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Helleson, Ducks ink ELC


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Anaheim Ducks Sign Drew Helleson To Entry-Level Deal

MARCH 15, 2022 AT 3:08 PM CDT | BY ETHAN HETU 

After acquiring him from the Colorado Avalanche yesterday as part of the Josh Manson trade, the Anaheim Ducks have announced that they have signed defender Drew Helleson to a three-year entry-level contract. Helleson was drafted 47th overall in the 2019 draft by the Avalanche, and he was packaged alongside a 2023 2nd round pick in exchange for Manson, a quality top-four defenseman. His inclusion in such a high-profile trade combined with the team signing him this quickly after acquiring him indicates that Helleson is likely viewed quite highly by the Ducks’ front office.

 

Helleson, who is set to turn 21 later this month, has blossomed this season at Boston College. While he may have been previously characterized as a somewhat one-dimensional, “all-defense” prospect in his draft season, applying that notion to Helleson’s game today would be a mistake. In his second season as an Eagle, Helleson improved his offense significantly, going from six points in 28 games to 15 in 22. This season, Helleson’s offense jumped again, and he posted 25 points in 32 games. While some scouts might still be bearish on the odds of that offense translating to the NHL level, it is clear that Helleson’s game has an added offensive dimension to it that was not apparent when he was drafted.

 

For the Ducks, signing Helleson may add an immediate boost to their defense as they reel from the departure of Manson, a staple on their blue line since he established himself as an NHL regular in the 2015-16 season. While Helleson may start his professional career with the San Diego Gulls of the AHL, an NHL debut should not be too far away.

 

Helleson was selected by Team USA to play in the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing, where he had one assist in three games, indicating that his game is polished enough to compete with some of the world’s best talent outside of the NHL. For a Ducks blueline that already features high-end young talent such as Jamie Drysdale and may yet lose more established NHL-ers as the deadline nears, (such as Hampus Lindholm) signing Helleson to his entry-level deal is a move that could bear fruit sooner rather than later.

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