Prospect Update: Brayden Tracey

Photo: Gord Rufh

By Thomas Harrington

Anaheim’s second first round pick from 2019, forward Brayden Tracey played in both the AHL and WHL this past season.

With the WHL season postponed because of the pandemic, Tracey started the year in the AHL playing for the San Diego Gulls. Unfortunately, he wasn’t quite ready for the AHL last year. Tracey played in 12 games and was scoreless, and was a healthy scratch a few times. He was primarily used on the third and fourth lines, as the Gulls had a number of veteran forwards playing wing on the top two lines. Despite his lack of production in San Diego, I do think that it was beneficial for his development as it gave Tracey a good idea of what he needs to work on to do better against professional competition.

Tracey played in his last AHL game in early March, as the Victoria Royals, his WHL team, was given the go ahead to resume their season at the end of the month. The Royals played in 22 games, and Tracey appeared in all of them, scoring nine goals and 21 points, leading the team in goals and points and finishing second in assists. Unfortunately, Victoria was one of the worst teams in the WHL last year with a record of 3-17-1-1, and Tracey was not able to lift them up in the standings.

Unfortunately, Tracey didn’t meet the expectations that I set for him a year ago. First, I wanted him to match or better his 1.22 points-per-game from his draft year. He had a good year, finishing with .955 points-per-game, but short of what I wanted out of him. I also wanted him to be more consistent. For the most part, he didn’t have any long pointless streaks, until the end of the season where he went four games without a point. He wasn’t far off on this expectation, but still didn’t quite make it. I did not set any expectations for his time in the AHL because I didn’t know how much he’d play with San Diego.

This coming season, Tracey should be in the AHL unless the Ducks decide to send him back to juniors for an overage season. It’s rare for first round picks to need it, so I assume he’ll be with the Gulls when the puck drops. The Gulls lost some veteran talent to free agency, but new players have since signed with Anaheim who will likely see time in San Diego. This could mean that Tracey will see more time in the bottom six than the top six this coming season.

Tracey has had a couple of down years since Anaheim drafted him, but that’s not all his fault. He’s battled injuries, and I think the pandemic and being on a bad WHL team impacted his play last season. So my expectations for him this coming season will be very simple: to score some points with the Gulls and play in most of their games. He doesn’t need to score a ton, but he needs to show that he’s capable of beating professional goaltenders. If he can do that and play in most or all of San Diego’s games, I’ll be happy with his season.

Tracey is still a ways away from making his NHL debut. If he can become a valuable contributor in San Diego early on in the season, it could be this season, but I think it’s much more likely we see him in Anaheim’s lineup in the 22-23 season or beyond.

Tracey’s entry-level deal will begin this season and he’ll be a restricted free agent in three years’ time. Hopefully he’ll have established himself as an NHL player by that time. Given the way things have gone for him and what Anaheim has done with their recent players coming off of entry-level deals, I don’t expect him to get a long-term extension, but hopefully he’ll have proven enough to get a two- or three-year deal. However, if Anaheim thinks he still needs time to develop, Tracey could be signed to a two-way deal for a season or two to give him more of a chance to grow his game.

The next prospect update will be on Jacob Perreault.

Related Articles:

Prospect Update: Artyom Galimov

Prospect Update: Jackson LaCombe

Prospect Update: Trevor Janicke

Prospect Update: Jack Perbix

Prospect Update: Black McLaughlin

Prospect Update: Josh Mahura

Prospect Update: Henry Thrun

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September 25th, 2021


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