Prospect Need to Know: Jack LaFontaine is a hidden draft gem in net

Jack LaFontaine (photo courtesy of the NAHL)

The NHL’s Central Scouting Bureau released its latest Watch List today for the 2016 draft and there have been a bunch of movers. This is not surprising, since the early September edition was largely speculative and now the prospects actually have a good sample size of games under their belts, but it is interesting to monitor nonetheless. Also, as I first reported the other day, top 2016 prospect Auston Matthews will return to the ice for Zurich tomorrow in a Swiss Cup game against Ambri-Piotta. Here’s a look at what else is going on in the prospect world:

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Watch Ryan Kesler go undercover as the biggest Ryan Kesler fan

Jared Clinton
Ryan Kesler in disguise supporting Ryan Kesler. (via Anaheim Ducks/YouTube)

When the Ducks acquired Ryan Kesler from the Vancouver Canucks, it was a great deal to land a second-line center who could contribute in Anaheim. But who would have thought the biggest winner would be fans who like to see players’ personalities shine through?

Already Kesler has become a comedic hit for taking some straight-faced jabs at teammates in his web series, “Between Two Zambonis,” which is a takeoff on the popular “Between Two Ferns” show hosted by comedian Zach Galifianakis. But Kesler isn’t stopping at a show where he roasts teammates. No, Kesler is going one step further.

Check out “Undercover Duck,” a video from the Ducks where Kesler goes into disguise to attend a game in Anaheim as the biggest fan of…Ryan Kesler: Read more

Watch Kevin Bieksa’s tooth go flying during fight with Mike Fisher

Jared Clinton
Kevin Bieksa's tooth gets knocked loose by Mike Fisher (via Streamable)

Anaheim Ducks defenseman Kevin Bieksa has dropped the gloves with some regularity in his career, but his fight with Nashville Predators center Mike Fisher might be one he remembers for a long time.

In Tuesday’s game, Bieksa and Fisher were tangled up after a whistle in the Predators’ zone and came to blows. According to, Bieksa has had more than 50 fights in the NHL, while Fisher’s battle with Bieksa was the 31st time he had dropped the gloves in his NHL career. The tilt itself was quite substantial, lasting more than 30 seconds with both players exchanging pucnhes. The moment Bieksa will remember, though, came early in the scrap when Fisher connected with a short right jab: Read more

Boedker scores overtime-winner after brutal Getzlaf turnover, snaps Ducks’ winning streak

Jared Clinton
Mikkel Boedker (Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)

The Anaheim Ducks came into Monday’s game against the Arizona Coyotes riding a four-game winning streak that had vaulted them from last place in the Pacific Division into the wild card conversation. Against the Coyotes, the Ducks had total control Monday, but they watched it slip away.

Within seven minutes of puck drop, the Ducks had notched two goals — one from Chris Stewart on the power play and Ryan Kelser’s first of the year — but were unable to extend the lead to three heading into the dressing room after the first frame. In the second period, the pesky Coyotes, who have exceeded expectations so far, got a goal from Anthony Duclair early to draw within one. Then Max Domi netted his sixth and seventh markers of the year to push the Coyotes into the lead.

With Anaheim chasing the game, defenseman Sami Vatanen would draw the score even and send the game to overtime before Ryan Getzlaf made a play that helped end the game in the extra frame. Unfortunately for Getzlaf, though, that play benefitted Arizona and Mikkel Boedker, not Getzlaf’s Ducks: Read more

Sunday Long Read: Pronger and Lidstrom polar opposites as Hall of Famers

Nicklas Lidstrom and Chris Pronger shake hands after their 2009 playoff series. Photo by Tom Turrill/NHLI via Getty Images)

During what is now a Hall of Fame career, Nicklas Lidstrom garnered so much respect that he earned the nickname, The Perfect Human. Not The Perfect Hockey Player. Not The Perfect Defenseman. The Perfect Human. People called Chris Pronger lots of things during what is now a Hall of Fame career, too. None of them is suitable for publication on a website that might be viewed by young people. Many of those words begin with the letter ‘F’.

It was not easy to play the game the way Lidstrom did, but he made it look that way. Playing the game and preparing for it the way Lidstrom meticulously did and maintaining a ridiculously high standard on and off the ice presented its fair share of challenges. But it’s also not easy going to the opposing rink from the time you’re a kid and knowing that you’re going to be the most hated guy there. But like Lidstrom, Pronger embraced his role and status. Lidstrom wore the white hat and Pronger donned the black, and both of them managed to do it while becoming two of the most dominant defensemen of their generation.

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Rumor Roundup: Ducks, Flames, Avs, and Jackets looking for quick fix

Anaheim Ducks Announce Bruce Boudreau

A month into this new NHL season, the Anaheim Ducks, Calgary Flames, Colorado Avalanche, and Columbus Blue Jackets find themselves mired near the bottom of the league’s overall standings. While it’s rumored they’re shopping around for help, they’ve yet to find trade partners willing to assist them.

In an interview with USA Today, TSN insider Bob McKenzie reported Anaheim Ducks GM Bob Murray was trying to make a deal, but he’s unwilling to do anything rash. He also believed the Blue Jackets are still in the market for a defenseman. Earlier in the week, McKenzie named the Avalanche among several teams with interest in demoted Edmonton Oilers blueliner Nikita Nikitin.

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