Another day, another Anaheim rookie ready to make the leap.
Nic Kerdiles, the 36th overall pick in 2012, looks primed to make his NHL debut tonight when the Ducks host the Bruins. Kerdiles was recalled yesterday and, at this morning’s skate, worked on a line with Corey Perry and leading goalscorer Rickard Rakell, a good indicator he’ll be in the lineup.
Exciting times for both him and the club.
A former University of Wisconsin standout, Kerdiles’ debut was delayed due to a lengthy concussion battle that cost him most of this season. He’s only recently returned to action with AHL San Diego, but didn’t miss a beat — he has four goals and nine points through 10 games, this following a ’15-16 campaign in which he scored 27 points in 45 games (a year also marred by injuries, including broken ribs and a bruised kidney.)
This opportunity comes with Antoine Vermette serving a 10-game suspension for abuse of an official, and veteran journeyman Corey Tropp having been returned to the minors.
At 23, Kerdiles is actually one of the older prospects to join the big club this season:
— Jacob Larsson, the 19-year-old Swedish defender taken 27th overall in ’15, cracked the roster out of camp and played four games before getting returned to Frolunda.
— 21-year-old Ondrej Kase, a seventh-round pick in ’14, has become a lineup fixture, with 12 points in 43 games.
— Nick Sorensen, 22, is a Danish winger taken 45th overall in 13. He made his debut in October and appeared in five games.
— Defenseman Brandon Montour, an AHL All-Star at the center of trade rumors, got called up in January and has 12 contests under his belt.
With all this young talent — especially on defense — it’s not surprising Anaheim’s been in the middle of major trade rumblings leading up to the March 1 deadline. GM Bob Murray’s on record saying he won’t trade blueline prospects for rentals but, with all the talent at his disposal, one wonders if he’ll make a move to avoid losing a prized asset at this June’s expansion draft.
This could be why Anaheim’s debuted all these youngsters. The organization needs to see what they can do at the NHL level, and evaluate who will be in their long-term plans.