ANAHEIM, Calif. – A few hours after the Anaheim Ducks added Ryan Kesler to their roster, first-round pick Nick Ritchie said he plans to join that group in the fall as well.
The Ducks chose Ritchie with the 10th pick of the NHL draft Friday night, adding the physical left wing from the Toronto area to their already deep farm system.
The 6-foot-3 Ritchie is a prototypical power forward with a scoring touch and a mean streak—and he doesn’t lack for confidence in his abilities.
“I think I’m going to try to have a big summer, come to training camp and make that team,” Ritchie said.
Ritchie’s arrival capped a busy day for the Ducks, who also acquired Kesler from the Vancouver Canucks in a major trade. Anaheim gave up centre Nick Bonino and defenceman Luca Sbisa, along with its own first-round pick, the 24th overall.
But the Ducks still had the Senators’ first-round pick from the deal sending Bobby Ryan to Ottawa last summer. They used it on Ritchie, a bruising forward coming off a strong season with the OHL’s Peterborough Petes.
Ritchie led the Petes with 39 goals—including a five-goal game—and 74 points, and he played well in the post-season.
Ritchie has never been to California, but he’ll be in Orange County next week for a Ducks conditioning camp. He knew Anaheim might be his destination after his hometown Toronto Maple Leafs passed on him at No. 8.
“I had a good talk with them at the combine, and I think I knew that they had interest,” Ritchie said. “To get picked by them is pretty great, and I couldn’t have been happier.”
Ritchie also plays lacrosse, and he comes from a sporting family. His older brother, Brett, plays for the AHL’s Texas Stars after Dallas drafted him with the 44th overall pick in 2011. Their father also played in the OHL, and their mother was a three-sport college athlete.
The Ducks began the day with two first-round picks, but shipped their 24th overall selection to Vancouver as part of the trade landing Kesler, the Canucks’ star two-way centre.
Anaheim also is stacked with young forwards who hope to get a major role next season, including Devante Smith-Pelly, Emerson Etem and Rickard Rakell. Ritchie still believes he’ll get a shot.
“I’m a big guy, and I like to play a hard game, play physical,” Ritchie said. “Get to the net and play like a big power forward. Hopefully I can come in and make the team this year.”