News broke yesterday that the San Diego Gulls and the Anaheim Ducks have signed six one-year deals for a slew of younger prospects. Those prospects include Alex Broadhurst, Brent Gates Jr., Luke Gazdic, Hunter Drew, Steven Ruggiero, and Roman Durny. Let’s have a quick insight into who these players are, and what they bring for the Ducks and Gulls.
First on the list is Alex Broadhurst. A 26-year old center on the AHL’s Cleveland Monsters last year, he had a stat line of 51 GP, 8 G, 22 A, 30 TP, 12 PIM. Although he isn’t the best scorer, he’s great at passing and getting assists, which will be helpful on a Gulls team that has plenty of amazing shooters. He also has championship experience, as he won the 2015-2016 Calder Cup with the Lake Erie Monsters. His best season was with the OHL’s London Knights, dropping 64 total points in the regular season along with 28 total points in 21 playoff games. If he can come back to that form, he’ll be a very welcomed addition to the Gulls.
Next up is the 22-year-old center/left-winger Brent Gates Jr. Last year, he played most of the season with the University of Minnesota, but he did play with the San Diego Gulls for six games. As the captain of Minnesota U, his stat line was 38 GP, 13 G, 17 A, 31 TP, 4 PIM. With the Gulls, he had a goal and an assist through six games. His placement on the ice is his main strength, and he can either pot in goals in front of the net, or get a decent pass for an assist. He’ll fit in very well with Alex Broadhurst.
The last forward signed is 30-year-old left-winger Luke Gazdic. He played 20 games for the Gulls last year, and his stat line over those games was 20 GP, 3 G, 4 A, 7 TP, 39 PIM. His specialty doesn’t lie in his numbers however, it lies in his fists. Gazdic has always been a big man and a fighter. Looking at his highlight reel is some of the most entertaining footage there is to watch, due to his brutal blows. Ironically enough, he’s a very nice guy off the ice, and he even expressed his joy of being brought back in an Instagram comment on the Gulls page. Look for him to really bring the body.
The first of two defensemen signed, Hunter Drew is currently 20 years old and was drafted by the Anaheim Ducks in 2018 in the sixth round. He played his final season with the Charlottetown Islanders in 2019 and had a very impressive stat line of 61 GP, 16 G, 34 A, 50 TP, 141 PIM. It was his best season to date, and although his penalty minutes are pretty high, he still has great offensive capabilities for a young defenseman. He also has amazing puck control and can deke with the best of them. Not only is he going to be useful for the Gulls, but he might also come in handy for the Ducks as yet another talented part of a younger defense.
The second of two defensemen signed, Steven Ruggiero is currently 22 years old, and was also drafted in the sixth round by the Ducks, the only difference being that he went in the 2015 draft. He played his final year at Lake Superior State University last season, and his stat line for that season was 37 GP, 6 G, 5 A, 11 TP, 72 PIM. He doesn’t have the same scoring prowess as Hunter Drew, but he still does have his incredibly fast skating abilities. He’ll require a little bit more development than the other signees, but it’s never bad to have youthful defensive depth laying around.
Finally, the last signee is 21-year old goalie Roman Durny. Another 2o18 draftee in the fifth round, Durny has seen a bit of play with the Ducks already in the two rookie camps since his drafting. During his last year with the Des Moines Buccaneers, his stat line was 50 GP, 2.61 GAA, .909 SVS%. In the playoffs, he had a less stellar performance and ended up with a .846 SVS% in five games. He’ll have plenty of time to develop down in San Diego, as the Ducks have possibly the strongest core of goalies in the whole league, and there are at least four goalies ahead of Durny.
Overall, the Ducks and Gulls added on some more youthful depth and a bit of older and more experienced grit in Gazdic. We might not be able to expect to see any of these players this season, but there’s still the option of keeping all of the most promising ones for the future. And with this current prospect pool, the future is something all Anaheim Ducks fans can look forward to seeing.
Pictures Courtesy: sandiegogulls.com and the San Diego Gulls Twitter Page Statistics Courtesy: eliteprospects.com