The Ducks’ prospect pool was recently ranked No. 3 by NHL Network. While some of the names may be familiar to fans, others are not. Today, I’m taking a look at the goaltenders in the Ducks’ prospect pool.
Qualifications: Anyone who is 23 and under who has not played a full season in the NHL and is either still unsigned or on their entry-level contract, which is why you won’t see Lukáš Dostál here.
Calle Clang, 21
6-foot-2 | 194 pounds | Catches left
Clang was acquired from Pittsburgh in 2022 in the Rickard Rakell deal and spent the last six seasons in the Rögle organization before heading stateside at the end of last season, appearing in five games (four starts) for the Gulls.
Though he spent most of last season in Rögle as the backup to Christopher Rifalk, Clang’s numbers were still fairly adequate for a team that took a huge step back from seasons past. His performances from previous seasons help give an indication of how good he can be when he’s in the net.
Clang will be part of the Gulls’ goaltending tandem this upcoming season alongside Gage Alexander with Lukáš Dostál expected to be with the Ducks full-time. Getting a full season on North American ice under his belt will be good for Clang as he continues to adjust to playing in a new league and country.
Gage Alexander, 21
6-foot-6 | 205 pounds | Catches left
Speaking of Alexander, the 21-year-old had a whirlwind of a year. After beginning the season with Swift Current in the WHL, he signed his entry-level contract with Anaheim in December and was assigned to the Tulsa Oilers in the ECHL. He got his first professional win just a few weeks later, stopping 17 of 19 shots.
Alexander was recalled to San Diego in February after a lower-body injury sustained by Ducks goaltender Anthony Stolarz necessitated a call-up for one of the Gulls’ goaltenders. Alexander wouldn’t make another appearance for Tulsa after that. The netminder stopped 29 of 30 shots in his AHL debut, a 5-1 win over Tucson.
Alexander split the net with Olle Eriksson Ek in San Diego once Lukáš Dostál was recalled to Anaheim—where he eventually spent the rest of the season—and even supplanted Eriksson Ek as the Gulls’ starter.
Eriksson Ek was essentially out of the rotation by the time Calle Clang arrived in April and his departure to MoDo in Sweden has clarified the Gulls’ goaltending situation for next season.
Vyacheslav Buteyets, 21
6-foot-4 | 185 pounds | Catches left
With all of the promising goaltenders in the Ducks’ system, it’s easy to see why Buteyets flies under the radar. Drafted in the sixth round of the 2022 draft, Buteyets plays for Chelmet Chelyabinsk in the VHL in Russia.
Buteyets began last season as Chelmet’s starter before being loaned out to Sochi in the KHL in late November, but he was recalled a month later after not appearing in a single game. Upon his return, the Chelyabinsk native was the clear starter once again and finished the season with a 2.11 GAA and .933 SV% in 35 games for Chelmet. He was also the starter for Chelmet’s playoff series against Rubin Tyumen. However, they conceded late goals twice during the series and were swept.
The expectation is that Buteyets will again be the starter for Chelmet and look to build off of his strong 2022-23 season. Although he could face stiff competition from Nikita Podskrebalin, who returns to Chelmet after spending the past two seasons with Yugra.
Damian Clara, 18
6-foot-6 | 214 pounds | Catches left
Drafted by the Ducks with the 60th overall pick in this year’s draft, Clara is a big man at a young age. A native of Italy, Clara spent time in the Red Bull Academy where he crossed paths with Matt McIlvane, who was named head coach of the Gulls just months ago.
After his time in the Red Bull Academy, Clara moved to Sweden to play for Färjestad in the SHL. Clara played for Färjestad’s J20 team last year, posting a 2.79 GAA and .903 SV% in 35 games. This season, he’ll be loaned out to Brynäs in the HockeyAllsvenskan and will compete with NHL veteran Anders Lindbäck for the starting job.
Clara also has extensive experience at the international level already, playing for Italy at the U18 and U20 Division 1, Group B World Juniors and the Division 1, Group World Championships. He also joined up with Italy at the 2021 World Championships as the third goaltender at age 16, making him the youngest goaltender in IIHF Worlds history and the youngest player in modern history.
Clara still has a long way to go before he is an NHL goaltender, but he has all the tools to become one.