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As the Anaheim Ducks continue to build for the future, there will be many players within the organization fighting to earn a spot on the roster.
While their defense group is quite thin after shipping out Hampus Lindholm and Josh Manson at the trade deadline, Anaheim's forward group isn’t likely to see many key departures. As a result, the Ducks could have a situation with too many forwards for available spots.
We already know the following seven forwards are locks for next season, finding a spot in the top-nine: Trevor Zegras, Troy Terry, Sonny Milano, Jakob Silfverberg, Adam Henrique, Max Comtois and Isac Lundestrom.
Then with both Sam Carrick and Derek Grant under contract, we can presume they’ll be bottom-six forwards or at the very least, they’ll have a roster spot. Sam Steel is also a restricted free agent and while he hasn’t necessarily made quite the impact we may have expected so far, he’s still in the mix to be a regular member of the lineup next season. Same goes for Max Jones, who missed almost the entire year due to injury, bringing the number of forwards up to 11.
Mason McTavish is also an x-factor for the Ducks. He’s still just 19 years old but seems like a good bet to crack the roster next season. McTavish can only develop so much in junior hockey given the quality of competition but still has a year of eligibility remaining, meaning that if he doesn’t play in the NHL, he’ll have to report back to the OHL.
Then factor in the list of unrestricted free agent forwards in Zach Aston-Reese, Gerry Mayhew, Dominik Simon, Vinni Lettieri and Buddy Robinson. Not all will return, but it wouldn’t be surprising to see a couple brought back in depth roles.
On top of that, the Ducks have other prospects pressing to get a chance in the NHL. Benoit-Olivier Groulx played 18 games with the Ducks this season, while former first-round picks in Jacob Perreault and Brayden Tracey will be looking to battle for a spot soon as well.
This doesn’t even factor in potential additions via trade and free agency. Like I talked about in a recent article, the Ducks have a ton of cap space and are likely to make a move or two. Adding a top-six forward wouldn’t be a surprising move, which would only cause a ripple effect down the rest of the lineup.
So while the Ducks don’t have a ton of star power up front, they could end up with a pretty crowded bottom-six. Perhaps players are shipped out this offseason but even with that in mind, there could be quite a bit of competition for spots up front.
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