Notes from rookie scrimmage.

It was tempting to leave Anaheim Ice on Thursday with a broad set of generalizations, but the Ducks’ rookie scrimmage amounted to a one-hour snapshot of a portion of the organization’s prospect pool.

Twenty-two players have been invited to the six-day camp that began Thursday. All but one was at the rink Thursday morning — a team spokesperson said that goalie Igor Bobkov’s flight into California was delayed. Maybe Bobkov knew something the other 21 didn’t: Of the players on the ice for the intrasquad scrimmage, the goalies had the least fun.

The final score was 9-6, apropos for the 4-on-4 game of river hockey that featured no hitting and plenty of uncoordinated improvisation. John Gibson, the 39th overall pick at last week’s Entry Draft, and Iiro Tarkki, whom the Ducks lured from Finland this summer, absorbed all of the burden.

Tarkki gave up the nine-spot, but faced more shots than Gibson (by my unofficial estimate) and made the more impressive saves. The 6-foot-3 netminder, who turns 26 today, is not ready for the NHL, and the Ducks will be happy if he and Bobkov can upgrade the goaltending picture in Syracuse. Gibson struggled early but seemed to settle down. He’ll have up to four seasons at the University of Michigan to iron out the kinks before he ever plays a game in Anaheim.

Goals were scored by Chris Wagner (4), Emerson Etem (2), Joseph Cramarossa (2), Devante Smith-Pelly (2), Andy Welinski, Tim Heed, Andreas Dahlstrom, Brett Perlini and Radoslav Illo. Rickard Rakell was at the rink but didn’t scrimmage because his equipment hadn’t arrived. Neither did Jake Newton, who is battling illness.

Those are the facts. They can be overestimated. I did longer interviews with Justin Schultz and Rakell, and will save their stories for a later post.

Since it was the only scrimmage that will be open to the public, here’s a few snap judgments:
Continue reading “Notes from rookie scrimmage.” »

Rakell goes to Ducks at No. 30.

The Ducks selected Rickard Rakell, a Swedish-born forward from the Ontario Hockey League, with their lone first-round draft pick Friday after trading down to No. 30.

The Ducks also acquired the 30th and the 39th overall picks from the Toronto Maple Leafs in exchange for the 22nd overall pick.

“He’s very intelligent and he plays more of a North American
game than a European game,” Ducks general manager Bob Murray said. “He’s a good
two-way player and a smart player. He can play center or wing. We’re very happy
he was still there at 30.”

Rakell had 19 goals, 43 points and 12 penalty minutes in 49
games for the Plymouth Whalers of the Ontario Hockey League last season, his
first in North America. The 18-year-old played for Sweden at the World Junior
Championships and had three assists in five games at the tournament in Buffalo,

“I had a lot of meetings at the combine and they went really
well, especially with the Ducks,” Rakell told reporters in Minnesota.

Listed at 6-foot-1, 193 pounds, Rickard is “two or three
years” away from the NHL according to NHL Central Scouting’s Al Jensen.

Murray also said that he hasn’t received a decision from
star right wing Teemu Selanne, who is contemplating retirement.

“His knee acted up a little bit. Doctors looked at it,”
Murray said. “I think he wants to play hockey again. We’re just trying to see
how the knee goes.”