This post is part of Ducks Day on PHT…
The Anaheim Ducks are an interesting study for this feature.
On one hand, the Ducks boast a pretty impressive group of prospects and players are on the borderline between full-time guys and prospects for a contender. At the same time, they are indeed a contender, so their roster is a tough nut to crack.
Ondrej Kase and Brandon Montour probably already made the leap. Sam Steel looks like he’s taking his big numbers and outstanding name back to the WHL. There are other solid candidates, including Jacob Larsson, but forward Max Jones seems especially eager to take the next step, even at 19.
As Jones told the OC Register’s Eric Stephens, he won a Memorial Cup, now he wants to aim for a Stanley Cup.
“I want to step into the big leagues and I want to … for years and years I’ve been watching teams win that Stanley Cup and that’s all I want to do right now,” Jones said. “Start playing and try to win a Stanley Cup.”
Jones, the 24th pick of the 2016 NHL Draft, seemed to excel in both the OHL and AHL playoffs in 2016-17. In general, Jones has shown some promising signs so far in his career.
Still, Jones hasn’t gotten his reps in the AHL yet, and is still just 19. You’d at least think the odds are against him, but the confidence is there. There have also been some growing pains, including him being suspended for a nasty cross-check.
The Ducks have quite a few interesting options to consider heading into camp, even beyond Jones. That might make for difficult choices, but those are good problems to have.