Sami Vatanen

Finland defenseman Sami Vatanen looks on during an Olympic semifinal game against Sweden in Sochi, Russia, on Feb. 21. Vatanen is considered one of the most promising young defensemen in the NHL. (Martin Rose / Getty Images / February 21, 2014)

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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