After top prospects Jamie Drysdale and Trevor Zegras made the jump to the NHL this season, the next top prospect to watch for with the Anaheim Ducks will be forward Mason McTavish.
McTavish was selected by the Ducks with the third-overall pick in this year’s NHL Draft. He spent the year in Switzerland, with the OHL season being cancelled, scoring nine goals and 11 points in 13 games.
Now the question becomes how soon McTavish could join the Ducks.
At 6-foot-2 and 207 pounds, McTavish does have good size, which should hopefully help his transition to the NHL go a bit smoother. Heading overseas also gave him the opportunity to play professionally and adjust his game accordingly, rather than playing against opponents his own age.
It’s always interesting watching how teams develop a prospect in the CHL because the player won’t be eligible to play in the AHL until their CHL eligibility expires, making for a somewhat tricky development path. In McTavish’s case, he won’t be AHL-eligible until the 2023-24 season.
Obviously, it would be ideal to let the forward play with the AHL’s San Diego Gulls, which would be a nice balance in terms of the quality of competition he’d be facing, but that won’t be an option for some time. As a result, it’s probably a safe bet that McTavish will return to the OHL’s Peterborough Petes next season. He only played a total of 24 games last year, between regular season games, playoffs and the Under-18 World Championships, and transitioning him to the NHL so quickly would probably be the wrong play.
There’s the possibility that he gets a trial run with the Ducks but I’d say even that is probably unlikely. Let him go back to the OHL, get into more game action, then reevaluate in a year’s time.
While McTavish projects as a future top-six center and should be a key part of the team’s forward group long-term, the Ducks aren’t going to be competitive and there’s simply no reason to rush him into the lineup. That said, he may not be overly far off from making the jump.
Perhaps if he puts together a strong year in the OHL and looks ready in next year’s training camp, we could see him earn a spot with the team in the 2022-23 season. Until then, it’ll be a waiting game.
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What do you think Mason McTavish's long-term role will be with the Ducks?