHL again. Ritchie will be wanting to stay with the Ducks full time and we’ll hopefully see a big weekend from the young winger. Berkovitz has finished up his time in the USHL and will be attending the University of Wisconsin next season. After missing a lot of last season with on injured reserve, Kase’s focus will be on staying healthy this season. He’ll start the season in San Diego, but he’s a darkhorse candidate to make his NHL debut this season. Pettersson is expected to play in San Diego this season after playing in Sweden last year. Brandon Montour is the only player from 2014 who will not be in attendance at Anaheim’s development camp this year. Expect him to be a part of the rookie and training camps this fall. Ritchie has obviously already made his NHL debut, and Montour is likely not far behind. Depending on how their seasons in San Diego go, Kase and Pettersson could find their way to Anaheim in the not too distant future. Berkovitz is still several years away, but he has plenty of time left to continue to develop.

2013 Draft Class

The 2013 draft class will be represented by Nick Sorensen, Grant Besse, and Keaton Thompson. Sorensen has been on loan to to the SHL for the last couple of seasons but will be joining San Diego in the fall. Besse just finished his junior year of NCAA hockey and will almost assuredly return there for his senior season. Thompson also finished his junior year of NCAA hockey this past season, but has signed a professional contract and will be a member of San Diego’s defensive core next season. The only two players from the 2013 draft who will not be attending are Shea Theodore and Miro Aaltonen. Like Montour, Theodore will be a part of Anaheim’s rookie and training camps in the fall as he fights for a roster spot on the Ducks. Aaltonen was never signed by Anaheim and played in the Liiga league last season. Given that Aaltonen is the only player from this draft class who Anaheim has lost, that’s pretty impressive three years later. Theodore looks like a future stud, while Thompson looks like a solid defensive-defenseman. If Sorensen can stay healthy, he could be a very good addition in San Diego with an outside shot at playing in Anaheim at some point this season. With Besse still playing in the NCAA, he’s at least a year away from joining the Gulls, but he’ll be an interesting player to keep an eye on.

Others Expected To Attend

Besides players that Anaheim has drafted, there are a few more prospects who will be in attendance. Kevin Boyle, Kalle Kossila, and Tyler Morley all signed with Anaheim towards the end of last season. Kossila made it into six regular season games with the Gulls and appeared in seven of their nine playoff games, scoring two goals in the postseason. Before signing with the Ducks, he had played for four years at St. Cloud State University. After signing with Anaheim, Boyle failed to appear in any games with San Diego. Given how they were fighting for playoff positioning and then in the playoffs once he joined the team, that’s unsurprising. Expect him to get some action with the Gulls this season. Morley played in a couple of regular season games with San Diego, but none in the playoffs. Expect him to see more time with the Gulls this season. All three are long shots to make it to the NHL this coming season, but of them, I would say that Kossila has the best chance.

The Ducks also invited 14 college and junior players to participate in the camp as well. None of them are signed to an NHL contract and no NHL team holds any of their rights. They are attending for a number of reasons. First, to fill out the camp roster and increase the quality of competition. Second, to give Anaheim a look at a few more young players and see if they want to consider drafting or signing any of these players in the future. Third, to give these players a taste of what the NHL is like and give them a better idea of what to improve on going forward in their playing careers.

The development camp scrimmage is a lot of fun and will be our first chance to get a look at Anaheim’s most recent draft picks and a chance to see how the other young prospects are developing. If you have a chance, I highly encourage you to go.

Note: Practices this weekend are closed to the public. Only the scrimmage on July 4 will be open to the public.

Below is a list of prospects scheduled to participate per the Anaheim Ducks. (Subject to change)

Player Position How Acquired
Berkovitz, Matt D ANA 5th rd., 123rd in 2014
Besse, Grant LW ANA 5th rd., 147th in 2013
Boyle, Kevin G Signed as free agent
Conway, Scott C College Invite
Crawley, Brandon D Junior Invite
Delia, Collin G College Invite
Dostie, Alex C ANA 4th rd., 115th in 2016
Fergus, T.J. D Junior Invite
Gambardella, Joe C College Invite
Gates Jr., Brent C ANA 3rd rd., 80th in 2015
Jones, Max LW ANA 1st rd., 24th in 2016
Kase, Ondrej RW ANA 7th rd., 205th in 2014
Kiersted, Matt D Junior Invite
Kopacka, Jack LW ANA 4th rd., 93rd in 2016
Kossila, Kalle C Signed as free agent
Kozlowski, Trevin G College Invite
Larsson, Jacob D ANA 1st rd., 27th in 2015
L’Esperance, Joel C College Invite
Mahura, Josh D ANA 3rd rd., 85th in 2016
Morley, Tyler C Signed as a free agent
Morris, Cale G College Invite
Murphy, Matt D Junior Invite
Nattinen, Julius C ANA 2nd rd. 59th in 2015
Pedrie, Vince D College Invite
Pettersson, Marcus D ANA 2nd rd., 38th in 2014
Rempal, Sheldon LW College Invite
Ritchie, Nick LW ANA 1st rd., 10th in 2014
Ruggiero, Steven D ANA 6th rd., 178th in 2015
Sideroff, Deven RW ANA 3rd rd., 84th in 2015
Skeoch, Darian D Junior Invite
Smith, Landon LW College Invite
Sorensen, Nick RW ANA 2nd rd., 45th in 2013
Soy, Tyler C ANA 7th rd., 205th in 2016
Steel, Sam C ANA 1st rd., 30th in 2016
Terry, Troy C ANA 5th rd., 148th in 2015
Thompson, Keaton D ANA 3rd rd., 87th in 2013