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Prospect Update: Axel Andersson
By Thomas Harrington
Acquired from Boston as part of the Ondrej Kase deal, defenseman Axel Andersson played in the AHL this past season, his second season of professional hockey in North America.
Andersson played in 35 games for the Gulls and scored four goals and 10 points. He was used primarily in San Diego’s top four, but missed several games throughout the season because of various injuries. He missed about two months of the season from mid-November to mid-January, while also missing time towards the end of the year. He missed both of San Diego’s playoff games with an upper-body injury.
I had two expectations for Andersson from a year ago. One of them he managed to hit, but the other he did not. My first expectation was for him to establish himself in San Diego’s top four. Even with all of his injuries, he consistently played among the Gulls’ top four defensemen when he was healthy. My other expectation was for him to become a threat on San Diego’s powerplay. In 35 games he had no powerplay points. He’s not the most offensively gifted of Anaheim’s defensive prospects, but he has some offensive skill and with a right-handed shot, I was hoping he could do some damage with the man advantage, but that failed to happen last season.
I have two expectations for Andersson this coming year. First, to stay healthy and play in more than 35 games for the Gulls. Second, for him to record more than 10 points. Regardless of even strength or powerplay, I’d like to see him put a little more offense on the board.
Andersson is a solid prospect, but health really is the concern for him. He’s missed a lot of time over the years with various injuries. However, if he can stay healthy and consistent, we could see him in an Anaheim lineup within the next few years. He’s still got a long way to go, but good right-handed shooting defensemen are incredibly valuable. If he can stay healthy and improve his overall numbers, we could see him in an Anaheim uniform in two or three years.
Andersson has one year remaining on his entry-level deal, and he’ll be a restricted free agent next summer. At this point, he hasn’t done enough to warrant a long term extension or one-way deal. Instead, I think Anaheim will re-sign him to a two-way deal for a year or two. However, if he does make his NHL debut this year and then sticks with the Ducks for most of the season, then he could get a one-way deal. There’s also a chance he could get a similar deal to Josh Mahura, where the first year of his extension was a two-way contract and then it became a one-way contract in the second year.
The next prospect update will be on Josh Lopina.
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September 16th, 2022