ANAHEIM, Calif. — Continuing my series of overviewing the Ducks’ prospect pool, today I take a look at eight more forwards in Anaheim’s pipeline.
Sam Colangelo, 21
6-foot-2 | 208 pounds | Shoots right
After averaging nearly a point per game during his sophomore season, Colangelo couldn’t build off the strong performance in his junior year as he totaled just 24 points, three less than the season prior.
Colangelo has dealt with injuries during his collegiate career, which can be frustrating. He did finish out the 2021-22 season on a high note though, so seeing him regress this past season was a concern.
A lot of that boils down to his skating, which isn’t a major strength of his by any means. Having top-end speed isn’t the be-all, end-all but coupling that with hockey IQ that isn’t above-average leaves a lot to be desired.
A transfer from Northeastern to Western Michigan this summer could help Colangelo get back on track as the Broncos’ entire top line from last season turned pro and will need replacing.
Connor Hvidston, 18
6-foot-2 | 185 pounds | Shoots left
Hvidston broke out in 2022-23, doubling his points total from last season (32) in just about the same amount of games (58). He scored 21 goals this past season as part of the Swift Current Broncos’ top line, spending time both on the wing and down the middle.
His strong season for Swift Current concluded with a seven-game stint with the Gulls as he was signed to an amateur tryout (ATO) at the end of March. He scored his first AHL goal a week later, playing seven games for San Diego.
Hvidston will return to Swift Current for the 2023-24 season and should play an important role for a team looking to bounce back after nearly missing out on playoffs last season.
Ben King, 21
6-foot-3 | 205 pounds | Shoots right
King put up a whopping 105 points in 68 games for the Red Deer Rebels in the WHL during the 2021-22 season as an overager but took a step back in 2022-23 with 35 points in 30 games as he struggled with injuries and overall inconsistency.
He began the season with the Gulls on an ATO but was reassigned to the Rebels after their preseason ended. He suffered a leg injury shortly after coming back to Red Deer which ruled him out until the new year. An upper-body injury in March also cost him a few games but he returned in time to help finish off the Calgary Hitmen with an overtime game-winner in Game 5.
With his CHL eligibility exhausted, the likely scenario is that King will join the Gulls on an ATO. Anaheim does have open contract spots but they also hold King’s rights for another season and aren’t in a rush to sign him to a contract just yet.
Josh Lopina, 22
6-foot-2 | 194 pounds | Shoots right
After signing his ELC following the conclusion of his sophomore season with UMass, Lopina chipped in four points in 13 games and even scored his first career Calder Cup goal. Known for his defensive work while playing for the Minutemen, Lopina was tasked with similar duties when he joined up with the Gulls.
As disastrous as last season was for the Ducks, it wasn’t much better for the Gulls. Lopina’s development may have been affected by the team’s overall poor play as he managed just four points in 59 games.
Though his offense isn’t the strong point of his game, more production should be expected from a player who’s in the lineup almost every single game during the season. An injury did keep him out for several games, but Lopina never really got his footing under him in his first full professional season.
Next season will be all about getting back on the right track and he should continue to play in a checking forward role on either the third or fourth line for the Gulls.
Judd Caulfield, 22
6-foot-3 | 207 pounds | Shoots right
Caulfield came over from the Pittsburgh Penguins in a deal that saw the Ducks acquire him in exchange for Thimo Nickl’s rights.
Caulfield has size and uses it to his advantage, with a lot of his goals for North Dakota coming in or around the crease area. He signed an entry-level contract with the Ducks following the end of his collegiate season and skated in five games.
Although he didn’t register a point, he did spend time in a top-6 role as the Gulls had many new faces in their lineup toward the end of the season. With many more new additions, Caulfield will likely be pushed down to a bottom-6 role, one where he can utilize his frame much more.
Jaxsen Wiebe, 21
6-foot-1 | 209 pounds | Shoots right
Wiebe signed an entry-level contract with Anaheim in March while playing for the Prince George Cougars in the WHL.
He missed the beginning of the season due to an upper-body injury and played in just six games for the Edmonton Oil Kings before he was traded in November to the Cougars.
Wiebe scored 35 points in 39 games for Prince George and scored five points in nine playoff games for the Cougars. He also has versatility, capable of playing center or on the wing.
Wiebe’s game has a lot of bite to it and it led to several suspensions during his CHL career. He’ll be in San Diego this upcoming season and will need to improve his discipline in that regard. Otherwise, he could see himself sitting in the press box more often than not.
Nico Myatovic, 18
6-foot-3 | 180 pounds | Shoots left
Myatovic was drafted 33rd overall in July by Anaheim and is coming off a breakout season with the Seattle Thunderbirds in the WHL.
After scoring just 28 points in 67 games during the 2021-22 season, Myatovic eclipsed that mark by a wide margin, scoring 60 points in 68 games this past season.
The Thunderbirds fielded a strong team, especially once they added Dylan Guenther and Brad Lambert, but Myatovic was a constant in the top-6 the entire season even with the reinforcements. He also spent time on both the power play and the penalty kill.
Myatovic will be with the Thunderbirds again this upcoming season and with players like Guenther and Reid Schaefer graduated to the pro ranks, he will play an even bigger role this season.
Coulson Pitre, 18
6-foot-1 | 172 pounds | Shoots right
Pitre was drafted by Anaheim in the third round of this past summer’s draft. He sees himself as a jack-of-all-trades, capable of making a pass, dishing out a hit or scoring a goal. He can block shots if needed as well.
104 points in 111 games thus far for the Flint Firebirds in the OHL is nothing to scoff at, but there may be concerns about whether Pitre has an attribute that rises above the rest. The next step for him will be to continue filling out his frame and working on both his skating and his shot.
Pitre is also capable of playing on the wing or down the middle and will have a bigger role for Flint this upcoming season with several NHL prospects departing the Firebirds for the AHL.