The Anaheim Ducks had an extraordinary 2013-14 campaign, finishing the regular season tops in the Western Conference and just 1 win away from winning the Presidents Trophy. They had a decent playoff run, ending their season in the 2nd round of the post-season and pushing the eventual Cup winners to 7 games before giving Teemu Selanne an emotional send-off. Not how he would have liked to end his career, but winning the Stanley Cup is never a promise, even for the great Teamu. The Ducks have been consistently good, having made the playoffs 7 of their last 9 seasons and winning the Stanley Cup back in the 2006-2007 season.
Ducks on the Pond
The Ducks have plenty of talent moving up the ranks from their AHL squad the Norfolk Admirals. John Gibson graduated to the big leagues this past season and posted some nice numbers between the pipes for the Ducks. Nicolas Kerdiles acsended through the ranks for the Wisconsin Badgers last season, finishing his rookie year in college on the top line and racking up 33 points in 32 games.
Shea Theodore is a prospect out of last years draft and played for the Seattle Thunderbirds in the WHL last season. A solid blue-liner for the Thunderbirds pocketed 22 goals and 79 points in 70 games last season. The Ducks are definitely not short on talent making their way through the system.
Why Travis Sanheim
Travis Sanheim began last season for the Calgary Hitmen off the radar. A talented prospect to say the least, but his stock really shot up later in the season and he has solidified his spot as a potential first round pick with a strong showing for Canada's U18 squad. In 7 games for Canada he had 6 assists and sported a +/- rating of +5. For the Hitmen, Sanheim was a defensive force. In 67 games he had 5 goals and 24 assists for 29 points and a +/- rating of an incredible +25.
Defensively, Sanheim is very difficult to beat one-on-one. His excellent mobility and strong footwork keeps attacking forwards to the outside and makes him very hard to beat off the rush. Sanheim uses his long stick to cut down passing and shooting lanes and take away options when opponents are set up in the zone. He isn't afraid to use his big frame to block shots and does so effectively.- Ben Kerr, lastwordonsports.com
Travis has a big frame, standing at 6'3" and weighing in around 190 lbs, he definitely has room to grow. His offensive ability improved throughout last season and as defender he is not easy to beat. He is a great skater and with his size he has great reach, getting his stick in the passing lanes. His big left handed shot certainly isn't the best in the draft, but when he mixes in solid wrister he can keep opposing defenses guessing. He has the potential to become a top-four defenseman who could log big minutes and get some time on the power play as well as penalty kill.
How can he help the Wild
How does the old saying go? You can never have too many quality defenseman? Maybe I made that up, but this kid could definitely become an asset for the Wild. With his size, skating ability and his late season offensive game coming around he could eventually find some time for the Wild on back on their blue line.