By Thomas Harrington
Before tonight’s game against Los Angeles, the Anaheim Ducks made their third round of roster cuts, assigning 16 players to San Diego: Stu Bickel, Kevin Boyle, Brian Cooper, Nate Guenin, Matt Hackett, Jaycob Megna, Tyler Morley, Stefan Noesen, Andrew O’Brien, Kevin Roy, Scott Sabourin, Jeff Schultz, Nick Tarnasky, Keaton Thompson, Corey Tropp, and Andy Welinski. However, Guenin, Hackett, Noesen, O’Brien, Schultz, and Tropp all have to clear waivers before officially being assigned to San Diego. Assuming they clear waivers tomorrow morning, all six will report to San Diego for the start of the Gulls’ training camp.
Of these 16 players, 15 of them were not surprising, with Noesen being the biggest surprise. As was posted earlier today, he was placed on waivers this morning, but that doesn’t mean he is necessarily San Diego bound. However, the Ducks clearly feel that he’s not quite ready for the NHL. Hopefully, after spending some time with the Gulls, he’ll prove that he’s ready for another shot with Anaheim and get called up to the Ducks later this season. A few of these players are actually signed to AHL-only deals and were only in Anaheim until San Diego’s training camp opened up.
Here’s a closer look at a few of the better players who Anaheim assigned to San Diego. Boyle will be fighting for playing time in San Diego’s crease as he seeks an extension on his current one-year deal. Roy will be playing in his first professional season. With Nick Ritchie possibly in Anaheim for much of this season, and Nic Kerdiles currently injured, Roy could be one of San Diego’s top left wingers this season. Thompson and Welinski also both finished up their college careers this past season and will be vying for playing time on a potentially deep defensive core. Hopefully, both can flourish and establish themselves as part of San Diego’s top four. Schultz, Guenin, and Tropp are all veteran players of several seasons who will hopefully become part of San Diego’s leadership core this season.
After this latest round of roster cuts, the Ducks have 39 players left in training camp. There are a few prospects who have managed to survive this long who are a bit surprising. On the juniors side, Julius Nattinen and Max Jones are both still in training camp. Neither will be in Anaheim on a full-time basis this season, but the longer they stay in Anaheim, the better the odds are that they do get an NHL game or two before being sent back to juniors. There are a number of other players who will most likely be assigned to San Diego before the start of the season, but their presence in Anaheim is a good sign of their development: Ondrej Kase, Joseph Cramarossa, Kalle Kossila, Michael Sgarbossa, Nick Sorensen, Brandon Montour, and Shea Theodore. Expect all of these players, especially Montour and Theodore, to get a lot of playing through the rest of the preseason. Finally, there’s Jacob Larsson. If Larsson does not make Anaheim’s roster, he has a clause in his contract that states that he can go and play in the SHL if he chooses to. He’s a longshot to make it this season, so it will be interesting to see how he’s utilized through the rest of the preseason and where he plays this year.
With three games left in the preseason after tonight’s game against the Kings, we should see Anaheim’s roster continue to take shape over the next week and a half. A large number of players will be assigned to San Diego. However, with Anaheim’s current lineup, there will at least be a couple of young players who will make the Ducks’ roster this season. It’ll be exciting to watch the roster come together before the season begins in mid-October.
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