The Ducks’ future is as encouraging as its present, according to a ranking of NHL prospects.
Anaheim was ranked No. 1 in The Hockey News’ Future Watch 2014, a grading of prospects and player development.
The Ducks are currently in second place in the Western Conference, with a chance to return to the top spot over the St. Louis Blues by winning tonight at home against the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Goaltender John Gibson was ranked the No. 2 prospect, defenseman Sami Vatanen, who has played in 41 of the Ducks’ 65 games, was No. 24, recent call-up, center Rickard Rakell, is No. 29, and 2013 No. 1 pick Shea Theodore, a defenseman, is No. 75.
Last year, the Ducks (43-14-7) were No. 2 in the rankings.
CARLYLE’S RETURN: Toronto Coach Randy Carlyle, who coached the Ducks from 2005 until November, 2011, will be honored Monday night for directing the team to the 2006-07 Stanley Cup.
“I’m sure he’s excited to be here, and I hope he gets a good reaction from the fans,” Ducks Coach Bruce Boudreau said. “He brought the Stanley Cup here.”
The Ducks have given such a tribute to every player on that team but two: Rob Niedermayer and defenseman Chris Pronger, who retired before this season.
ANDERSEN FIRST OFF: Ducks goalie Frederik Andersen (15-3) was first off the ice at Monday’s morning skate and likely to start, a test of his 2.11 goals-against average and .929 save percentage against a Toronto team ranked 10th in the league with 2.93 goals per game.
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