By Thomas Harrington
Yesterday the Anaheim Ducks made their second round of roster cuts, sending defenseman Josh Mahura, winger Deven Sideroff, center Tyler Soy, and center Sam Steel back to their respective junior teams. All four of these players appeared in one of Anaheim’s first two preseason games. Mahura, Soy, and Steel were all picked by Anaheim back in June and none of them have signed their entry-level contract yet. The Ducks now have 55 players remaining on their roster: 33 forwards, 16 defensemen, and six goalies. Max Jones and Julius Nattinen are the only junior eligible players left at training camp.
Of these four, Mahura getting sent down was the least surprising. Between Anaheim’s depth on defense and injuries limiting him to only two regular season games last season, he was clearly going to back to Red Deer this year. Mahura played over 17 minutes against the Coyotes. The experience of camp and one preseason game will hopefully help Mahura this coming season. As long as he can stay healthy, he should have a solid season in Red Deer.
Soy also played against Arizona, logging nearly 14 minutes of ice time. His speed was on display throughout camp and he definitely got noticed. As a seventh round pick, Soy’s got a lot of work to do to prove that he’s good enough to make it to the NHL. Hopefully, he can have a big season in Victoria and build off a solid season that led to the Ducks drafting him in June.
Steel was Anaheim’s second first round pick in 2016 and was the only one of these four to play against Los Angeles in what was an ugly game in the preseason. He played over 14 minutes against the Kings. As a playmaker, he’ll be looking to crack the 50 assist mark for Regina this coming season.
Sideroff is the only one of these four players who has signed his entry-level contract. While it wasn’t a surprise to see him sent back to juniors, he was one of the players who I thought had an outside chance of getting a game or two of NHL action this season before being sent back to Kamloops. A third round pick from 2015, this should be his final season of junior hockey. Hopefully, he has a great season for the Blazers before he joins San Diego.
Both Nattinen and Jones played in the loss to Arizona. While neither scored, both made enough of an impression to survive through the first two rounds of roster cuts. While both should be on their way back to their respective junior teams, both of them have an outside chance of getting a game or two of NHL action before they go back down. If Rickard Rakell misses the first few games because of injury or contract negotiations, Nattinen’s chance of getting in a game or two rises a little bit.
It was also announced that San Diego’s training camp will begin next Monday. The Ducks have two more preseason games before then, one on Saturday and one on Sunday. After Sunday’s game against Los Angeles, expect Anaheim to make a large number of cuts, as players head to San Diego to get ready for the Gulls’ season. After that large cut is made, we’ll have a much better idea of what rookies will have a legitimate chance of starting the season in Anaheim.
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