Missing the playoffs four straight seasons has one consolation: the chance to draft early, when game-changers are available. The Ducks had the 10th and 22nd picks in 2022, No. 3 in 2021, Nos. 6 and 27 in 2020, Nos. 9 and 29 in 2019 and No. 23 in 2018. Some are poised to make an impact.
Max Jones, drafted 24th in 2016, has been slowed by injuries but is healthy. He brings size and a scoring knack and showed them off during training camp.
Look for forward Mason McTavish, who was drafted third overall in 2021 and was the most valuable player in Canada’s world junior championship run this year, to energize the offense. Defenseman Jamie Drysdale, 20, is a leader in the making. Trevor Zegras (23 goals, 61 points as a rookie last season) is mesmerizing.