With the NHL Draft approaching, the Anaheim Ducks will have an important decision to make with the sixth-overall pick. I wrote an article in June, which highlighted seven players who the Ducks could select with the sixth-overall pick and over the last week, I’ve been doing individual player profiles on them. This article will be the last of the series and will focus on Jake Sanderson.
Sanderson is an interesting prospect and shot up this year’s draft rankings in the back half of the season. Recently, some have even debated him being the top defenseman in the draft and in Sportsnet’s August Mock Draft of the top 15 picks, Sanderson was projected to be taken fifth-overall by the Ottawa Senators.
He’s a big, left-handed defenseman who spent the year with USA Hockey’s Under-18 Development Program, where he was captain. There, he scored seven goals and 29 points in 47 games. While his offensive upside may not be as high as Jamie Drysdale’s, Sanderson is very strong defensively, isn’t afraid to use his body to get between a player and the puck, and consistently makes good decisions in his own zone.
That said, Sanderson is the only of the seven players who I’ve reviewed as a potential pick where I don't see a fit with the Ducks. While Sanderson may be ranked by some to go as high as around sixth overall, he doesn't fill a position of need for the team. The Ducks are short on right-handed defensemen but their left side is already populated with Cam Fowler and Hampus Lindholm, plus Kodie Curran, Christian Djoos, Brendan Guhle, Jacob Larsson and Josh Mahura will all be fighting for spots as well. Simply put, if there’s one position (other than in net) where the Ducks shouldn’t be scrambling for prospects, it’s on the left side of their defense group.
So while Sanderson may be a quality prospect, he’s probably not the right pick for the Ducks at sixth overall.
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Here’s today’s poll question (results and discussion will be posted in a future article):
Would you be in favour of the Ducks selecting Jake Sanderson with the sixth-overall pick?