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Prospect Update: Blake McLaughlin
By Thomas Harrington
A third round pick from last summer, Blake McLaughlin just completed his freshman season at the University of Minnesota.
McLaughlin’s freshman season was a very successful one; he scored five goals and 20 points. He had 15 assists and 20 points, which are excellent numbers for a first-year college player. He finished ninth on the team in goals, seventh in points, and sixth in assists. He also had five multi-point games. When McLaughlin scored, Minnesota usually did very well, the Gophers were 10-5 when Mclaughlin recorded at least one point and won all five games where he had two points. However, what might be the most impressive thing is that he played in 35 of the team’s 38 games. Freshman; especially at good programs, don’t necessarily play a ton. Missing only three games shows how well he was playing for his new team.
McLaughlin had an excellent freshman season. In his sophomore season, I’d like to see him become a more integral part of Minnesota’s offense. 20 points for a freshman is great, but I’d like to see him clear 10 goals and 30 points as a sophomore. It’s rare for freshmen and sophomores to get prime ice time in the NCAA, so it may be difficult for him to reach those numbers. However, given how his freshman year went, I think those numbers are within his reach. I’d also like McLaughlin to play in every game for Minnesota next season. Finally, I’d like to see him play for Team USA at the World Juniors. He’s been invited to the World Junior Summer Showcase. While that’s far from a guarantee that he makes the roster in December, it’s a sign that he is in strong consideration for the roster. I’m hoping he makes it and plays well in the tournament.
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McLaughlin is unsigned and will be for at least another year or two. If he can put together a great sophomore season, the Ducks could think about signing him to his entry-level deal a year from now. However, I think that it’s more likely he follows the route that Troy Terry took: play three years of college hockey and then turn pro. Assuming, of course, that he progresses over the next two years. However, Anaheim may decide to let him get four years of NCAA hockey before they sign him to a pro deal.
Assuming McLaughlin signs a deal with Anaheim in two years, I think he’s three years away from making his NHL debut, and four years away from a shot at being in the NHL on a full-time basis. Anaheim is very deep at left-wing in terms of prospect strength. From Max Jones to Max Comtois to Brayden Tracey, the Ducks have a lot of left-wingers ready to break into the NHL both this season and in the years to come. As a result, the Ducks can afford to be patient with McLaughlin and let him develop slowly in both college and San Diego.
The next prospect update will be on Garrett Metcalf.
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August 7th, 2019